Psychosocial Impact of Hair Loss: Scarring vs Non-Scarring Alopecias

Scarring vs Non-Scarring Alopecias


Both scarring and non scarring hair loss have impact on the how people feel and what they ultimately do or don’t do with their social, work related and family activities. A standard measurement of the general well being and happiness of individuals is termer the “quality of life” or QoL. Measuring QoL and impact of a given disease or health condition is not easy but is an important part of medicine.

Both scarring and non-scarring hair conditions have significant psychological and psychosocial impact. Androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata and scarring alopecias like lichen planopilaris and frontal fibrosing alopecia affect how people feel and what they do. In other words, these conditions affect QoL.

A 2015 study from Greece set out to compare and measure quality of life in women with non-scarring hair loss and scarring hair loss. Forty-four women, aged 18-70 years, including 19 with scarring alopecia and 25 with non-scarring alopecia were recruited.

All patients were evaluated by several scales including Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSES) and UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS). Collectively, women with scarring alopecia were found to have higher scores in DLQI (depression scale), HADS (anxiety scale) and UCLA- LS (loneliness scale) and lower scores in self-esteem measures (RSES), compared to women with non-scarring alopecia.

This study was among the first to show that the psychological burden is heavier and quality of life is more severely impaired among women with scarring alopecia compared with non-scarring alopecia.


Quality of life and psychosocial impact of scarring and non-scarring alopecia in women.
Katoulis AC, et al. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015.

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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