Frictional alopecia

Frictional alopecia is the loss of hair that is caused by rubbing of the hair, follicles, or skin around the follicle.[1] The most notorious example of this is the loss of ankle hair among people who wear socks constantly for years.[2] The hair may not grow back even years after the source of friction has ended.


Hair loss on men's legs went largely undiagnosed, but is now thought to be quite common.[3] While the overall causes are still being explored, the primary culprit is currently thought to be friction from socks and footwear.[4] There is some debate as to what proportion is caused by friction, and what by androgen deficiency, minor vascular disease, rash of various causes, or thyroid deficiency.[5]


Aside from ankle hair loss often blamed on sock use, frictional alopecia is seen in dogs and cats. Cats can suffer from hair loss from the friction of their collar,[6] and oversexed dogs are sometimes known to develop hair loss from the rubbing of their compulsive activities.[7]


  1. Olberding, Matt. "What Causes Hair to Fall Off Your Legs?".
  2. Jakhar, Deepak; Kaur, Ishmeet (2 October 2018). "Frictional (Sock) Alopecia of the Legs: Trichoscopy as an Aid". International Journal of Trichology. 10 (3): 129–130. doi:10.4103/ijt.ijt_96_17. PMC 6029005. PMID 30034193.
  3. Wei Siah, Tee; J Harries, Matthew (1 April 2014). "Anterolateral Leg Alopecia: Common but Commonly Ignored". International Journal of Trichology. 6 (2): 75–6. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.138595. PMC 4154156. PMID 25191043 via ResearchGate.
  4. Zhao, Johnny; Cohen, Philip R. (15 August 2016). "Frictional alopecia of the distal legs: case series and review". Dermatology Online Journal. 22 (8). PMID 27617943.
  5. "Hair loss on Legs: Causes and Studies".
  6. "collar frictional alopecia".
  7. DVM, Ross D. Clark (5 September 2017). Medical, Genetic and Behavioral Risk Factors of the Herding Breeds. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781524584733 via Google Books.
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