Alopecia areata is a disease that affects the hair follicles. In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. Many people with the disease get only a few bare patches, yet others may lose more hair. Rarely, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or complete loss of hair on the head, face, and body.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. The cause is not known. Scientists think that a person’s genes may play a role. For people whose genes put them at risk for the disease, some type of trigger starts the attack on the hair follicles. The triggers may be a virus or something in the person’s environment.
There is no cure for alopecia areata. There are no drugs approved to treat it. Doctors may use medicines such as Corticosteroids and skin cream approved for other diseases to help hair grow back.
Alopecia areata does not make you feel pain and does not make you feel sick. You can’t give it to others. People who have the disease are, for the most part, healthy in other ways. Alopecia areata will not shorten your life, and it should not affect your normal activities.