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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose alopecia areata based on examination of the areas of your hair loss and your symptoms. To look for further evidence, your doctor may pull gently on the hairs near the edge of the bald area to determine whether these hairs come out very easily and to inspect them for any structural abnormalities of the root or shaft. If there is still doubt as to diagnosis, a small skin biopsy of your scalp may confirm the diagnosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of skin is removed and examined in a laboratory.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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