Folliculitis decalvans is not exactly the usual brand of folliculitis. Mostly, because it does not even belong in the folliculitis category. This condition is a subcategory of cicatricial alopecia, a common illness characterized by the permanent destruction of the hair follicle and, of course, irreversible hair loss.
Cicatricial alopecia is classified by the type of scaring that it produces on the skin (downside to this criteria is that the scaring is strikingly similar to that produced by other skin diseases and can be hard to identify) or the type of inflammatory cells that destroy the hair follicles during the active stage of the disease (this is the preferred version of the classification, since it has been made very clear that there are few types of these cells).
There are only so many cells that can attack your hair, and the most important are lymphocytes or neutrophils. Therefore, a subcategory of neutrophilic cicatricial alopecia is represented by folliculitis decalvans.
Folliculitis decalvans is developed by about 10% of those already diagnosed with any form of scarring alopecia. Its pathology indicates that it creates a nastier version of the normal folliculitis, destroying the entire hair follicle by generating an inflammation of the root of the hair, filled with pus.
The progression of this condition is rather gruesome and unstoppable: the tiny bags of pus, located right on top of a hair follicle, damage the rhythm of hair growth and, eventually, stops it completely.
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The macroscopic manifestations are easily identified: your scalp and every other part of your skin that has been affected by folliculitis decalvans is filled with a white crust, that tends to break every time you touch. You can remove the white coating, but it will not disappear. It will just grow all over again, larger and more obvious.
This disease has no preference for either sex, affecting both of them in equal way. It makes its undesired appearance as early as the mid – teenage years. Folliculitis decalvans is a devious one: it comes and goes, fooling the sufferer that he or she is cured and needs no more treatment.
Its manifestations seem restricted to the crown area, but, in some rarer and more serious cases, this condition will attack the beard, the face and nape of the neck.
Folliculitis Decalvans Diagnosis and Treatment
Some diseases out there are identified by their causes. Others, by their effects. Sometimes, the initial diagnosis is just a well – meaning and informed guess. After tests are performed and the results are interpreted, the diagnosis turns definitive. However, in some cases, diseases are just smart enough to be able to fool even the most advanced of procedures and treatment. This is the case of this not life threatening, but very annoying condition, folliculitis decalvans. For further considerations, here is the list of 13 natural remedies for folliculitis that you should know.
Its causes are unknown, or so most of the medical world claims. Some rare voices, specialists in dermatology and bacteriology claim that it is a staphylococcal infection. The pathogen agent is, in their opinion, Staphylococcus Aureus. Why this determination? Because for the majority of the patients suffering from this kind of folliculitis, the small pustules filled with pus test positive for this Staphylococcus. Maybe there is a connection between the disease and the pathogen. And then again, maybe there is not, say others.
However, the only diagnostic tool that medics had in the past century for figuring out what is wrong with your skin was the plain old “trial and error” method. If your skin condition looked like folliculitis, if it responded to the treatment and it had a tendency for recurrence, then it must have been folliculitis.
Today’s medicine offers a different route for diagnosis: histology. This science studies the structure and modifications of your tissues. Therefore, it can notice if the cells surrounding your hair follicles are neutrophils or lymphocytes. If they are, you are infected.
Until recently, this disease was hard, if not impossible to cure or even to treat. The end result seem inevitable for almost all the patients: complete baldness and a permanent redness of the affected skin.
However, some drugs have manifested a strong interaction with whatever causes this illness:
- Erythromycin, cephalosporins and trimethroprim are used to temporary control the development of this condition.
- Oral corticosteroids are used in severe cases, along side with prednisone and broad – spectrum antibiotics.
- Topical antibacterial agents are considered standard procedure by those specialists that believe that the cause of this kind of folliculitis is Staphylococcus Aureus.
You have to keep in mind that every one of these treatment schemes has side effects. For example, the use of rifampin, an oral antibacterial agent, turns the color of your body liquids from clear or whitish to red.