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Alopecia Areata Types

There are different alopecia areata types or forms, causing varying amounts of hair loss. It most commonly begins as isolated patchy hair loss. The three main alopecia areata types are:

Alopecia Areata (Patchy)

Alopecia areata (patchy) causes one or more coin-sized, usually round or oval, patches on the scalp or other places on the body that grow hair. This type may convert into either alopecia totalis (hair loss across the entire scalp) or alopecia universalis (hair loss across the entire body). Most commonly it remains patchy.

Two images of one alopecia areata type


Persistent patchy alopecia areata is characterized by patchy scalp hair loss that continues over a long period of time without ever developing into extensive alopecia areata such as totalis or universalis.

Alopecia Areata Totalis

Alopecia totalis results in hair loss across the entire scalp.

Alopecia Areata Universalis

Alopecia universalis results in hair loss across the entire body, including eyebrows and eyelashes.

Scalp with alopecia areata universalis

Other Alopecia Areata Types

Diffuse Alopecia Areata

Diffuse alopecia areata results in sudden and unexpected thinning of the hair all over the scalp. It can be hard to diagnose because it looks a lot like other forms of hair loss such as telogen effluvium or male or female pattern hair loss.

Diffuse alopecia areata


Ophiasis Alopecia

Ophiasis alopecia is another alopecia areata type. The hair loss occurs in a band along the sides and back of the head.

Ophiasis alopecia areata


With all types of alopecia areata, hair loss and regrowth can be very unpredictable and cyclical (happen over and over). For some people, hair may even regrow and not fall out again. Although there is no cure for alopecia areata currently, your hair follicles remain alive no matter what type you have. This means that hair regrowth can happen after many years of severe or widespread hair loss. As a result, there are some treatment options that might help hair grow back, even temporarily.


*Images used with permissions from Dr. Brett King, Yale School of Medicine.

Learn more about Treatments for Alopecia Areata, and the tips for Living With Alopecia Areata found helpful by the community.