Discoid lupus erythematosus  is a chronic inflammation of the skin that can also affect the scalp. In this case, the inflammation obstructs the hair follicles and can even lead to scarring alopecia. Currently, there is no treatment that can permanently cure discoid lupus erythematosus. However, the inflammation can be stopped and there are several solutions to effectively hide the scars in the case of scarring alopecia.

Femme souffrant de lupus érythémateux discoïde

What is the objective of the treatments?

The suggested treatments have two objectives:
  • prevent relapses leading to irreversible scarring alopecia
  • achieving the longest possible remission between two flare-ups

What medications are recommended for discoid lupus erythematosus?

There are a number of medications that can both treat and prevent flare-ups. Depending on the patient, they may be prescribed on their own or in combination. The following medications are usually recommended:
  • dermocorticoids, which are generally prescribed in high doses twice a day during the flare-up period. These doses are then reduced.
  • synthetic antimalarials, such as hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine or quinacrine, which are recommended for their regulatory and anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system
Some good practices can reduce the risk of flare-ups:
  • protect yourself from the sun
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid using certain medications

How can scarring alopecia caused by discoid lupus erythematosus be corrected?

Scarring alopecia following a lupus erythematosus outbreak is irreversible. The affected hair follicles have in fact been destroyed by the inflammation and replaced by a fibrous and shiny scar. In this case, there are several ways to conceal it:
  • hair transplantation, which involves implanting hair taken from the occipital area of the scalp onto the scar
  • restorative trichopigmentation, which imitates the presence of hair on the bald areas with medical tattooing
  • hair system, a new generation wig that can be applied to all or part of the head