Other names: Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), chronic lupus

What is discoid lupus of the scalp?

  • Discoid lupus or “DLE” is a type of hair loss condition that is associated with permanent scarring. 
  • Patients may first discover itchy pimple-like areas of the scalp that go on to resolve with permanent scarring.

Do patients with DLE develop systemic lupus or “SLE”?

  • Most patients with DLE do not have systemic lupus erythematosus – which is a more serious type of disease that can affected many organs in the body.
  • Although the vast majority of patients with DLE are healthy, approximately 5 % of patients with DLE develop SLE.

How will my DLE be evaluated by the dermatologist?

  • A medical history will be obtained first and your scalp will be examined.
  • A scalp biopsy will likely be performed to conclude you have discoid lupus.

How is discoid lupus of the scalp treated?

What should I expect in the long term if I have DLE of the scalp?

  • If treated early, it may be possible to shut off the disease, or at least make it less active.
  • It is important to remember that the disease can 'reactivate' at any time.
  • It’s also important to remember that any scarring that has occurred up to now may not be reversible.
  • Hair transplantation may be possible to restore hair in the scarred areas but only when your dermatologist is confident the disease has stopped or what is also called ‘burned out’

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