What are the physical findings characteristic of alopecia areata?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Chantal Bolduc, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The presence of smooth, slightly erythematous (peach color) or normal-colored alopecic patches is characteristic. The presence of exclamation point hairs (ie, hairs tapered near proximal end) is pathognomonic but is not always found. A positive result from the pull test at the periphery of a plaque usually indicates that the disease is active, and further hair loss can be expected. Additionally, hair loss on other hair-bearing areas also favors the diagnosis. The most common presentation is the appearance of one or many round-to-oval denuded patches. No epidermal changes are associated with the hair loss.

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