Alopecia areata is fairly common and is easily recognized; yet recently published dermatologic textbooks disagree on numerous aspects of the disease, and journals reveal only a few investigative efforts. Most investigators agree that alopecia areata is a manifestation of microscopic inflammatory changes of the pilary unit, though clinical evidence of inflammation is rare. The most frequent form is the isolated, asymptomatic loss of hair from a circumscribed plaque, usually on the scalp, with regrowth in a few months. This benign form may develop gradually into more severe ones, eventuating sometimes in universal alopecia. Some involvement of the nails—pitting, ridging, increased friability, or shedding— occurs in many cases.8
Alopecia areata has been described as associated with diseases of the endocrine glands, various tension states and emotional shock, errors of refraction, vitiligo, and neurodermatitis, and as a result of reflex irritations from focal lesions such as dental abscesses and from traumatic
MULLER SA, WINKELMANN RK. Alopecia AreataAn Evaluation of 736 Patients. Arch Dermatol. 1963;88(3):290–297. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590210048007
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