New Study of 188 Patients with FFA Captures Key Summary — Donovan Hair Clinic

A study by the International Dermoscopy Society (IDS) evaluated some key features of FFA with 188 cases sent in by its members.  

98.4 % of the patients were women. The youngest patient was 15 and 88% were post menopausal. The mean age of menopause was 44.3 years – significantly younger than the 50-51 age in the general population. It took about 4.4 years for patients to get a formal diagnosis of the scarring alopecia.

10 % of patients had a family history of FFA. Interestingly,  the mean age of disease onset was similar in patients with a family history compared to those who did not have a family history.

 85.6% of patients had eyebrow loss with 27.6 % having eyelash loss. 47.3 % had loss of body hair. 42.5 % had armpit hair loss and 36.1 % pubic hair loss. Body hair loss was not felt to be simply a consequence of again. The authors compared women of childbearing age with menopausal patients and found overlapping percentages of body hair involvement in both age groups.

 About 38 % of patients with FFA had a confirmed diagnosed of androgenetic alopecia too. 18.6 % had lichen planopilaris.

The authors pointed out that in the majority of cases the diagnosis could be made without a biopsy.


All in all, this was an interesting study that captures what may prior studies have shown. The study showed that 10 % of patients have a family history and having a family history does not seem to drive an earlier onset of disease. An earlier age of menopause does seem to be associated with some women with FFA and this is supported by other studies. Finally, this study captures the significant delay that some patients face from disease onset to actual diagnosis. Ongoing strategies are needed to help patients with FFA get diagnosed in the earliest stages possible in order to prevent permanent loss.



Starace et al. Clinical and Dermoscopic Approaches to Diagnosis of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: Results From a Multicenter Study of the International Dermoscopy Society. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2022 Jan 1;12(1):e2022080

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