Scarring and Non-scarring Hair Loss


In general, hair loss can be divided into two big categories: scarring and non-scarring. Scarring hair loss is called cicatricial hair loss, and non-scarring is called non-cicatricial hair loss.

Almost all types of hair loss can be classified in this manner. The majority of hair loss types including androgenetic alopecia, which we talk about a lot, is non-cicatricial.

So, what’s the difference between them?

Well, in cicatricial hair loss—which is not well understood—the upper part of the follicle including where there’s a little sebaceous gland becomes very inflamed and damages the follicle. Eventually, the follicle breaks down, turns into scar tissue and is unable to grow any more hair.

The only way to be sure what type of hair loss you have is with a scalp (skin) biopsy. The biopsy will not only be able to tell the medical professional if the follicles are being scarred, but will also give information about follicle density and follicular dynamics. Cicatricial hair loss is rare and not easy to diagnose.

But cicatricial hair loss is not typically a silent affliction. If your hair loss is cicatricial, the scalp usually shows obvious redness and irritation, and the patient will describe burning and itching.

Cicatricial hair loss is not contagious and not hereditary either, with the exception one rare type called Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, which is associated with women of African-American descent. It also occurs within every age group.

It’s important to identify hair loss that is cicatricial because treatment for the hair loss will require identifying exactly what type of hair loss it is and calming the scalp while attempting to regrow the hair.

If you suspect that you may have cicatricial hair loss, that’s something to discuss with your doctor. Treatments for cicatricial or non-cicatricial hair loss may be slightly different. Capillus has a network of hair restoration experts, and through our website, you can find one close to you.

Anyone suffering from sudden and significant hair loss should see his or her family doctor, but we are here for you when you’re ready to start treatment for hair loss.

If you have any questions about treatment for hair loss or any of our products, we encourage you to call us directly at (844) 280-4680.

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Hair is made up of proteins called keratins, and it grows from follicles underneath the skin. Although every strand of hair on the human body goes through the hair growth cycle, each hair grows independently of the other.

The hair growth cycle occurs in three main phases: the Anagen (growing) phase, which lasts 2 to 6 years, is when the hair is firmly attached to the hair root; the Catagen (transitional) phase lasts a few days and is when the hair stops growing and forms the basis for the next hair; and the Telogen (resting) phase which lasts 3 to 4 months and is when the hair sheds and causes the stem cells to move deeper in the dermis to start a new anagen phase.

People are born with approximately 5 million follicles on their body, and about 100,000 follicles on just the scalp. Regardless of where the hair is located on the body, all hairs undergo a similar growth cycle.

¹ “Photo” means “light”; “Bio” means “life”; “Modulation” means “a change” in something; Therefore, in photobiomodulation, light is used to cause a change in living organisms.
² A Protective Mechanism of Visible Red Light in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts: Enhancement of GADD45A-Mediated DNA Repair Activity; Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2017) 137, 466-474.

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