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Alopecia areata

What is it?

Alopecia areata is a disease of unknown cause that affects both men and women, characterized by the sudden fall of hair in affected areas, without changes to the skin surface.

Possible causes are a genetic predisposition that would be stimulated by triggers such as emotional stress and autoimmune phenomena.

Characteristics and symptoms

The disease is characterized by the sudden fall of hair forming circular plaques of alopecia without changing the skin at the site, which shows no signs of inflammation. It may affect the scalp and other regions such as the beard area, eyebrows, eyelashes or any other hairy region.

Alopecia areata may have spontaneous remission or become chronic, with the appearance of new lesions and evolution to total alopecia, which affects the entire scalp and even universal alopecia, when the hair on the whole body is lost. These cases are the hardest to control.

Generally, the disease is not accompanied by any other symptom. The regrowth can occur entirely within weeks or months and, sometimes, the hairs are born white and then, gradually repigment. It is common the recurrence of lesions.


There are various treatments to alopecia areata and the clinical characteristics of each case will determine which of them should be used. The medications may be of topic or systemic use and the duration of treatment will depend on the response of each patient.

Related articles

- Androgenic alopecia
- Vitiligo

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