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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Dec;63(6):1070-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.05.054.

Iron deficiency and diffuse nonscarring scalp alopecia in women: more pieces to the puzzle.

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University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The relationship between nonscarring scalp alopecia in women and iron deficiency continues to be a subject of debate. We review the literature regarding the relationship between iron deficiency and nonscarring scalp alopecia and describe iron-dependent genes in the hair follicle bulge region that may be affected by iron deficiency. We conclude with a description of our approach to the diagnosis and treatment of nonscarring alopecia in women with low iron stores. Limitations include published studies with small numbers of patients, different study designs, and absence of randomized, controlled treatment protocols. Additional research regarding the potential role of iron during the normal hair cycle is needed, as is a well-designed clinical trial evaluating the effect of iron supplementation in iron-deficient women with nonscarring alopecia.

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