Alopecia Areata


This is a disease that causes your hair to fall out in round patches. It happens when your body attacks the cells that make your hair. This disease is not dangerous or painful. But it can be very upsetting.


Alopecia areata is a problem with your immune system. That's the system that protects your body from germs. In people with alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. The follicles are the places in the skin that grow hair. We don't know what causes the follicles to be attacked. Your genes may play a role. And, it's possible this disease my be triggered by a virus or by something you are exposed to.


This disease can cause you to lose hair in one or more small patches on your scalp. You can also lose hair from other places on your body. Any place that grows hair can be affected. You may also see changes in your nails. You may see pits or white spots or lines. Your nails may split and break easily. In some people, the nails may change shape or fall off.


There is no cure for alopecia areata. Medications may help you regrow hair. And your follicles can still grow new hair. Your hair may grow back on its own at any time. It may even fall out and regrow many times. In some people, it eventually grows back and looks just like it did originally. Talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options and tips for coping with hair loss.