Iron Deficiency and Nonscarring Alopecia in Women: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Skin Appendage Disord. 2022 Mar;8(2):83-92. doi: 10.1159/000519952. Epub 2021 Nov 19.


Background: There is no clear-cut evidence in the existing medical literature of an association between iron deficiency and nonscarring alopecia.

Objective: The objective of the study was to conduct a systematic review of the medical literature on the prevalence of iron deficiency in women with nonscarring alopecia and compare their ferritin levels with those of women without this condition.

Methods: The electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched between June 15, 2019, and July 24, 2019. Studies that evaluated the prevalence of iron deficiency in women with nonscarring alopecia and/or compared ferritin levels in women with and without this condition were entered into the meta-analysis. Thirty-six of 928 identified studies entered the systematic meta-analysis. The meta-analysis was performed using the random-effects method.

Results: The overall number of participants was 10,029. The prevalence of ferritin levels from 10 to 15 ng/dL and below was 21% (12; 29). Women with nonscarring alopecia had lower ferritin values at MD = -18.51 ng/dL (-25.85; -11.16, p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Women with hair loss can benefit from higher ferritin levels.

Keywords: Iron deficiency; Meta-analysis; Nonscarring alopecia; Systematic review.