Ring-shaped Hair Loss (also known as alopecia areata) is usually in round or oval patches on the scalp. In most cases, there are no other scalp symptoms. Occasionally, there is mild itching, tingling or a burning sensation in the affected area.
The bald patches will appear suddenly and affect on a limited area. For some people, the problem may last longer and become more severe, causing total baldness (alopecia totalis).
Genetic (inherited) factors may play a role, especially when Ring-shaped Hair Loss happens to those under the age of 30. Almost 40% of people younger than age 30 with Ring-shaped Hair Loss have at least one family member who has been diagnosed with the same hair problem.
Ring-shaped Hair Loss is probably caused by an autoimmune reaction. This is the process whereby the immune system attacks the cells in hair follicles (structures that grow hair), especially the follicles within the scalp.
Studies have shown that Ring-shaped Hair Loss could be triggered by stress. In more severe case, patches of body hair, beard, eyebrows or eyelashes may be affected. Some sufferers have also witnessed abnormalities in the surface of their fingernails (such as tiny pits or dents). Because of such factors, they may feel anxious or distressed about their appearance.