Causes of hair loss in patches


Does your hair fall out in round patches? Well, then it must be Alopecia areata. It is one of the most common forms of hair loss. Hair can fall out from the scalp or anywhere else from the body. These patches possibly will appear all of a sudden or in a comparatively short span of time. The condition, though benign in most cases, can be the reason for tremendous emotional and psychosocial stress in affected individuals. In children, it can often be intense and emotionally devastating. Some children tend to isolate themselves from their family, friends and others, or appear withdrawn, shy, and reserved.

Causes of Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a form of an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, causing the hair to fall off. People have this type of hair loss at any age. However, there can be certain contributory factors and underlying medical conditions that may cause alopecia areata. Some of the causes of alopecia areata are:

  • Thyroid disease: Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause loss of hair in patches.
  • Lupus: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) associated skin manifestations can sometimes lead to scarring. Scarring can cause hair loss in patches.
  • Drugs: Alopecia from drugs is a usually reversible diffuse non-scarring hair loss that occurs within days to weeks of starting a new medication or changing the dose.
  • Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D plays a role in the creation of new hair follicles. People who do not get adequate amounts of Vitamin D may suffer as there won’t be hair growth and regrowth.
  • Severe Stress: If you do not get your stress under control, your hair might not grow back at all.
  • Protein malnutrition: While hair follicles are among the most metabolically active in the body, and hair growth may be impacted by calorie and protein malnutrition as well as micronutrient deficiency.
  • Hormonal Cause: Women after childbirth and at the time of menopause can lose hair and almost every man will lose some hair by the time of reaching adulthood.

Symptoms of Alopecia Areata

The utmost noticeable symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss. The other symptom is when coin-sized bits of hair begin to fall out, mostly from the scalp. However, any site of hair growth may be affected including the beard and eyelashes. The hair loss can be unexpected, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks. There might be itching or burning in the area before you lose hair. The hair follicles are not destroyed and so hair can re-grow if the inflammation of the follicles subsides. Alopecia areata can also affect the fingernails and toenails, and sometimes these changes are the first sign that the condition is developing. There are a number of small changes that can occur to nails:

  • Pinpoint dents appear
  • White spots and lines appear
  • Nails become rough
  • Nails lose their shine
  • Nails become thin and split

Other proven signs comprise:

  • Exclamation mark hairs: This occurs when few short hairs get thinner at their bottom and grow in or around the edges of bald spots.
  • Cadaver hairs: This is where hairs break afore reaching the skin surface.
  • White hair: This might grow in areas affected by hair loss.


Patchy hair loss is a medical problem more than a cosmetic problem. When not treated appropriately, it can progress to a total loss of hair on the scalp. However, the good news is that this condition often responds well to treatment, especially during the early stages. In many cases, patchy hair loss is first noticed by the hairdresser, when an individual goes to get their hair styled, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed because of its early stage.