Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: An Update on Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Matilde IorizzoEmail author
  • Antonella Tosti
Review Article


Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA), first described by Kossard in the early 1990s, is a form of primary lymphocytic cicatricial alopecia characterized by selective involvement of the frontotemporal hairline and eyebrows. Since the original description, an increasing number of cases have been reported worldwide and the clinical aspects of the disease have been better characterized. However, the pathogenesis is still unknown and several hypotheses have been made about possible triggering factors, including hormones, neurogenic inflammation, smoking, UV filters, and ingredients in leave-on facial products. A genetic basis has also been hypothesized as the disease can occur in siblings and members of the same family. Besides its pathogenesis, research is also focused on treatment; FFA is a chronic condition and at present there is no validated or approved treatment for this disorder. Commonly prescribed topical treatments include corticosteroids, minoxidil, and calcineurin inhibitors. Systemic treatments include 5α-reductase inhibitors, hydroxychloroquine, and retinoids. Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide is also utilized, especially for the eyebrows. Other possible treatments include pioglitazone, naltrexone, tofacitinib, and lasers.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were received for this review.

Conflict of interest

M.I. has nothing to declare. A.T. is a consultant for P&G, Pfizer, DS Laboratories, Monat, and Thirthy Madison, and is a principal investigator for Incyte, Aclaris, Lilly, and Nutrafol.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Private Dermatology PracticeBellinzonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Fredric Brandt Endowed Professor of Dermatology, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA

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