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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Alopecia totalis

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease

  • Loss of all scalp hair
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

Alopecia totalis is an uncommon form of of alopecia areata where all of the scalp hair is lost. Alopecia totalis is considered an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out.[1] While there is neither a cure nor drugs approved for its treatment, some people find that medications approved for other purposes can help hair grow back, at least temporarily.[2] The hair follicles usually remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.[3]
Last updated: 5/9/2011

References

  1. Alopecia areata. DermNet NZ. March 2011; http://www.dermnet.org.nz/hair-nails-sweat/alopecia-areata.html. Accessed 5/9/2011.
  2. Alopecia Areata: Questions and Answers About Alopecia Areata. National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (NIAMS). January 2012; http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Alopecia_Areata/. Accessed 10/30/2014.
  3. Types of Alopecia Areata. National Alopecia Areata Foundation. 2011; http://www.naaf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_alopecia_types. Accessed 7/11/2014.
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Basic Information

  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Alopecia totalis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Resources for Kids

Other Names for this Disease
  • Loss of all scalp hair
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.