What’s the role of diet in Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA)?
The search is well underway to find triggers that might be responsible for the epidemic of frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA). For those not aware of this condition, it is an inflammatory hair loss condition that largely affects women 45-60. Other age groups and men, are rarely affected as well. It causes hair loss along the frontal hairline, eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. Facial papules (bumps on the face) are also a part of the condition.
Recent studies had suggested a few triggers that might be relevant. The most popular of these are sunscreens although more research is desperately needed. Not all studies have supported a clear role for sunscreens.
Buckwheat and Millet Groats: A Role in FFA?
Rudnika and Rakowska set out to examine the role of dietary factors in FFA. They performed a pilot study to identify the dietary practices in 59 consecutive women with FFA and 59 age‐matched healthy controls. There were no other statistically significant differences between patients and healthy individuals in regard to other dietary practices like eating meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and drinking coffee or alcohol.
Interestingly, 81 % of patients with FFA declared consumption of buckwheat at least twice weekly in the recent 3 months compared to 22 % of women who did not have FFA. Similarly , 81.4 % of patients with FFA reported consumption of millet groats compared to 8.4 % of indivdiuals who did not have FFA. The differences were statistically significant (P < 0.01).
This is an interesting study. These sorts of dietary studies are always open to scrutiny as there are methodological challenges in such small studies. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting study and no doubt will help fuel further studies of dietary practices in FFA and other scarring alopecia.
Rudnicka and Rakowska. The increasing incidence of frontal fibrosing alopecia. In search of triggering factors.J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Oct;31(10):1579-1580. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14582.
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