Sunscreens and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecias

Is there a connection for Females with FFA

One of the most interesting studies of the past year was a study by Dr. Messenger’s UK group looking at the role of sunscreens in the development of a scarring hair loss condition known as frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA). A questionnaire was given to 105 women with FFA and the same survey was given to 100 women without FFA. A significantly higher proportion of women with FFA reported using sunscreens compared to women without FFA. To be more specific, 48 % of women with FFA were regular users of sunscreens compared to 24 % of women who did not have FFA.

This is the first reasonably sized study to propose an environmental factor that could be implicated in FFA. This hair loss condition was first noticed in the medical community in 1994 and since then the number of patients with FFA diagnosed with FFA has increased .... exponentially.

This study raised a great deal of controversy among the medical community. In my mind, it doesn’t definitely prove that sunscreens are a cause of FFA but certainly does provide a sound starting point for further research. It’s tremendously exciting and these authors are to be congratulated for this study.

Aldoori et al. Frontal fibrosing alopecia: possible association with leave on facial skin care products and sunscreens: A questionnaire study. Br J Dermatol 2017. 

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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