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Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterised by small patches of hair loss. It is believed to be due to a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger. The beard or any other part of the body can be affected.
There may be one or several patches which are round or oval in shape. The scalp can look normal or have a glossy appearance and it is unusual to see any erythema or scaling within the hair loss area.
Sometimes exclamation mark hairs can be seen within the patch. There is also a loss of pigment at the bulb end of the shaft and hairs can break at scalp level leaving a black dot in the follicles, the loss of hair leaves the follicle empty. This is often accompanied by pitting of the nails.
Regrowth of new hair may be white before it takes on any natural colour.
A pull test can indicate whether active or not.
Alopecia Treatment Mackay
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Traction Alopecia is caused by the gradual loss of hair which is primarily the result of pulling by force. Chronic pulling or traction can result in the recession of the hairline
Androgenetic Alopecia known as male or female pattern hair loss or baldness
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is the most common scarring alopecia in African American females. Clinically this presents as a central area of progressive hair loss that extends to the periphery.
Patients with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia typically present with hair loss in the frontal scalp region and can affect the eyebrows and eyelashes. This a form of Lichen Planopilaris.
Anagen Effluvium is a rapid amount of hair loss in a short period of time. This is usually the result of an environmental shock. The hairs stop growing although they are in the Anagen (growing) phase.
Telogen Effluvium is a common form of diffuse hair loss when the body goes through a traumatic event such as severe infection, virus, major surgery, child birth or nutrient deficiency.
Alopecia Totalis and Universalis are both more extreme versions of Areata. Totalis is the total loss of hair on the head including the brows and eye lashes. Universalis is the total loss of all hair throughout the whole body.