Will I get Alopicia If I Have Vitiligo
I had vitiligo, but now seem to have developed alopecia areata, and am losing the hair on some of my vitiligo patches. Is it common to have both conditions on the same location? Will the hair grow back??
Answer: Both alopecia areata (AA) and vitiligo are autoimmune diseases, and their coexistence in the same patient is not uncommon.
VSI reached out to Richard Spritz, M.D., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, regarding the incidence of the two coexisting. He replied, “Our epidemiologic data show no apparent increase in prevalence of alopecia areata among patients with vitiligo. However, it has been reported that the prevalence of vitiligo is considerably increased among patients with alopecia. Those, together, with the fact that the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease is increased in both conditions, suggest they do share some genes in common but not others.”
According to one Indian study, vitiligo has been reported to occur in 4.1% of patients with AA, (and is also said to occur about 4 times more often in patients with AA than in the general population). However, those who experience “colocalization” (when the two conditions overlap on the same area) is far less common. Because both conditions are also associated with autoimmune thyroid disease, thyroid testing is recommended for these patients.
According to Nanette Silverberg, M.D., of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt and Beth Israel Medical Centers, NY, when the hair re-grows, it may come in as white or gray. Occasionally, but not always, the hair will in time return to its natural color.
According to Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D. of Henry Ford Medical Center, intralesional steroid injections can help both conditions.
Editors note: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicle, causing the hair to fall out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter.??*Please see “Paid Study in Detroit” below in “Research and Clinical Trials” for an opportunity to participate in an intralesional steroid clinical trial.