Characteristics of FFA in Men
Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a type of scarring alopecia that causes hair loss along the frontal hairline and sideburns but can also affect the back of the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. For every 100 patients I see with a diagnosis of FFA, 99 patients are women and 1 patent is male.
Tolkachjov and colleagues performed a study of 7 male patients with frontal fibrosing alopecia to gain a better understanding of how these patients present and what type of hormonal or endocrine abnormalities might be present.
Of the 7 patients, 4 showed loss of the sideburns, 3 showed loss of eyebrows, 2 showed loss of hair in the occipital scalp. 1 patient had hair loss on the legs, 1 had hair loss on the arms and 1 had loss of hair from the upper lip. None of the 7 patients had facial papules and only 1 had androgenetic alopecia. Interestingly, none have evidence of thyroid disease and none had low total testosterone levels (although 2 had evidence of low free testosterone). All patients were ANA negative or only weakly positive.
Of the 7 patients, 4 started systemic therapy with oral hydroxychloroquine and 3 of these patients were able to achieve disease stabilization with use of this drug.
FFA is rare in men but we are seeing an increasing number of males affected. This study is small and so it’s difficult to get a good sense about how FFA in men differs from women. Hypothyroid disease occurs in 15-23 % of female patients with FFA. Although the data in this study would suggest that hypothyroidism is uncommon in men with FFA, the study is too small to really get a sense of that information.
Tolkachjov et al. Frontal fibrosing alopecia among men: A clinicopathologic study of 7 cases. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2017; 77:683-90
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