The Rapunzel Foundation

Hair Loss



Alopecia areata is a common disease that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches. It occurs in males and females of all ages. Aloepcia areata can develop into either alopecia totalis (loss of all hair on head) or universalis (loss of all hair, both body and head).


Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that targets the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. This disease effects over 2% of the population.

Alopecia does not discriminate, this disease can affect anyone at any age and there is no cure, often times there is only painful ineffective treatments that only treat the symptoms but not the disease.

Alopecia can result in patchy bald areas known as Alopecia Areata,

Total Scalp Hair Loss known as Alopecia Totalis

Complete hair loss on all the body known as Alopecia Universalis.

Many people that have this disease live their lives in shame and hiding.

Only with awareness and education can those living with this disease step out from the shame.

Some other types of hair loss include Androgenetic Alopecia, Anagen Effluvium (hair loss due to chemicals or radiation), Self induced hair loss, Telogen Effluvium (sudden or severe stress related hair loss), Scarring Alopecia.


Hair loss creates daily life issues, especially for children who experience social stigma. It affects their quality of life and can lead to long-term psychosocial impact.

People who have alopecia areata and their family members often experience a variety of feelings and frustrations.
Reactions to the disease include the following:

  • Feeling alone, isolated and withdrawn
  • Feelings of loss and grief
  • Fear that others may find out you have the disease / wear a wig
  • Sadness and depression
  • No Hope
  • Anger
  • Embarrassment
  • Guilt or self-blame that you somehow brought the disease on yourself and how it is affecting your family and loved ones

Useful websites

  • Frantic in regard to searching for an answer or cure (going to extremes)
  • For parents, guilt that they may have genetically contributed to their child’s disease
  • For parents, helplessness that they cannot stop the disease or help ease their child’s pain
  • For siblings and other family members, shame and anger because the disease has also affected their lives