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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
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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


  1. Alopecia areata. DermNet NZ. March 2011; 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; Accessed 5/8/2012.
  3. Types of Alopecia Areata. National Alopecia Areata Foundation. 2011; Accessed 5/8/2012.
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Basic Information

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  • 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.
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