Alopecia Areata or Hair Loss

Skin | Dermatology | Alopecia Areata or Hair Loss (Disease)


Alopecia means loss of hair from the head or body. Alopecia can mean baldness, a term generally reserved for pattern alopecia or androgenic alopecia.

In general, most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Frequently, hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors, family history, and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice a mild and often normal physiologic thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties. Other times, normal life variations including temporary severe stress, nutritional changes, and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause a reversible hair loss.

Causes and Risk factors

Localized alopecia may be due to permanent skin damage (for example, by burns or radiotherapy) or trauma to the hair roots by styling or, rarely, trichotillomania. The most common type of localized hair loss is alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There is no specific treatment, but the hair usually regrows within a few months. Alopecia universalis is a rare, permanent form of alopecia areata that causes loss of all the hair on the scalp and body, including the eyelashes and eyebrows. Skin diseases such as scalp ringworm, lichen planes, lupus erythematosus, and skin tumors may also cause localized hair loss. Treatments for male-pattern baldness include hair transplants or drug treatments with minoxidil or finasteride. ...

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