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Nov 2011

Alteration in Hair Texture Following Regrowth in Alopecia Areata: A Case Report

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(11):1297-1299. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.192

Background Alopecia areata is a common cause of hair loss seen in 3.8% of patients in dermatology clinics and in 0.2% to 2.0% of the general US population. The pathology of the disease remains poorly understood. Hair loss in alopecia areata can range from a single patch to 100% loss of body hair. When hair regrowth occurs in alopecia areata, the new hair may demonstrate pigment alterations, but a change in hair texture (ie, curly or straight) has rarely been reported as a consequence of alopecia areata.

Observations We report a case of a 13-year-old African American boy who experienced an alteration of hair shape following regrowth after alopecia areata. The new hair recapitulated his hair shape from early childhood.

Conclusions The precipitating factor for a change in hair texture in alopecia areata may be a result of treatment, pathophysiologic changes, or a combination of both. Whether the change is triggered at the level of stem cell differentiation, by cytokine or hormonal influences, gene expression during hair follicle development, a combination of all of these, or an unknown cause is a question that remains to be answered.