Learn About Alopecia Areata

September 8th, 2022

All month in September, we’re focused on raising awareness of alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body.  Alopecia areata results in partial or complete loss of hair on the scalp and body.

According to the National Institutes of Health, with alopecia areata:

  • The immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, the structures from which hairs grow.
  • Immune system cells called white blood cells attack the rapidly growing cells in the hair follicles. The affected hair follicles become small and drastically slow down hair production, which can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere.
  • In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. In many cases, the disease does not extend beyond a few bare patches. In some people, hair loss is more extensive.
  • Although uncommon, the disease can progress to cause total loss of hair on the scalp (referred to as alopecia areata totalis) or complete loss of hair on the scalp, face and body (alopecia areata universalis).

 

For more information, visit https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/alopecia-areata/advanced.

A publication in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology highlights the impacts of alopecia areata: “Burden of Illness in Alopecia Areata: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey Study.”

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