Alopecia Areata

woman with alopecia

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, causing hair loss, often in small round patches on the scalp. It can also affect the eyebrows, eyelashes, and other hair-bearing areas of the body. Because the skin is so visible and important to the body’s physiological function, skin diseases can impact a person’s physical and mental well-being and carry a large public health burden, despite their relative understudy. In the United States, an estimated 700,000 people have alopecia areata, and this disease affects women differently than men. In women, alopecia areata tends to have a different clinical presentation, can be onset by hormone-driven life stages such as pregnancy, and has increased disease burden and more severe health outcomes.

Alopecia Areata is part of the SWHR Autoimmune Network, which engages the following focus areas: Autoimmune Diseases, Alopecia Areata, Atopic Dermatitis, Lupus, and Psoriatic Arthritis.

Program Goals

  • Address the impact of alopecia areata on women’s health across the lifespan
  • Review the state of science and explore the best means to further research and develop comprehensive diagnosis and treatment strategies
  • Consider health care policies around autoimmune skin diseases, including alopecia areata, based on the science, to improve patient outcomes
  • Develop materials to expand education and raise awareness about alopecia areata among women and health care providers

Facts about Alopecia Areata


of people across the world will experience alopecia areata at some point

More than 80%

of alopecia areata patients show signs of disease before age 40


of alopecia areata patients have a family member who is also affected

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