Childhood alopecia areata—Data from the National Alopecia Areata Registry

Iris Wohlmuth-Wieser, Joyce S. Osei, David Norris, Vera Price, Maria K. Hordinsky, Angela Christiano, Madeleine Duvic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives: Alopecia areata may occur at any age and is the third-most-common dermatosis in children. The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical and epidemiologic features of children and adolescents with alopecia areata based on the data of the National Alopecia Areata registry on children and adolescents. Methods: Two thousand two hundred eighteen children and adolescents with alopecia areata self-enrolled in the National Alopecia Areata Registry and completed a web-based, self-administered, short-intake screening questionnaire (first tier). In the second tier, 643 patients participated in a clinical examination and completed a long-form questionnaire. Results: Mean age of onset was 5.9 ± 4.1 years. With a female to male ratio of 1.5:1, alopecia areata was more prevalent in girls, but boys were significantly more likely to have a severe type (P =.009). One-fourth of all children had a positive family history, with 8% having more than three affected relatives. The disease most commonly associated with alopecia areata was atopic dermatitis (32.7%). Conclusion: Childhood alopecia areata is more prevalent in girls than in boys, but boys have more extensive alopecia areata. Despite the low prevalence, congenital alopecia areata is an important differential diagnosis for neonatal hair loss. Alopecia areata runs in families, suggesting an underlying genetic background. One-quarter of the children reported at least one affected first-degree relative; 8% had more than three affected relatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-169
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Clinical and epidemiologic data of children and adolescents (aged ≤18) with AA were collected through the National Alopecia Areata Registry (, which was established in September 2000. The registry was initially funded from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and subsequently received funds from the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). The institutional review boards of each of the five participating centers (Houston, San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York) have approved the study protocol. (Figure 1 describes the structure of the alopecia areata registry.) The first tier of data entry was a web-based form that anyone in the United States with a diagnosis of AA could fill out. Mostly interested patients and the parents of children filled out the form. Local dermatologists were able to download the form and encourage their patients to participate.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • alopecia
  • hair disorders


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