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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Alopecia universalis


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Alopecia areata universalis
  • Alopecia universalis congenita
  • AU
  • Generalized atrichia
  • Loss of all hair on the body
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What is alopecia universalis?

What is the prognosis for individuals with alopecia universalis?

What is alopecia universalis?

Alopecia universalis is an uncommon form of alopecia areata.[1] Alopecia areata is hair loss of unknown cause, characterized by round patches of complete baldness.[2] Alopecia universalis, which presents itself as the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body, is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. While there is neither a cure for alopecia areata nor drugs approved for its treatment, some people find that medications approved for other purposes can help hair grow back, at least temporarily.[3] Since the hair follicles of individuals with alopecia universalis remain alive, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.[1] 
Last updated: 5/8/2012

What is the prognosis for individuals with alopecia universalis?

The course of alopecia universalis is highly unpredictable, and the uncertainty of what will happen next is probably the most difficult and frustrating aspect of the disease. You may continue to lose hair, or your hair loss may stop. The hair you have lost may or may not grow back.[3]
Last updated: 11/1/2013

  1. Types of Alopecia Areata. National Alopecia Areata Foundation. 2011; Accessed 5/8/2012.
  2. Alopecia areata. MedlinePlus. 2010; Accessed 5/8/2012.
  3. Alopecia Areata: Questions and Answers About Alopecia Areata. National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (NIAMS). January 2012; Accessed 5/8/2012.