The fourth annual Alopecia Awareness seminar

American Institute of Beauty students were treated to a workshop, gaining valuable information.



ST. PETERSBURG – The fourth annual Alopecia Awareness seminar kicked off last month with two workshops designed for students at Pinellas Technical College, St. Pete campus and at American Institute of Beauty, also on their St. Pete campus.

Marlo Scott Wilson, owner of Hair It Iz Natural & Chemical Salon and the president of Alopecia Awareness Tampa Bay Association, Inc. (ATBA), has made it her mission to bring awareness to those suffering from the physical and emotional toll of losing their hair.

Wilson noticed how ashamed and embarrassed people felt once they started losing their hair and how their self-esteemed plummeted, so she wants everyone to know that if it’s caught in the early stages, many people can stop their hair loss.

So what is alopecia?  Alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system in which those afflicted can lose hair on their scalp, body, even their eyelashes and eyebrows. There are many different types of alopecia; while some have temporary shedding of hair others experience permanent baldness.

Alopecia is not contagious. It is not due to nerves. What happens is that the immune system attacks the hair follicles (structures that contain the roots of the hair), causing hair loss. This disease most often occurs in otherwise healthy people.

A cosmetologist for 26 years, Wilson has shifted focus to hair loss and hair replacement. Now she’s educating cosmetology students on how to help their clients who are suffering from the disease.

“I informed the students that they are the first point of contact. They can see when a person first starts to experience hair loss,” she said.

Wilson stressed to the students that they should be able to recognize when to change to a different hairstyle with less tension and stress on the affected area, and to know how to perform scalp manipulations.

If a client continues losing their hair, Wilson said a cosmetologist should know when it’s time to refer their clients to a dermatologist to see if fungus or bacteria under the skin is the cause for the hair loss.

A competent cosmetologist should ask questions about medications or afflictions such as thyroid disease or high blood pressure.

“A lot of cases it comes from repetition of wearing the hair the same way or having it pulled back or braided too tightly,” stated Wilson, remarking that no matter the cause, a good cosmetologist should know when to recommend a dermatologist or a trichologist, which is a hair restoration specialist.

Laser Hair and Scalp Clinic Director John Satino was on hand to talk about the different treatments that are available to people suffering with alopecia such as minoxidil treatments, low level lasers, stem cell injections or a hair transplant.

Both last year and this year, PTC donated four wigs to ATBA, which are given to those suffering with hair loss. Last year’s wigs were donated to Moffitt Cancer Center.

“We also provide wigs to persons who have no insurance or have no means to purchase a wig,” she said.

Wilson encouraged students to continue to educate themselves even after they graduate from school, and to continue to advance in their careers.

“We all are unique in our own way,” she said. “We have gifts and people will see that in you from your desire. If you eat, sleep and breathe hair and are hungry for it, it will move you further in the business.”

To contact Wilson, please call 1-855-427-4849. For more information on Laser Hair and Scalp Clinic Director John Satino, visit

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