Alopecia Areata: Everything You Need to Know About This Hair Loss Condition

posted in: Hair Loss in Women | 1

Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has described her alopecia condition as “terrifying to deal with”

Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony, shocked viewers around the world, with many unable to quite believe what they had seen. Rock was slapped by Smith for a joke he made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, due to her alopecia condition.

Rock may not have intended to offend the Smiths, but even so, many sufferers of alopecia would have found it to be in poor taste. Alopecia is a sensitive subject for many sufferers, and is still quite a taboo topic. It is easy to see why Jada would have taken offence to Rock’s joke.

What is alopecia?

Alopecia areata is a condition whereby the immune system attacks hair follicles, thus causing the hair to fall out. The condition can occur on any part of the body, but most commonly occurs on the scalp.

Hair typically falls out in round patches, but in some cases, the hair loss is more aggressive and widespread. Most people with the condition are healthy and have no other symptoms, and for some, alopecia is only temporary. Hair can eventually grow back.

What causes alopecia?

It is believed that the person’s genetic makeup may trigger the autoimmune reaction of alopecia areata, along with a virus or a substance the person comes into contact with. Alopecia areata is an unpredictable disease. In some people, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back and remains. The severity of cases vary from person to person.

What are the types of alopecia areata?

There are three main types of alopecia. Most sufferers experience patchy hair loss, usually small circle shaped patches across the scalp.

Some suffers experience totalis hair loss, which is more severe forms of alopecia. This is when people lose all, or nearly all of their hair from the scalp.

Then, in extremely rare instances, there’s universalis hair loss, which is a type of alopecia whereby the sufferer loses nearly all their hair from the whole body; scalp, face, armpits, etc.

How can alopecia be treated?

There isn’t a cure for alopecia, however, there are some treatments on the market that can help reduce excess shedding, and help support the recovery of hair growth.

Medical treatments, such as minoxidil, should be avoided, as they can cause increased shedding phases, which is not ideal for this particular hair loss type.

Multivitamin hair supplements are good treatment options for alopecia, due to the fact that they are both safe and effective. Multivitamin hair supplements will not reverse the shedding, but they can reduce the hair fall significantly, and aid in faster recovery and regrowth of hair.

What has Jada Pinkett Smith said about her alopecia condition?

Will Smith’s wife first talked about her alopecia condition publicly on her Red Table Talk series in 2018. She said it described the condition as “terrifying to deal with”.

Pinkett Smith also described finding “handfuls of hair” in her shower. She went on to say that she then decided to cut her hair short, and sported it for the first time in July 2021.

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