Alopecia areata (AA) is a common skin disease that is frequently emotionally devastating. Several studies have examined the effect of AA on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We performed a systematic review of all published studies of HRQoL in patients with AA. Eleven studies met inclusion criteria, incorporating data from 1986 patients. Patients with AA consistently demonstrate poor HRQoL scores, with greater extent of scalp involvement associated with lower HRQoL. HRQoL experienced by patients with AA is similar to that seen in patients with other chronic skin diseases including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.