Alopecia areata causes hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body such as the face, arms and legs. Hair loss can begin at any age. Alopecia areata affects girls and boys.
The condition is an autoimmune disorder. This means your child's immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles as if they were harmful germs. When this happens, the growth of hair slows down or stops. Alopecia areata may also affect the fingernails and toenails.
Symptoms of alopecia areata can come and go over time. They include:
Your child's hair may regrow after several months. New hair may be finer and white and may return to its original texture and color with time.
Hair loss can be stressful, especially during the school-age years. Children and teens may feel embarrassed and self-conscious about their appearance.
Children with alopecia areata may lose and regrow their hair more than once. While there is no cure for alopecia areata, there are treatments to help regrow hair. The hair loss is rarely permanent and the hair usually grows back.
Pediatric dermatologists at Riley at IU Health may perform the following exams and tests to diagnose alopecia areata:
While hair usually returns on its own, treatments are available to help regrow hair, including:
Visit the trusted website below to learn more about hair loss (alopecia areata).
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This website from the National Institutes of Health provides more information about alopecia areata, including current research.
The American Academy of Dermatology shares tips for managing alopecia areata on its website.
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