Sunday, March 04, 2012

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA)

Abstract: 46 year old Ghanaian woman with scarring alopecia

HPI: The patient is a 46 yo woman from Ghana with 3 - 4 mo history of progressive alopecia. She has lived in the U.S. for ten years, takes no medications p.o. and has used hot combs only infrequently in the past.

The Examination shows patchy areas of complete hair loss on frontal, parietal and vertex areas of the scalp.
Clinical Photos:

Pathology: (Photomicrographs courtesy of Marjan Mirzabeigi, M.D. Department of Dermatopathology, Boston University School of Medicine.)

These show: Marked decrease in the number of follicular units which have been replaced with extensive fibrosis.

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA)

Discussion: Dr. Lynn Goldberg, Boston University Department of Dermatology: "The patchy alopecia in the vertex is consistent with CCCA. If the frontal loss is contiguous it could be CCCA, although these patients often have coexistent traction. My first line of therapy is a topical steroid. Most patients will experience stabilization. I reserve ILK and doxycycline for those patients with persistent symptoms and loss, or for those patients who also have pustules, which, in my experience, is infrequent. Some physicians will start with 6 months of topical and intralesional steroids and doxy. There are no controlled trials!

Gathers RC, Lim HW. Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia: past, present, and future. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Apr;60(4):660-8.
Abstract: Clinical scarring alopecia in African American women has been recognized for years. The classification of this unique form of alopecia dates back to Lopresti, who first described the entity called "hot comb alopecia." More recently, the term "central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia" has been adopted to describe a progressive vertex-centered alopecia most common in women of African descent. While this form of hair loss is widely recognized, and may even be on the rise, the causes of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia are a constant source of debate and remain to be elucidated. This review outlines the descriptive evolution of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia and the historical controversies ascribed to its pathoetiology; it also examines African hair structure and discusses how hair structure along with common physical and chemical implements utilized by individuals with African hair type may play a causal role in the development of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia.


  1. Thanks for sharing this case. I have never heard of this entity and wondering whether I have a similar encounter with such patients in my practice. it's a patchy progressive loss. Is there scarring clinically? I think the traditional approach to scarring alopecia does not include this diagnosis.


  2. Hi, nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas, its not just entertaining but also gives your reader knowledge. Good blogs style too, Cheers!

    - The Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid


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