Lipedematous alopecia is a rare disorder of uncertain etiology. It may be underdiagnosed.

Proposed mechanisms: hormonal, immune, lymphatic disorder


Early studies reported occurrence primarily in adult black females, but it can occur in both men and women of different races.


Clinical features:

(1) thickening of the scalp with induration

(2) pruritis and/or pain in affected scalp

(3) patchy or diffuse non-scarring alopecia

(4) variable depigmentation


If alopecia is absent then the condition is termed lipedematous scalp.


Histology shows:

(1) increased subcutaneous fat

(2) dermal edema

(3) ectatic lymphatics


Diagnosis requires exclusion of other causes, especially SLE.


Some patients have improved with mycophenolate mofetil therapy, suggesting an immune mechanism.

To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.