Alopecia Areata  is when circular patches of hair loss appear quickly and most commonly on the scalp, but may also involve the beard, eyelashes,eyebrows, pubic hair, and body hair. I often see the nails affected too. It is an autoimmune problem that is possibly triggered by a bacterial or viral infection, stress, vaccination, medication or exposure to a substance. This causes an inflammatory response in the hair follicle. It is a non scarring relapsing hair loss affecting genetically  predisposed individuals, occurring at any age. This type of hair loss remains reversible and in most individuals regrows within 12 months, whereby the hairs gradually resume their normal calibre and color.

I use Dermoscopy  when determining alpoecia areata from other types of patchy hair loss. There are many different treatments that can be used to treat alopecia areata, from non specific irritants to steroids and immune enhancers. Treatment or non treatment is to be determined and prognosis is explained. Often a change in diet that improves metabolism has the desired effect on a compromised immune system and the hair follicle responds accordingly.