Spot it on the spot!
Diagnosing alopecia areata is probably one of the easiest things to do about this condition since the look of the patches itself is so peculiar. Typically, close examination of the lesion reveals a smooth bald patch.
One of the characteristic finding of alopecia areata is ‘exclamation point hair’. This unusual appearance of hair can be found in areas of hair loss. On close examination with a hand lens, these are seen as short, broken-off hair that are narrower closer to the scalp (appearing like an exclamation point).
‘Hair pull test’ can also be conducted at the margins of lesions. If the hair gets easily pulled out from the bald patch margins, it is indicative that the lesion is active and further hair loss can be anticipated.
However, for a more definitive diagnosis to be established, dermatologists sometimes need to take a small skin biopsy for microscopic examination. This can be used to determine whether there is focal inflammation of the hair follicles.