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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Frontal fibrosing alopecia

Other Names for this Disease
  • FFA
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Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a condition that causes hair loss (alopecia) on the scalp near the forehead, and may also cause hair loss in other areas such as the eyebrows or under the arms.[1]  FFA is thought to be a rare variant of lichen planus follicularis (also known as lichen planopilaris).[2]  Hair loss in FFA occurs when hair follicles, structures in the skin that make hair, are destroyed by inflammation caused by the body's immune system.[2]  Hair loss in FFA usually progresses slowly, and it may stabilize in some patients.[3]  This condition most commonly affects post-menopausal women, although it has also been reported in men and pre-menopausal women. [1][3]  Skin in the affected area usually looks normal but may show some mild scarring or appear somewhat pale.  There may also be some redness around hair follicles in the affected area due to active inflammation.[3]  Although it has been suggested that FFA may be due to hormonal changes or an autoimmune response, the exact cause of this condition is not yet known.[1]
Last updated: 8/19/2013


  1. Arnold S. & Cooper S. Frontal fibrosing alopecia. Orphanet. May 2011; Accessed 4/9/2012.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions. Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation. September 2011; Accessed 8/9/2013.
  3. Frontal fibrosing alopecia. DermNet NZ. August 2011; Accessed 4/9/2012.
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Basic Information

  • DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Frontal fibrosing alopecia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.