Glossary On What is Alopecia Areata?

Amongst all hair disorders, none arouse as much interest as alopecia areata. The reason for this is the uniqueness with which the disease presents itself:

  • Alopecia can affect people of any age - from infancy right up to the 80s
  • It can affect any part of the body
  • This condition can progress very rapidly leading to complete loss of scalp hair in a span as short as 15 days or can limit itself to one small persistent patch throughout a person's life
  • It has phases of remissions and relapses even whilst the patient is on medication, and in few rare cases it’s known to relapse even 20 years after the first episode

Basically, alopecia areata is a condition in which there is patchy loss of hair from the scalp. The condition can affect any part of the body as mentioned before but it is most commonly seen on the scalp. In certain cases it can extend to eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair (beard, moustache) and can give rise to bald spots anywhere on the body.

Here are some of the features that are characteristic of alopecia areata:

  • Hair falls out in small patches leaving bald spots about the size of a small coin
  • There may be single or multiple such patches
  • The bald spots may remain static or may spread to involve larger areas of the scalp
  • In certain cases, hair loss is more extensive
  • Uncommonly, it may progress to total loss of hair on the head (alopecia areata totalis) or complete loss of hair all over the body (alopecia areata universalis)

Alopecia Areata