Alopecia Areata Symptoms
The most common alopecia symptom is hair loss that appears in small patches on the scalp; forming bald spots. These patches are often several centimeters or less and can even occur on other parts of the body. A person with alopecia areata may witness patches on the face, eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard.
You may first notice clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower drain. However, other health conditions can also cause hair fall in a similar pattern. Therefore, hair loss alone isn’t the only alopecia areata symptom.
In rare cases, people may experience a more intense form of alopecia areata such as:
- Alopecia totalis, which is the loss of all hair on the scalp or complete baldness
- Alopecia universalis, which is the loss of hair on the entire body
The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies greatly from person to person. Therefore, it is imperative to know the other alopecia symptoms for its effective management. Following are the signs and symptoms of alopecia:
- Well-defined spots of hair loss are formed on the scalp leading to bald patches.
- Patchy hair loss can be seen after an episode of stress or trauma.
- Evidently visible and increased number of bald patches scattered all over the scalp.
- Existing bald spots fill up with new hair while other patches appear simultaneously.
- Large areas of the scalp (involving the temporal and posterior scalp) are affected in a circular pattern. This is an alopecia symptom that occurs when the loss of hair is limited on the sides and lower-back of the scalp.
- Hair loss occurs on the beard, moustache, eyebrow and other parts of the body.
- In some cases, fingernails and toenails become red, brittle, and pitted.
- Widespread dramatic thinning of the scalp hair is an alopecia symptom, also known as diffused alopecia areata. This is a more generalized form of alopecia symptom females and males experience.
- Eventually, all of the hair on the scalp is completely lost resulting in baldness (alopecia totalis). This is a form of alopecia areata that begins suddenly and occurs rapidly.
- In rare cases, individuals experience loss of hair on the entire body (alopecia universalis- an extreme form of alopecia areata).
The table below lists signs and symptoms of alopecia along with its forms.
|Alopecia totalis||Alopecia universalis||Diffuse alopecia areata||Nail disease|
|Affects up to 5% of the affected individuals||Affects less than 1% of the total cases of alopecia areata||Sudden diffuse thinning of the scalp hair||
Affects 10-50% of the people with alopecia areata
|All scalp hair is lost resulting in baldness||All the hair on the entire body is lost||Regular pitting and ridging of nails is the most common finding and alopecia symptom|