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CCCA Uncovered: Your Essential Guide to Scalp and Hair Care

Updated: Jun 10

How to Care for Your Scalp with Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia.


Are you experiencing the unsettling effects of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) and uncertain about your next steps?


Did you know central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is the most common type of hair loss among Black women? These women find themselves navigating this condition without adequate guidance. Lack of knowledge by some hairstylists and doctors makes this scalp condition hard to prevent and treat.


CCCA can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss, making it essential to adopt effective scalp care practices early on. You must be diagnosed and start a treatment regimen as soon as possible.


I have consulted with many women struggling with CCCA unknowingly using products or hairstyles that aggravate their condition. This motivated me to create a comprehensive guide that addresses the needs of those living with CCCA.


Understanding the condition, recognizing its triggers, and implementing the proper care strategies are crucial to managing and mitigating its impact.


This article aims to empower you with actionable insights and practical tips for maintaining a healthy scalp and slowing the progression of CCCA.


Whether you're newly diagnosed or have been living with CCCA for some time, this guide offers valuable advice to help you take control of your hair and scalp health. Let's explore how you can make informed choices and foster a scalp environment that supports your hair's well-being.


Understanding Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia.


Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is a type of scarring alopecia that leads to the destruction of hair follicles. Let’s break down the term to understand it better.



CCCA At The Crown of The Scalp.


Central: Indicates that hair loss starts at the crown or the middle of the head.

Centrifugal: Highlights that the hair loss spreads outward.

Cicatricial: Refers to scarring of the hair follicle.

Alopecia: Means hair loss.


Scarring of the hair follicles means the pore openings on the scalp's outer layer are permanently closed, preventing hair from growing. Over time, a smooth, shiny surface can develop on the scalp, leading to permanent hair loss.


Identifying Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia


CCCA often starts as a small, pea-sized bald patch at the crown and can spread outward, sometimes forming a Christmas tree shape.


Christmas Tree Shape In CCCA


Common Symptoms:


  • Excessive itching at the crown of the head.

  • Burning or tingling sensations

  • Sore or sensitive scalp

  • Pimples on the scalp

  • A sensation of the scalp being on fire, especially under heat

  • Hair breakage on the affected areas. Your hair may feel dry and brittle in these areas as well.


Some people do not feel any symptoms but will notice hair loss, or hair breakage at the crown of the scalp.


What Causes Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia ?


Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia predominantly affects Black women. There is a correlation between hair styling and scalp care and CCCA. Many of the hairstyle practices popular among Black women can be a reason why CCCA is prominent in the female Black community.


CCCA can be triggered or exacerbated by frequent use of chemical relaxers; chemical burns from relaxers, infrequent shampooing, tight hairstyles, bacterial infections, and genetics.


Inflammatory Processes   CCCA involves an inflammatory process that targets hair follicles. This inflammation can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss as the immune system mistakenly attacks the follicles.


What causes the inflammation that leads to CCCA?


The cause of inflammation has been observed, but the connections are complex and still under study. Here’s a simplified explanation of what we know so far:


Tension and application of harsh chemicals.


Pulling the hair follicle with tight braids, extensions, and locs or applying relaxers frequently can trigger CCCA. This is because tight styles, especially if they are worn regularly, can cause inflammation of the hair follicle.


Relaxers are irritants and can increase scalp inflammation, leading to CCCA.

If your scalp has cut or broken skin during the application process, this can disrupt your skin's protective barrier, leaving you more susceptible to scar tissue.


Type 2 Diabetes.


Research shows Black women with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia should be screened for type 2 diabetes regularly because CCCA may put some Black women at higher risk of getting diabetes.


Inflammation is a common feature of type 2 diabetes and can damage various tissues.

Further research is needed to determine if effective diabetes management can prevent CCCA.


Managing Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia.


Once diagnosed, there are several strategies you can follow to stabilize and manage CCCA effectively.


  • Avoid heavy oils and product build-up: Products that attract dirt and create buildup can exacerbate the condition. Keep your scalp clean and free from heavy ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, and other heavy oils that can clog your pores and increase your itchy scalp.

  • Minimize heat: Use medium to low heat on hooded dryers, blow dryers, and flat irons.

  • Wear loose hairstyles. Tight styles can increase scalp tension, which can lead to permanent hair loss. Reduce braided hairstyles to preserve your hair follicles.

  • Discontinue harmful chemicals: Avoid relaxers, permanent color, and lighteners (bleach). Chemicals increase inflammation of the scalp, which can increase hair loss.

  • Shampoo your hair regularly: Clean your scalp at least once or every other week to create a healthy environment for hair growth.

  • Follow treatment protocols: Be consistent with prescribed treatments.

  • Monitor your scalp: Pay attention to any signs of burning, tingling or excessive itching at the crown of your scalp that shows up with hair loss, slow hair growth or hair breakage.


Hairstyle Recommendations for Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia.


Choosing the right hairstyle is crucial for managing CCCA. Here are a few styles that allow you to regularly shampoo and condition your hair, use topical treatments, and keep your scalp free from tension.


1. Short Curly Cuts (Teeny Weeny Afro, TWA):

This low-maintenance style allows you to wear your natural hair while covering hair loss areas. It's ideal as it requires no heat and permits frequent shampooing and conditioning.



Teeny Weeny Afro


2. Wash and Go (Twist Out):

A wash-and-go style keeps your hair loose, avoiding tension. Curls or coils add volume, helping to conceal thinning areas.





3. Wigs:

For more advanced CCCA, wigs offer versatility without tension-inducing braiding or sewing. They also allow you to continue caring for your scalp underneath.





Navigating the challenges of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) can feel overwhelming. Your hairstyle options may seem limited, but I assure you that keeping your hair free from tension or pulling will help preserve your strands.


Understanding CCCA’s causes, symptoms, and effective management strategies is crucial in preventing further hair loss and promoting a healthy scalp environment.


Embrace regular scalp care routines, choose hairstyles that minimize tension, and stay consistent with any treatment protocols your hair loss specialist prescribes.


By taking these actions, you stabilize your condition and pave the way for healthier hair growth and scalp wellness.


Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Whether you’re in the early stages or managing more advanced symptoms, options and support are available to help you.


If you’re uncertain about the best approach for your specific needs, consider reaching out for a personalized consultation. Your scalp’s health and your confidence are worth the investment.


Take control of your CCCA today and nurture your scalp with the care it deserves. For tailored advice and support, schedule a consultation and start your journey to better scalp health.


Thank you for reading! Your time and attention mean a lot to me. I hope you found this information helpful.

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