Dry dermoscopy in clinical treatment of alopecia areata


Shigeki Inui, M.D., Department of Regenerative Dermatology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2, G2, Yamadaoka, Suita-shi, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. Email: inui@r-derma.med.osaka-u.ac.jp


Although dermoscopy is conventionally utilized with immersion gel for diagnosis of pigmented tumor, we utilized dry dermoscopy, which is dermoscopy without immersion gel, for clinical treatment of alopecia areata (AA). The scalp skin and hair of a 38-year-old Japanese male, and 23-, 22- and 47-year-old Japanese females with AA, whose normal hair color was black, were examined by dry dermoscopy. Exclamation mark hairs, short hairs, fractured hairs and black dots, all characteristic of AA, were detected by dry dermoscopy of the scalp of the 23-year-old female with ophiasis type AA. In the case of the 47-year-old female with round hair loss on the occipital scalp and diffuse hair loss over the fronto-vertical region, dry dermoscopy was useful for diagnosis of AA based on hair characteristic of AA. After she received corticosteroid pulse therapy with 500 mg of i.v. methylprednisolone on 3 successive days, her hair showed apparent regrowth and disappearance of the abnormal hairs characteristic of AA, evidenced by dry dermoscopy 1 month later. In a case of long-lasting AA in the 23-year-old female, we found a follicular plaque-like appearance at the opened hair follicle pores by dry dermoscopy. Histopathologically, the incompletely differentiated remnant hair shaft was packed in the follicular infundibulum. In addition, regrowing vellus hairs, which were difficult to clinically recognize, were detected by dry dermoscopy. Dry dermoscopy is therefore useful for both diagnosis and follow up of AA.