Alopecia (overview) L65.9

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

All authors of this article

Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Alopecia; Bald; Balding; Glabrification; Hairlessness

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  • Condition of visible hairlessness on parts of the body normally covered with terminal hair, especially the capillitium. The process of hair loss itself is called effluvium.
  • Alopecia can be localised (focal), diffuse or total.
  • A distinction is made between:
    • scarring (irreversible) alopecia, which is accompanied by destruction of the hair follicle
    • non-scarring alopecia (increased entry of follicles into the telogen stage or involution from terminal hair to vellus hair).

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For an overview of the various causes of alopecia, see table

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Important causes of alopecia


Clinical picture

Scarring alopecia

Congenital defects and genetic disorders

Aplasia cutis congenita, X-linked recessive ichthyosis, epidermal nevus, hemiatrophia progressiva faciei (Romberg), incontinentia pigmenti type Bloch-Sulzberger, porokeratosis mibelli, dyskeratosis follicularis, scarring types of the epidermolysis bullosa group, cutaneo-ossal syndrome, keratosis pilaris syndrome

Infections by fungi, bacteria, protozoa, viruses

Tinea capitis, microspores, syphilis acquisita (Alopecia specifica), leprosy (Alopecia lepromatosa), folliculitis sclerotisans nuchae, cutaneous leishmaniasis, zoster


Basal cell carcinoma, spinocellular carcinoma, skin metastases (alopecia neoplastica), adnexal tumors, lymphoma of the skin; lipomas; alopecia lipoedematosa (rare)

Physical or chemical noxae

Scarring after mechanical trauma, burns, chronic radiodermatitis, burns (alkalis and acids)


Acne conglobata, lupus erythematosus (CDLE), lichen planus, lichen planopilaris, postmenopausal fibrosing frontal alopecia, circumscribed scleroderma, sarcoidosis, perifolliculitis capitis abscedens et suffodiens, psoriasis capitis, pseudopelade (Brocq), dermatomyositis, necrobiosis lipoidica (rarely on the capillitium), Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (rarely on the capillitium), scarring pemphigoid (rarely on the capillitium), Lassueur-Graham-Little syndrome, mucinosis follicularis, folliculitis decalvans, erosive pustular dermatitis of the capillitium (rarely), amyloidosis (rarely), alopecia lipoedematosa (rarely)

Non-cicatrizing alopecia

Alopecia androgenetica (male and female pattern)

Alopecia areata (circumscribed, more rarely diffuse)

Metabolic disorders of different genesis

Malnutrition, endocrine disorders (e.g. thyroid dysfunction, disorders of the NNR)

Drug and chemical effects

Cytostatic and immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, colchicine, azathioprine), anticoagulants (heparin, coumarins), thiouracil, carbamazole, vitamin A, levodopa, propranolol, butyrophenones, bromocriptine, bismuth preparations, thallium, mercury

Hereditary syndromes

Alopecia congenita, hypotrichosis congenita hereditaria generalisata (Marie-Unna), anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, Moynahan syndrome


Trichotillomania, Alopecia marginalis

Systemic diseases

Infectious diseases, collagenoses, lymphomas, tumours of different genesis

Outgoing links (2)

Terminal hair; Vellus hair;


Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020