Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. In fact, as many as 6.5 million people in the U.S. have symptoms, had symptoms or will go on to develop symptoms of alopecia areata.
How many kinds of alopecia areata are there? Alopecia areata most commonly begins as isolated patchy hair loss, usually in one or more coin-sized (usually round or oval) patches on the scalp or other places on the body that grow hair, such as the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes or extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet).
Typically, it surfaces as either:
1. Alopecia areata (patchy)
Alopecia areata (patchy) is the form with one or more coin-sized (usually round or oval) patches on the scalp or other places on the body that grow hair. This type may convert into either alopecia totalis (hair loss across the entire scalp) or alopecia universalis (hair loss across the entire body), but most commonly it remains patchy.
2. Alopecia universalis
Alopecia universalis is more advanced than alopecia totalis. This type results in hair loss across the entire scalp and face (including eyebrows and eyelashes), plus the rest of the body (including pubic hair).
3. Persistent patchy alopecia areata
Persistent patchy alopecia areata is characterized by patchy scalp hair loss that continues over a long period of time without ever developing into extensive alopecia areata, such as totalis or universalis.