Clinical Update: Alopecia

Alopecia, or hair loss, generally occurs on the scalp, but can also occur on the eyebrows, eyelashes, and bearded areas, as well as other parts of the body. The idiopathic form of alopecia is known as alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease and is generally reversible and self-limiting. Scarring alopecia, or cicatricial alopecia, causes irreversible hair loss and can result from destructive skin tumors, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, follicular lichen planus, and severe infections. Other forms of alopecia include physiologic alopecia, trichotillomania, and traction alopecia.

Diagnosis of alopecia is made based on physical examination, however underlying causes of hair loss must also be identified. Treatment is dependent on the type of alopecia and may include topical agents such as minoxidil, surgical autografting, injections of corticosteroids, and oral medications such as finasteride (only approved for men) and corticosteroids.


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This Just In

From Our Journals

Language of Dermatology: Describing the Hair and Related Abnormalities
Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
May/June 2012

Cicatricial Alopecia
Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
May/June 2010

Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation: Patients' Perspectives and Recommendations for Dermatology Nurses
Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
May/June 2010

The root causes of hair loss
November 2008

On The Web

National Alopecia Areata Foundation
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
American Academy of Dermatology


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