This story is a element of The Reality About Hair Reduction, an exploration into why we lose our hair, the psychological and monetary expenditures that come together with the practical experience, and what the future of treatment method (and acceptance) could glimpse like.

In January of 2021, Kristyn Wells sat on her sofa at dwelling and recorded one particular of her most vulnerable movies. She began a YouTube channel although in quarantine in the course of COVID-19, initially sharing health and lifestyle suggestions. But the video she posted on January 29 was various. Wells made the decision to share her hair loss journey with the globe for the very first time.

Additional than midway into the 10-moment video, she gets rid of her scarf to reveal a patch of baldness alongside the prime of her head.

What follows is a couple of deep breaths as she adjusts to the truth of complete publicity. At last, she suggests, “I did it. I did it.”

Wells was diagnosed a few many years ago with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) by a board-licensed skin doctor in Columbia, South Carolina. “I had hardly ever read of it in advance of,” says Wells of the problem. “Ever.”

What is centrifugal cicatricial alopecia?

CCCA is a kind of hair decline that starts off at the crown of the scalp and spreads outward. Cicatricial arrives from the Latin word for scar, which offers in CCCA as completely destroyed hair follicles that have been changed by scar tissue.

Indicators of CCCA, which include things like itching and/or burning of the scalp, and obvious broken hair in the crown location are ordinarily delicate at very first, describes Ife Rodney, a board-licensed dermatologist in Fulton, Maryland. This commonly commences to take place when clients are in their early 30s, she states, though she’s witnessed women of all ages in their 20s occur in for CCCA therapy as very well.

When Wells seen gradual thinning of her hair in her early 30s, she often assumed she experienced “feminine pattern baldness,” also recognised as androgenetic alopecia, a ailment that operates in her loved ones.

In its early phases, CCCA can be misdiagnosed as androgenetic alopecia since they can search very very similar, with thinning in the crown place of the scalp, says Yolanda Lenzy, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

To assure an exact prognosis, Lenzy performs a biopsy, where a pathologist can then see the hair follicles up shut. While androgenetic alopecia is characterized by shrinking of the hair follicles ensuing in slim, barely obvious hair, the crucial indicators of CCCA are swelling and destruction to the follicles.