Alopecia Mucinosa
Symptoms and Causes

Alopecia mucinosa, also known as follicular mucinosis, is a condition resulting from the deposition of a jelly-like substance (called mucin) in and around the hair follicles. It can occur as a benign primary condition, of unknown cause, or secondary to other conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.  The primary form was first described in 1957 by the dermatologist Pinkus, favoring children and adults in their third and fourth decades of life. It may occur as pink plaques on the face or scalp, with associated scale and hair loss. The secondary form represent a slow malignancy, and generally occurs in an older age group with larger areas of involvement on the extremities, trunk and face.

Diagnosis & Treatments

Your dermatologist will begin by confirming the diagnosis with a skin biopsy. In some cases the condition may resolve on its own with no treatment whatsoever. The prognosis is usually very good and the chief goal is managing the associated inflammation to prevent ongoing hair loss and/or associated symptoms of itching, scaling, and redness. Topical corticosteroids, intralesional corticosteroids, antimalarial therapy (hydroxychloroquine) and anti-inflammatory antibiotics such as minocycline or doxycycline may be helpful. In cases associated with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, it may be wise to seek referral to a specialist with experience treating cutaneous lymphomas.

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