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Alopecia areata is a condition that causes round patches of hair loss.
The cause of alopecia areata is unknown. About a fifth of people with this condition have a family history of alopecia. Alopecia areata may sometimes occur with autoimmune diseases.
Forms of alopecia include:
- Alopecia totalis -- complete loss of scalp hair
- Alopecia universalis -- total loss of all body hair
- Loss of all scalp and body hair (alopecia universalis)
- Loss of all scalp hair (alopecia totalis)
- Roundish patches of hair loss on the head
- Smooth, hairless scalp in the affected areas
Hairs that look like exclamation points are sometimes seen at the edges of a bald patch.
No fully effective treatments are available. Typical therapy includes:
- Steroid injection under the skin surface
- Topical corticosteroids
- Ultraviolet light therapy
Irritating drugs may be applied to hairless areas to cause the hair to regrow.
Full recovery of hair is common. However, some people may have a poorer outcome, including those with:
- Alopecia areata at a young age
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Long-term alopecia