•Trace elements levels in serum and hair of patients with vitiligo and alopecia areata


background: Vitiligo is the most prevalent pigmentary disorder which occurs worldwide. The etiopathogensis of vitiligo is complex, and includes genetic factors, autoimmune process, and infectious factors. Alopecia areata is a recurrent, nonscarring type of hair loss considered to be an autoimmune process. Though its etiopathology is not fully understood, there are claims that imbalance of trace elements may trigger the onset of alopecia areata.Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the levels of zinc, copper and magnesium in serum and hair of vitiligo and alopecia areata patients hopefully to gain a better understanding of the role of these trace elements in both diseases.Methods: Twenty alopecia areata patients, twenty vitiligo patients, and twenty age and sex matched controls were studied. Samples were analyzed using atomic absorption spectrophotometric methods.Results: Serum and hair zinc levels were significantly decreased in alopecia areata patients and also in vitiligo patients compared with controls. Serum and hair levels of copper and magnesium showed insignificant rise in both diseases when compared with controls.Conclusions: Copper and magnesium levels are not altered in alopecia areata or vitiligo, but decreased zinc levels may play an important role in the etiopathogensis of both diseases.