“With all the advances in medicine today, I do believe that we are looking to a brighter future.”
    “It’s not a fashion choice, it’s alopecia areata.”
    “It’s encouraging that so much research is on the horizon.”

“Our understanding of
what alopecia areata is and
what causes it has evolved
tremendously in
recent years.”

Brett King, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Yale School of Medicine

Affects up to 1.5 Million Americans at any given time
Talk to a dermatologist about clinical trials.


Alopecia Areata is a serious medical disease 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, and it can have other symptoms as well.
Our Research
and Clinical Trials
Alopecia Areata impacts the whole person

    “With all the advances in medicine today, I do believe that we are looking to a brighter future.”

    “It’s not a fashion choice, it’s alopecia areata.”

    Heather recalls vividly how she felt when she first noticed her hair loss and gathered the strength to do something about it. “I remember that time period as one of slow terror.”

    Heather was in her early 30s, in the middle of moving to a new city and starting business school to earn her MBA when she realized something was wrong. “I had a spectacular short Afro, and one day I started to comb my hair and felt air. There were quarter- and dime-shaped bald spaces on my head.” Heather knew there was something wrong, and for two months, she avoided looking at herself in the mirror.

    Finally, Heather sent pictures of her bald patches to her mother, her best friend and her aunt, with a message: “Something is wrong with me.” When they replied with messages of love and support, Heather made an appointment to see a dermatologist. Her diagnosis: alopecia areata.


    Heather tried some hair and scalp treatments that she hoped would work. But within two months, all of her hair was gone, including her eyebrows and eyelashes.

    “I wore a wig for a few months, but one hot day, I was running late for work and forgot my wig.” She says her colleagues were very complimentary and supportive. “I have been bald ever since.”

    Living with the Disease

    Even with her decision to be a bald woman, alopecia areata affects Heather’s daily life. “Every day, I have to put my eyebrows on. I make sure I wear earrings, because without them, I could be mistaken for a man. Sometimes, wispy baby hairs grow, and I shave my head every week or two.”

    Heather sees the impact to her self-esteem as being the biggest challenge she has overcome.

    “It’s not a fashion choice, it’s alopecia areata. My identity has shifted to include alopecia areata. How do I want to show up in the world? I had to decide. Now people assume I am brassy and strong, thinking it takes courage to cut your hair off. Those are great qualities. This is how I choose to be seen.”

    Though Heather knows there are new treatments in development for this autoimmune disease, she says, “I’m not currently taking any medication for alopecia areata, and I show up in the world as a bald woman.” Even so, she is encouraged and relieved that alopecia areata is attracting more attention and research.

    For anyone who is earlier in their alopecia areata journey, Heather says “You are not alone. There is a rich, vibrant and beautiful life beyond alopecia areata. You can have this disease, but it’s just a part of you, not all of you. I’m a person who has alopecia areata, not a patient. I know you will see many people who don’t look like you, but there is not just one way to be beautiful. Include yourself in the term beautiful!”

    “It’s encouraging that so much research is on the horizon.”

    Stephanie lost everything when her Louisiana town was completely wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She survived, and she and her husband moved to higher ground and started over in a new town. Then, two years later, when she was 31, she found a little bald spot on her head. “I had crazy thick hair and didn’t think much of it,” Stephanie says. “I went to the doctor and found out I had 14 bald spots I didn’t even know about, hidden in all that hair.” Stephanie’s diagnosis: alopecia areata.

    Stephanie was surprised to learn that alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. “I have two degrees in the medical field and knew about autoimmune diseases, but I didn’t know alopecia areata was one until I was diagnosed and researched it.”


    For four years, Stephanie’s alopecia areata was very unpredictable. She tried treatments with some hair regrowth, but then her hair started falling out quickly. “I ended up with only one patch of hair on my head. My husband shaved it off for me. It was a very intense moment, and I cried at the finality of it,” Stephanie says. “But it was also liberating, to be free of it. Then, I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes as well.”

    Emotionally, she still struggled with depression and coping with alopecia areata. This changed when an interaction with one of her patients helped her come to terms with her disease. (Stephanie’s job is in the health care field.)

    “After about six months into being completely bald, one of my patients came in for a test on a day when I was thinking about an expensive wig I wanted to buy. She told me that she had cancer and had been given three months to live.” Stephanie says this was a significant moment in her life, calling it her turning point into acceptance. “I realized that although I do not have hair, I get to live my life.”

    Now, Stephanie says she appreciates her amazing family and friends (including her patient, who is a cancer survivor), co-workers, and a great support system. “I’m in a great place.”

    Living with the Disease

    Stephanie has been living with alopecia areata since 2007. She has some hair regrowth now, but she knows that could change any day, and her hair could fall out again.

    Stephanie has adapted to life with her physical symptoms of alopecia areata. Her scalp is very sore when hair falls out or grows back, and without her eyelashes, she finds that her eyes get irritated and dry more easily, especially in the winter.

    Even though she describes herself as social and outgoing, Stephanie still has some anxiety when going to a new place and meeting new people. “I love meeting new people, but there is that little sense of hesitation: What will they say? Will they ask me questions? Will they stare?”

    Stephanie says it was important for her to share her story because she wants to help others who have alopecia areata and let them know someone else is going through the same thing with the disease.

    Stephanie hopes for more awareness and more research for alopecia areata. “It’s encouraging that so much research is on the horizon. Alopecia areata is starting to get a big spotlight – keep the faith!”

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Brett King, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Yale School of Medicine



  • Affects up to 1.5 million Americans at any given time
  • Affects both men and women
  • Onset of the disease can occur throughout life, with the majority of those affected initially having symptoms by age 40
  • Any hair-bearing site can be affected – Hair loss can be on the scalp or other areas or both
  • Types of alopecia areata:
    • Alopecia areata: patches of hair loss, possible other symptoms
    • Ophiasis alopecia: loss of hair in the shape of a wave at the circumference of the head, possible other symptoms
    • Alopecia totalis: total loss of hair on the scalp, possible other symptoms
    • Alopecia universalis: complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body, possible other symptoms
  • Alopecia areata can be associated with anxiety and depression
  • Currently, there are limited treatment options available for alopecia areata
Talk to your dermatologist about clinical trials


When you are ready to talk to a dermatologist about the possibility of participating in a clinical trial, you should be ready to discuss your symptoms and the severity of your disease.



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, and it can have other symptoms as well.

According to the National Institutes of Health, with alopecia areata:1

  • 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.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Academic Dermatology, a review of numerous studies supports the conclusion that alopecia areata is a medical autoimmune disease, driven by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes attacking the hair follicle.2

Alopecia areata has also been shown to have a strong association with other autoimmune diseases, including2,3:

  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Vitiligo

The study reports that patients with alopecia areata have a significantly increased risk for2:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Inner ear damage and hearing loss
  • Nail issues
1 https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/alopecia-areata/advanced
2 Korta, Dorota Z. Alopecia areata is a medical disease. Journal of Academic Dermatology. 2018; Vol. 78 No. 4. 832-834
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30222206
Our Research and Clinical Trials
Janus kinases (JAKs) are a group of enzymes that play an important role in immune defense within our cells. Researchers have discovered that inhibiting this pathway can be beneficial in treating immune- mediated diseases.
Concert Pharmaceuticals is developing a JAK inhibitor, deuruxolitinib, as a possible treatment for alopecia areata.
Click Here
Some clinical trials for alopecia areata are offering an extension study period, allowing all participants the option to have long-term access to the investigational medicine beyond the initial clinical trial timeframe.
For more resources on clinical trials, visit BIO’s Clinical Trials


Whole Person

People living with alopecia areata shared their experiences in a survey that revealed that they face significant burdens from this disease, including a range of physical symptoms and significant psychosocial impacts. The survey results were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings.1 Concert Pharmaceuticals provided funding to sponsor the research.

1 "Burden of Illness in Alopecia Areata: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey Study" https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jisp.2020.05.007
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