Background: Alopecia areata (AA) shows several well-defined dermoscopic features which may help in confirming diagnosis in AA.
Aims: We carried out a study to examine the dermoscopic features of AA and develop a protocol for diagnosis of AA by dermoscopy.
Materials and methods: Dermoscopy was performed in 66 patients with AA. Hanse HVS-500NP dermoscope (magnification of ×32 and ×140) was used.
Results: The mean age of the patients (46 males and 20 females) was 26.85 years. The mean age of onset was 25.15 years. The mean duration of alopecia was 10.3 months. Most common AA in our study was patchy type (57/66, 87.7%). Single patch was seen in 24 patients and multiple patches in 33 patients. Diffuse AA was seen in five patients. Ophiasis and alopecia universalis were seen in two patients each. Nail changes were fine pitting (4), ridging (2), thinning of nail plate (2). Twenty nail dystrophy, distal onycholysis, striate leukonychia and coarse pitting were seen in one patient each. Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide was the most common therapy offered. Others were oral betamethasone minipulse therapy, dexamethasone pulse, minoxidil, anthralin and corticosteroids. The most common dermoscopic finding was yellow dots seen in 54 patients (81.8%), followed by black dots (44 patients, 66.6%), broken hairs (36 patients, 55.4%), short vellus hair (27 patients, 40.9%) and tapering hairs (8 patients, 12.1%).
Conclusions: The most common dermoscopic finding of AA in our study was yellow dots, followed by black dots, broken hairs, short vellus hair and tapering hairs. Dermoscopic findings were not affected by the type of AA or the severity of the disease.
Keywords: Alopecia areata; black dots; dermoscopy; tapering hair; yellow dots.