DEAR DOCTOR K: I'm a man in my 40s, and I've suddenly started to lose patches of hair, but only on certain parts of my head. What's going on?
DEAR READER: What you are describing does not sound like normal baldness, which typically affects a certain part of the head, not patches of hair loss here and there. Instead, it sounds like you could have a condition called alopecia areata. This skin disorder causes hair loss, usually in small round or oval patches, most often on the scalp. The bald patches tend to appear suddenly and affect only a limited area.