Alopecia classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ogechukwu Hannah Nnabude, MD


Alopecia can be subdivided into two main categories: non-scarring and scarring. Over all, non-scarring alopecia has a higher possibility of being reversible and having a better outcome while scarring alopecia is more likely to be irreversible and have a poorer outcome.


Alopecia may be classified according to the scarring into 2 subtypes/groups: non-scarring and scarring.
The six major categories of non-scarring alopecia are:

Scarring alopecia is divided into three major types:

  • Alopecia mucinosa: This occurs when mucinous material accumulates in the hair follicles and the sebaceous glands. The mucinous material causes an inflammatory response that hinders the growth of hair.


  1. Lee YB, Jun M, Lee WS (2019). "Alopecia areata and poliosis: A retrospective analysis of 258 cases". J Am Acad Dermatol. 80 (6): 1776–1778. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.11.033. PMID 30502419.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nalluri R, Harries M (2016) Alopecia in general medicine. Clin Med (Lond) 16 (1):74-8. DOI:10.7861/clinmedicine.16-1-74 PMID: 26833522
  3. Liu LY, King BA (2019) Response to tofacitinib therapy of eyebrows and eyelashes in alopecia areata. J Am Acad Dermatol 80 (6):1778-1779. DOI:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.11.037 PMID: 30502414
  4. Chen P, Chen F, Zhou B (2019). "The risk of dermatological toxicities of combined BRAF and MEK inhibition versus BRAF inhibition alone in melanoma patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 38 (2): 105–111. doi:10.1080/15569527.2018.1553180. PMID 30501438.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Vary JC (2015) Selected Disorders of Skin Appendages--Acne, Alopecia, Hyperhidrosis. Med Clin North Am 99 (6):1195-211. DOI:10.1016/j.mcna.2015.07.003 PMID: 26476248