Health advice
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Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss. Read more to learn about symptoms, treatment and where else to go for help with alopecia.
What is alopecia?

Alopecia means hair loss, but it’s usually used to refer to alopecia areata. While lots of things can cause hair loss, alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where your body mistakenly attacks healthy cells, causing your hair to thin or fall out.1

Alopecia is quite common, affecting about 0.15% of people in the UK.2 It’s a chronic condition, meaning it lasts for a long time.

What are the symptoms of alopecia?

The main symptom of alopecia is hair loss. But not everyone will experience hair loss from alopecia in the same way.

Alopecia can cause hair loss anywhere on your body, but it most often affects the scalp, beard, eyelashes and eyebrows.3

Most people with alopecia lose patches of hair. It is rare for people with alopecia to lose all of their scalp or body hair.3

About 10–15% of people with alopecia also experience nail changes, like pitting or ridging on the nails.3

Visit your nearest pharmacy

Get support and advice from your local Well pharmacist

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Where can I get further support and information?

Alopecia UK.

Information, support and resources for people with alopecia.

NHS Inform.

Information about alopecia if you live in Scotland.

NHS Website.

Information about alopecia, including symptoms, living with alopecia and treatments to manage alopecia.

  1. Branch NSC and O. Alopecia Areata. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Published April 4, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2023.
  2. Alopecia areata | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE. Accessed April 19, 2023.
  3. Definition | Background information | Alopecia areata | CKS | NICE. Accessed April 19, 2023.
  4. Causes | Background information | Alopecia areata | CKS | NICE. Accessed April 19, 2023.
  5. Prognosis | Background information | Alopecia areata | CKS | NICE. Accessed April 19, 2023.
  6. Treatments for Alopecia Areata. Alopecia UK. Published July 22, 2020. Accessed April 19, 2023.

Reviewed by: Mital Thakrar

Review date: April 2023

Next review: April 2026

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