Do patients with Alopecia Areata have different COVID 19 outcomes? — Donovan Hair Clinic

A new study set out to investigate whether patients with alopecia areata were more likely to be infected with COVID 19 or be hospitalized or die from infection. The data overall was reassuring and suggested that this was not the case.

It is know from other studies in the published COVID 19 literature that certain patient groups are more likely to have severe disease after infection including male patients, certain minorities, and those with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Yale et al, 2022

A study from the University of California set out to investigate rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality in AA patients.

Data from five UC hospitals (n = 447,476), was analyzed over the period March 2020 to February 2021. Patient demographics, COVID-19 PCR results, alopecia diagnoses, and co-morbidities (asthma, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity), hospitalization and death within 30 days of testing were recorded by the authors.

COVID Infection Rates Among Patients with Alopecia Areata

Data showed that a total of 1,163 AA patients were tested for COVID-19, with 88 (7.6%) found to be positive. This rate was similar rate to those without AA. Of the positive AA patients, 65% (n = 57) were women, with similar infection rates between genders (7.3% vs 7.7%. P = 0.8031). Hispanic patients with alopecia areata were found to have a higher rate of infection compared to non-Hispanic patients with AA. (12.5% vs 6.0% P = 0.0007). The authors pointed out that hispanic patients without AA also had a higher rate of infection compared to non-Hispanic patients without AA. (13.3% vs 4.7% P < 0.00001).

Hospitalization Rates Among COVID Positive Alopecia Areata Patients

Having a diagnosis of alopecia areata did not increase the chance of hospitalization. Overall, few patients with AA had COVID-19 hospitalizations (n = 7), with rates comparable to that of non-AA patients (8.0% vs 13.8%, P = 0.5512). AA patients with hypertension experienced higher rates of hospitalization compared to AA patients without hypertension (21.1% vs 4.35%, P = 0.0366).

Deaths Among COVID Positive Alopecia Areata Patients

There were no deaths among AA patients within 1 month of having a positive COVID-19 test result


Overall, the authors concluded that AA patients had fairly similar outcomes compared to non-AA patients and did not seem to be at any increased risk of COVID-19 infection or hospitalization during the past year of the pandemic. This is reassuring information. The study did not specifically address whether treatments patients were on altered the chances of testing positive or being hospitalized.


Yale K et al. A year in review: A cross-sectional study of alopecia areata and risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality from March 2020 – February 2021 Int J Dermatol . 2022 Mar;61(3):e81-e83.

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