Late-Onset Alopecia Areata: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Dermatology. 2017;233(4):289-294. doi: 10.1159/000481881. Epub 2017 Dec 7.


Background: Alopecia areata is an immune-mediated disease presenting with sudden onset of nonscarring hair loss. Onset is more common earlier in life, and little is known regarding late-onset alopecia areata.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology, clinical patterns, disease course, and outcome of late-onset alopecia areata in Israeli patients referred to a tertiary medical center.

Materials and methods: This retrospective cohort study considered patients whose disease onset occurred at age ≥50 years. Patients were recruited from among all alopecia areata patients visiting a tertiary center between January 2009 and April 2015.

Results: Of the 29 people included, 25 (86.2%) were female (female-to-male ratio, 6.2:1). There was a family history of alopecia areata in 17.2%, thyroid disease in 31%, atopic background in 6.9%, and 17/29 (58.6%) reported a significant stressful event. The most common disease pattern was patchy, and disease was mild in the majority of participants. Complete hair regrowth was observed in 82.8% of participants, and 37.9% relapsed.

Conclusion: Late-onset alopecia areata is characterized by marked female predominance, less extensive disease, and a high incidence of complete hair regrowth.

Keywords: Age of onset; Alopecia; Alopecia areata; Hair disorders; Late onset.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alopecia Areata / diagnosis
  • Alopecia Areata / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Sex Distribution