This is a controversial topic but this study (as well as a study of FFA in women) has caught the attention of many. A study by Kidambi et al compared how 17 men with FFA and 73 men without FFA responded to a lengthy survey. FFA is relatively rare in men but information on a link to sunscreen use was important to investigate given the possible role among women.
A much greater proportion of men with FFA reported using sunscreens (as well as facial moisturizers) at least twice weekly compared to men without FFA. Specifically, 35 % of FFA patients reported such sunscreen use compared to just 4 % of men without FFA.
We have a long way to go to definitely prove sunscreens have a role. But two studies now (one in men and one in women) have described potentially the first environmental factor implicated in the way FFA develops. An environmental factor is certainly thought to be responsible given that FFA was relatively unheard of 20 years ago. There are more good studies that are needed.
Aldoori N et al. Frontal fibrosing alopecia: possible association with leave-on facial skin care products and sunscreens; a questionnaire study. Br J Dermatol 2016.
Kidambi AD et al. Frontal fibrosing alopecia in men: an association with facial moisturizers and sunscreen. 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 Vancouver office at 604.283.9299