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Alopecia areata is a disease that develops when the body's immune system attacks hair follicles (what holds the hair in place), causing hair loss [3]. It can affect just the scalp or the entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent [2]. Symptoms of alopecia areata include patchy baldness anywhere on the body, including the scalp, beard [1], and coin-sized patches of hair falling out mainly from the scalp [5]. Treatment options for alopecia areata include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, Rogaine® (minoxidil) to stimulate new growth, and other medications such as anthralin cream or immunotherapy injections [6]. Hair loss can also occur due to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy [4], telogen effluvium which is caused by an interruption in normal hair production cycle[7], tinea capitis which is a fungal infection of the scalp[9] ,and trichotillomania which is compulsive pulling out of one’s own hairs[8].


[1]: Hair loss types: Alopecia areata overview (https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types/alopecia)
[2]: Hair loss - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20372926)
[3]: Hair loss: Who gets and causes (https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes)
[4]: Hair Loss (Alopecia) and Cancer Treatment - Side Effects - NCI (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/hair-loss)
[5]: Alopecia areata: Causes, symptoms, and treatment (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/70956)
[6]: Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms & Management (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12423-alopecia-areata)
[7]: Hair Loss: Common Causes and Treatment | AAFP (https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2017/0915/p371.html)
[8]: Alopecia Areata & Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Tips to Cope (https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/alopecia-areata)
[9]: Types of Hair Loss | NYU Langone Health (https://nyulangone.org/conditions/hair-loss/types)

AI

Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss. It can affect both men and women of any age, although it is more common in people over the age of 40. Alopecia can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, hormones, medical conditions such as thyroid disease or lupus, certain medications, stress and even diet. Treatment for alopecia depends on the cause and may include topical treatments such as minoxidil (Rogaine), corticosteroids or immunosuppressants; oral medications such as finasteride (Propecia); light therapy; surgery to transplant hair follicles from one area to another; or wigs/hairpieces.