What Is Alopecia?
Alopecia areata is a medical condition that causes a person's hair to fall out in small, circular patches about the size of a quarter. It is most usually associated with hair loss from the scalp, or balding, but it can occur anywhere on the body. About 5% of patients develop alopecia totalis, which means losing all of the hair from the scalp. Alopecia is a genetic skin condition causing a gradual process of baldness, but it might start to appear as early as puberty for both women and men. It is very common, affecting around seven million people in the U.S. and will probably impact you or somebody you know at some point.
If you suspect you may have alopecia, schedule a consultation at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera, in Marin. Board-certified dermatologist Tracy Evans and her colleagues offer a number of effective solutions for women and men experiencing alopecia-related hair loss. With the right treatment, you could slow or arrest your hair loss and even see healthy new hair growth.
"Friendly, efficient and competent! I have been coming here for 3 years and have had serious dermatologic work and diagnostics and a cosmetic procedure . I have every confidence in the expertise of Dr.Evans and her staff."- C.M. / Google / Nov 11, 2020
"Friendly, efficient and competent! I have been coming here for 3 years and have had serious dermatologic work and a cosmetic procedure. I have every confidence in the expertise of Dr.Evans and her staff."- C.M. / Google / Nov 03, 2020
"I highly, highly recommend Dr. Evans as a doctor for skin cancer. She really knows her stuff and is trained in Mohs surgery (not many dermatologists are!). I really appreciate that she uses the latest technology to keep track of any spots on your skin and has a suspicious eye. I have had doctors in the past who did a quick skin check and literally missed the mark. I can’t really speak to the more cosmetic aspects of her practice, but I do not like how products are offered to me at the end of my appointment. Without being upfront about their cost or the fact that products are not returnable, Dr Evans’ assistant will present the products she recommends I purchase at the end of my appointment. (There is a small sign by the register about the return policy.) I know that these are vetted products and they must help her practice thrive, but I wish I could be offered either a drugstore alternative or a pharmacy prescription option. I’m sure the cost is not an issue for many of her patients, but it is for me and I am simply not able to do what she recommends as far as products are concerned. However, I find her to be so incredibly smart and trustworthy when it comes to skin cancer that I can simply overlook this part of the appointment."- E.R. / Yelp / Aug 18, 2020
"Today was my first time visiting Pacific Skin in Corte Madera. From the moment I arrived, it was an experience of friendliness and professionalism...both of the receptionists welcomed me so kindly, the medical assistant was very pleasant...and when Krystal Shin, my dermatologist came in, I felt I was in the BEST hands. She was so kind, informative, and professional. Even though I wasn’t feeling the best, they made me comfortable and confident that I would be just fine. I am so happy I found Pacific Skin. Thank you for a great experience!"- C.C. / Yelp / Jun 29, 2020
"An amazing staff working with a cutting edge doctor make up this team of talented artists. I feel lucky to be a client each time."- M.D. / Google / May 29, 2020
What Causes Alopecia?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system destroys your hair follicles, causing a rapid or gradual reduction in hair. It is believed to have a genetic component, or to be hereditary, as about 1/5 of people who have the condition have a relative or relatives who have also experienced it. Some studies have linked alopecia areata to other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, vitiligo, and rheumatoid arthritis, but the treatment of these conditions does not affect the symptoms of alopecia. There is also a common belief that stress can trigger alopecia, though there is no science to fully support this idea.
What Are the Main Symptoms of alopecia?
The primary symptom of alopecia is balding. The hair generally falls out in little patches on the head that are usually a few centimeters or smaller in size. You may initially find locks of hair on your bed sheets and pillows or in your shower drain. However, hair loss can also happen in different areas of your body. The balding that occurs with alopecia is inconsistent – it can be rapid or gradual, in very small spots or larger spots. The hair can grow back at any given time and stay healthy, or it could drop out again. The degree of hair loss and growth varies considerably from one person to another. It is important to note that other kinds of health conditions may also cause your hair to fall out in a similar way so baldness alone should not be used to diagnose this condition. If you think you may have alopecia, it is important to see a dermatologist who can diagnose the condition or send a follicle sample for lab testing.
What Are My Alopecia Treatment Options?
Based upon the degree and seriousness of the hair loss, different solutions are available. The most common and effective treatments for alopecia are corticosteroids and different types of immunotherapy. Corticosteroids work as anti-inflammatory medications for the immune system and can be administered with injections or as topical solutions. Immunotherapy options are typically topical creams or lotions that work by producing a reaction similar to that of allergy shots, causing your immune system to react differently to its perceived "threat."
Diagnose, then Treat
At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology, we know the frustration, confusion, and humiliation that might accompany sudden hair loss. We've made it our goal to not just improve your appearance but to help you understand why you're losing your hair and what we can do to possibly prevent further progression. If you're experiencing unexplained bald patches or suspect you have alopecia, contact us at our Corte Madera, CA office to schedule your visit. We are excited to meet with you!