Lichen planopilaris usually affects young adult women, although the age range is wide and it also affects men. It commonly develops in association with lichen planus affecting the skin, mucosa and nails.
The cause of lichen planopilaris is unknown. Although lichen planopilaris is rare, it is one of the common causes of scarring hair loss of the scalp.
Lichen planopilaris typically presents as smooth white patches of scalp hair loss. No hair follicle openings can be seen in the areas of hair loss. At the edges of these patches there may be scale and redness around each hair follicle. Hairs can be easily pulled out. It is multifocal and small patches may merge to form larger irregular areas. Common sites of involvement are the sides, front and lower back of the scalp.
Symptoms are often absent but they may include itching, pain, tenderness, discomfort, and burning.
Treatment should be sought and provided early as no treatment recovers hairs that have been lost and replaced by scarring. The aim of treatment is to slow progression of the disease and relieve symptoms. Hair loss may continue, although at a slower rate.