In this first post I explain the first stages in being diagnosed for frontal fibrosing alopecia.

I had an appointment last Saturday with an NHS dermatologist. He looked at my hair, which had been thinning quite noticeably for a couple of months, and looked at my scalp. “It looks like frontal fibrosing alopecia,” he said. He offered no further explanation, but luckily, I had researched this particular condition online and knew a little bit about it. I was shocked. Frontal fibrosing alopecia is irreversible (the hair doesn’t grow back, as the hair follicles die).

The dermatologist ordered a prescription for a steroid lotion to apply to the troublesome areas of my hair (front and sides) twice daily and said he’d book me in for a biopsy. I had the biopsy done yesterday (yes, the appointment through came quickly!)

Dermovate lotion for frontal fibrosing alopecia

The steroid lotion: Dermovate

The biopsy appointment meant I had to give a potted history of my hair loss again and I discovered that the consultant was a specialist in my type of alopecia. He shone a bright light on my scalp and said the hair follicles looked “inflamed” (not good).

The biopsy itself was fine. The consultant marked a  spot with marker pen in the centre of the hairline on my forehead from where he was going to take the tissue sample. He then injected local anaesthetic into my forehead and checked that that area was totally numb (it was). Actually I have no idea what he did next, as I couldn’t feel it and preferred not to know. But tissue sample taken, he put a couple of stitches in the tiny wound. I’m not sure if everyone has stitches but I got the impression from the consultant’s chat to the nurse that my wound was bleeding a bit more than the norm. He also sprayed it with a cold spray that he said would help stop the bleeding. This gave me a bad hair day for the next 24 hours, resulting in me wearing a scarf to work the next day.

Stitches after biopsy for frontal fibrosing alopecia

This is the tiny stitched wound about 2 hours after the biopsy.

I’m now waiting for the results, which should be back in 4 weeks time. Apparently, it tests to confirm the suspected frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) and skin conditions such as lupus and lichen planopilaris.

In the forthcoming posts I’ll tell you the history of my hair loss (it goes back 18 months or so), how I feel about it, what I’m doing to help myself, and I’ll pass on tips that I’ve gathered so far on managing and living with the condition. I hope you find these posts useful and you are most welcome to my small corner of the internet 🙂

See you soon

Rachel x


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