Why Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia Is So Often Misdiagnosed in Black Women

This story is part of The Truth About Hair Loss, an exploration into why we lose our hair, the emotional and financial prices that come together with the expertise, and what the way forward for remedy (and acceptance) might appear like.

In January of 2021, Kristyn Wells sat on her sofa at residence and recorded certainly one of her most susceptible movies. She began a YouTube channel whereas in quarantine throughout COVID-19, initially sharing health and way of life suggestions. However the video she posted on January 29 was completely different. Wells determined to share her hair loss journey with the world for the primary time.

Greater than midway into the 10-minute video, she removes her scarf to disclose a patch of baldness alongside the highest of her head.

What follows is a couple of deep breaths as she adjusts to the fact of full publicity. Lastly, she says, “I did it. I did it.”

Wells was identified three years in the past with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) by a board-certified dermatologist in Columbia, South Carolina. “I had by no means heard of it earlier than,” says Wells of the situation. “Ever.”

What’s centrifugal cicatricial alopecia?

CCCA is a sort of hair loss that begins on the crown of the scalp and spreads outward. Cicatricial comes from the Latin phrase for scar, which presents in CCCA as completely broken hair follicles which have been changed by scar tissue.

Signs of CCCA, which embrace itching and/or burning of the scalp, and noticeable damaged hair within the crown space are often delicate at first, explains Ife Rodney, a board-certified dermatologist in Fulton, Maryland. This often begins to occur when sufferers are of their early 30s, she says, although she’s seen women in their 20s are available for CCCA remedy as properly.

When Wells observed gradual thinning of her hair in her early 30s, she all the time assumed she had “feminine sample baldness,” often known as androgenetic alopecia, a situation that runs in her household.

In its early levels, CCCA could be misdiagnosed as androgenetic alopecia as a result of they’ll look very related, with thinning within the crown space of the scalp, says Yolanda Lenzy, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

To make sure an correct prognosis, Lenzy performs a biopsy, the place a pathologist can then see the hair follicles up shut. Whereas androgenetic alopecia is characterised by shrinking of the hair follicles leading to skinny, barely noticeable hair, the important thing indicators of CCCA are irritation and injury to the follicles. | Why Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia Is So Typically Misdiagnosed in Black Girls


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