Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder which is characterized by hair loss. Alopecia areata is found equally in both men and women. The disease can occur at any age, including childhood.
The hair loss may result in round bald patches on the scalp (alopecia areata) or involve the loss of all facial and scalp hair (alopecia totalis). The loss of all body hair is called alopecia universalis. Alopecia postpartum is characterized by loss of significant hair following pregnancy and is usually temporary. When a patient is diagnosed with alopecia, the first question is usually about whether or not the hair will regrow. The answer is usually vague as each case is different. Regrowth of hair may occur in some patients; and in other, the hair loss is permanent.