Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Alopecia Mucinosa

Primary alopecia mucinosa is mostly found in children.

Alopecia mucinosa is a rare condition characterized by an abnormal accumulation of mucin in hair follicles and sebaceous glands that may lead to diffuse or patchy alopecia areata and cicatricial alopecia. Occurring in both children and adults, it can cause skin lesions and hair loss. 32, 182, 183

Regardless of age, those suffering from alopecia mucinosa are at increased risk for developing lymphoma, particularly mycosis fungoides. Regular check-ups to detect malignancy are necessary, and periodic biopsies are recommended if the condition is persistent or worsening. 23

Traditionally there are considered three separate variants of the disease: 32, 18, 183

Hair Regrowth is Possible

Table 36: Types of Alopecia Mucinosa

TYPES OF ALOPECIA MUCINOSA

TYPE
CHARACTERISTICS
PRIMARY ACUTE DISORDER
  • Occurs mostly in children; small percentage under age 40.
  • Most lesions resolve in up to two years
  • Categorized as benign and of uncertain cause (idiopathic).
PRIMARY CHRONIC DISORDER
  • Occurs in people older than 40; primarily over age 50.
  • More lesions than in the acute disorder.
  • Can persist or recur.
  • Categorized as benign and of uncertain cause (idiopathic).
SECONDARY
  • Usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70.
  • Numerous widespread lesions.
  • Mostly occurs in middle-aged men over age 50.
  • Associated with benign inflammatory conditions such as lupus erythematosus as well as malignancies (e.g., Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, and Kaposi sarcoma.

However, this strict categorization is questionable since between 9% and 64% (15-40% by other estimates) of all variants potentially develop lymphoma, which can precede, follow or occur at the same time as alopecia mucinosa. Further, it is impossible to predict which cases will progress to malignancy. 23, 182

Clinical symptoms may include any or all of the following: 23

  • Clear mucinous fluid in the openings of the hair follicles
  • Groups of or diffusely distributed follicular papules
  • Hair loss that can resemble many different types, including patchy or diffuse thinning alopecia areata, alopecia associated with tinea capitis, telogen effluvium or even lichen planus types of cicatricial (scarring) alopecias
  • Hardened scaly plaques (flesh-colored or reddened)
  • Intense itching

Treatments for Alopecia Mucinosa

Although there is no treatment standard, a variety of treatments have shown some effectiveness: 182

  • Radiation therapy
  • Systemic drugs (dapsone, Indomethacin, and interferons)
  • Topical and systemic psoralens plus ultraviolet A light (PUVA) therapy
  • Topical nitrogen mustard
  • Topical, intralesional, and systemic corticosteroids

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
Also known as Pinkus’ follicular mucinosis or mucinosis follicularis.
Mucinous material.
Small rounded bumps without pus.
Small rounded bumps without pus.