Hair loss happens to the best of us. Don’t believe that? Just ask Jada Pinkett Smith.
The actress, singer and songwriter recently opened up about her battle with alopecia, a condition that causes hair to fall out in patches. On their own, these patches are often unnoticeable, but once the patches begin to connect, as they often do, they become more visible.
In a 2018 episode of her talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith opens up about her struggle with hair loss. She describes the moment of realization as “terrifying,” explaining how she was in the shower one day when handfuls of hairs just kept coming out of her head. Her initial thought, as to be expected, was “Oh my God, am I going bald?”
She then goes on to explain how she was shaking with fear, as hair loss can be an indicator of an underlying and more serious health condition. However, after consulting with her doctor and undergoing tests, Smith still does not have a medical explanation for her hair loss. When it comes to alopecia, many find themselves in the same boat.
The Causes of Alopecia
Alopecia is the result of an abnormality in the body’s immune system response. The abnormality leads a misguided attempt of the body to “protect” itself by attacking itself. In the case of alopecia, the body attacks the hair follicles and thereby hinders normal hair formation.
Scientists don’t know for certain what causes alopecia. Some studies suggest the condition may be a side-effect of a more serious, underlying condition. Conditions that alopecia is associated with include the following:
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
However, in many cases, including Jada Pinkett’s, doctors cannot discern a cause. In these situations, health care providers suspect that stress, and possibly genetics, play a role.
Identifying and Diagnosing Alopecia
The first and most obvious sign of alopecia is patches of hair loss in well-defined spots. That said, hair loss can occur in several patterns, the most common of which is circular patterns around the head. In more extreme cases, alopecia can begin at the temporal or posterior of the scalp. If this is the case, the prognosis for hair regeneration is worse.
Diffuse alopecia areata is a more generalized form of hair loss. This type of hair loss occurs over longer periods and is characterized by a dramatic thinning. Occasionally, the condition can result in complete or almost-complete hair loss on the scalp. This latter condition is called alopecia totalis.
In rare instances, hair loss can occur over the entire body. This is referred to as alopecia universalis.
In most cases, a doctor can diagnose alopecia after performing a brief visual inspection. However, in some cases, a doctor may need to perform a biopsy of the scalp to confirm the diagnosis.
The course of alopecia is highly unpredictable and different for everyone. For some people, the condition goes into remission and hair regrows with little assistance. For others, however — especially those who experience hair loss for longer periods — the hair is far less likely to regrow spontaneously. For all types of cases, there are a variety of treatments available.
Topical treatments and stimulating shampoos such as Revita hair products and Spectral.DNC-N utilize advanced technologies for hair regrowth and can help to not only stop but also reverse the symptoms of alopecia. Revita tablets fortify hair follicles from the inside out and help to reduce fallout. Other treatment options may include steroidal injections and oral systematic steroids.
Putting Hair Loss Into Perspective
Though no one wishes for hair loss, the grace with which Jada Pinkett Smith handles and talks about it brings some much-needed perspective to the issue. She refers to people with cancer and sick children and says that, when she looked at her hair loss from that perspective, it really settled her.
As a result of the physical changes, she says she’s begun to wrap her head in a turban. Instead of highlight what she’s missing, however, she says that the turban “makes [her] feel like a queen.”
If you can take anything from Pinkett Smith’s story, it’s this: Hair loss affects everyone, it’s not the end of the world (far from it, in fact) and, with a bit of creativity and personal flair, there are ways to rock your new look with the sophistication of an A-lister or even royalty. Of course, you shouldn’t forego treatment altogether. If you experience alopecia, shop our hair health products today.