Alopecia in Marin County

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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.

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!

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.