Alopecia causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Scarring alopecia is caused by numerous dermatologic factors, including glabrous skin (non-hairy), and is very difficult to diagnose and manage. Non-scarring alopecia is characterized by the absence of visible inflammation of the skin involved.


Common Causes

A sudden physical or emotional stress may cause one-half to three-quarters of the hair throughout your scalp to shed (called Telogen effluvium). You will notice hair coming out in handfuls while you shampoo, comb, or run your hands through your hair. You may not notice this for weeks to months after the episode of stress. The hair shedding will decrease over 6 - 8 months.

Cause of this type of hair loss are:

Other possible causes of hair loss, especially if it is in an unusual pattern, include:

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Vasculitis
Chemical / poisoning Selenium, Thallium
Dermatologic Acrokeratosis paraneoplastica of Bazex, Alopecia cicatrisata, Alopecia mucinosa, Discoid lupus erythematosus, Erythroderma, Folliculitis, Folliculitis decalvans, Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans cum op, Perifolliculitis capitis abscedens et suffodiens, Pseudopelade of Brocq, Tufted folliculitis
Drug Side Effect Aclarubicin, Actinomycin D, Albendazole, Amiodarone, Antidepressants, Beta blockers, Birth control pills, Calcium channel blockers, Cidofovir, Clomifene, Colchicine, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Cytosine arabinoside, Cytotoxic therapeutic agents, Danazol, Daunorubicin, Doxorubicin, Eflornithine, Epirubicin, Etoposide, Fluoxymesterone, Gestrinone, Heparin, Idarubicin, Ifosfamide, Interferon alpha, Irinotecan, Leflunomide, Melphalan, Methotrexate, Methylphenidate, Mitoxantrone, NSAIDs, Oxaliplatin, Pazopanib, Pixantrone, Proguanil, Retinoids, Sorafenib, Stanozolol, Teniposide, Teriflunomide, Testosterone, Thiotepa, Topotecan, Trabectedin, Tribavirin, Valproic acid, Vemurafenib, Vincristine, Vismodegib
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Adrenal cortex insufficiency, Hormone changes, Hyperthyroidism, Hypopituitarism, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid diseases
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Canada-Cronkhite syndrome
Genetic Ablepharon-macrostomia syndrome, Bazex-Dupre-Christol syndrome, Biotinidase deficiency, BRESHECK syndrome, CARASIL, Chondrodysplasia punctata 2, X-linked dominant, Dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis, Dubowitz syndrome, Dwarfism-cerebral atrophy-keratosis follicularis syndrome, Dystrophia myotonica type 2, Epidermolysis bullosa with pyloric atresia, Haemochromatosis, Hallermann-Streiff syndrome (HSS), Hay-Wells syndrome, Hidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, Holocarboxylase synthase deficiency, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, autosomal dominant, Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, autosomal recessive type, Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, X-linked, Hypotrichosis simplex, Incontinentia pigmenti, Junctional epidermolysis bullosa, non-Herlitz type, Keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness syndrome, autosomal recessive, Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans cum ophiasi, Lamellar ichthyosis type 2, Marie Unna hereditary hypotrichosis, Monilethrix, Myositis ossificans progressiva, Orofaciodigital syndrome type 1, Papular atrichia, Proteus syndrome, Pseudoprogeria syndrome, Rosselli-Gulienetti syndrome, Schopf-Schulz-Passarge syndrome, Total congenital alopecia, Vitamin D dependent rickets type 2a, Werner syndrome, Woodhouse-Sakati syndrome
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease No underlying causes
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheum / Immune / Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order