In all forms of alopecia, hair loss is frequently the only symptom, but tingling or itching may also be felt in the affected areas.
In men, a characteristic pattern of hair loss is most common. Beginning at the temples and/or top of head (toward the back), hair gradually disappears. If these two areas meet the result is complete, or almost complete, baldness.
In both cases, hair loss is permanent, though appropriate treatment may trigger hair follicles to resume hair production.
One or more small, round, bare patches on the head and/or elsewhere on the body is common. At the margin of bare patches, broken hairs, wider at the top than at the base, resembling exclamation points appear. No scarring is present. Hair follicles are not permanently damaged and remain capable of producing hair.
In most cases, hair will spontaneously regress, with hair reappearing in a year. However, people who develop the condition before adolescence, are losing hair around the edge of the scalp, have a family history of alopecia areata, or have hay fever, eczema or asthma may be more likely to suffer chronic or permanent hair loss.
In some cases, the nails of the hands or feet may be rough or stippled.