Alopecia is a general term that means “hair loss.” There are many types of alopecia, the most common types in ethnic skin being:

Alopecia Areata:  This is spontaneous hair loss, typically in circular patches. It most commonly occurs on the scalp and beard, but may occur anywhere. It is a benign condition and typically the hair re-grows on its own over time. Alopecia areata is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles. Stress and other traumatic events can often bring this on.  You may occasionally opt for small cortisone injections into the skin to suppress the immune system locally and to promote hair re-growth.

Androgenetic alopecia:  This is a hereditary type of hair loss that may occur in both men and women. It is associated with shrinkage of the hair follicles and shortening of the active growth phase (anagen phase) of the hair follicle.  In men, androgenetic alopecia is characterized by hair loss on the crown and temples.  In women, the frontal hair line is preserved, but there is diffuse thinning of the crown.

Alopecia in Ethnic Skin
Individuals with ethnic skin tend to have dark hair, so it is key to treat alopecia early. Early treatment will limit hair loss and prevent the significant cosmetic defect that may result.