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A Quick Introduction to Alopecia Areata

Learn about the symptoms and treatment methods of alopecia areata.

Hair loss is a common condition experienced by many individuals at some point in their lives. Alopecia means hair loss, but alopecia areata is a specific type of hair loss where hair falls out in round patches.  Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss, and it often occurs in otherwise healthy people.  Alopecia areata affects everyone differently; some people grow back their hair, and others experience hair loss for many years.  While there is no cure for alopecia areata, your dermatologist can recommend treatments that may help your hair grow back more quickly.

Causes and Symptoms

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease and affects people of all ages, but often begins in childhood.  Individuals with alopecia areata may be at a higher risk of another autoimmune disease, such as thyroid disease or vitiligo.  Symptoms of alopecia areata involve sudden hair loss occurring on the scalp in the form of coin-size, bare patches. Alopecia areata can affect hair all over the body, not just the scalp.  Alopecia areata can also affect the nails. You may notice tiny pinpoint-like indents on your nails, as well as white spots or lines, roughness, or thinning of the nail.


Your dermatologist can diagnose alopecia areata by examining your hair loss.  They can examine a few of your hairs under a microscope where the hair loss is occurring.  A dermatologist can also perform a skin biopsy, where a small piece of skin is examined under a microscope, as well as a blood test if they think you may have another autoimmune disease.  Once the alopecia areata is professionally diagnosed by your dermatologist, can prescribe treatment that may help the hair to grow back quickly. There are a variety of prescription medications on the market to treat hair loss, such as corticosteroids, Minoxidil (a hair regrowth medication), and Anthralin (medication to alter skin’s immune function). If you believe you may be suffering from hair loss, and alopecia areata specifically, schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists to discuss your hair loss and potential treatment options that may work for you.


Skin Care Specialty Physicians has been serving the residents of the greater Baltimore area for over ten years.  From skin cancer screenings to treatments for hair loss, eczema, acne, and more, we treat conditions affecting your skin, hair, and nails. We diagnose a wide range of skin conditions each day and work with you to select treatment options that best fit you and your skin.  We also offer variety of cosmetic treatments and procedures, ranging from botox to microneedling, to fit you and your aesthetic goals. If you are interested in any of our services, contact us at 410.252.9090. You can also follow SCS Physicians on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 16th, 2018 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.