Jada Pinkett Smith has opened up about her issues with alopecia, revealing she has started wearing a turban to cover up her hair loss. The actress said she first noticed when "handfuls of hair" came loose in the shower, and that doctors haven't been able to identify a cause for the condition.
While Jada thinks her hair loss may be stress-related, there are actually several factors which can cause alopecia. These may include an illness, weight loss or an iron deficiency along with stress or a hormonal imbalance. But just what is alopecia? And how can it be treated? We've rounded up everything you need to know.
What is alopecia?
While the average person loses between 50-100 hairs a day, alopecia is considered excessive or abnormal hair loss. There are a number of different types of alopecia which are caused by different factors, include hormonal imbalance or an autoimmune condition.
Gail Porter has been open about her experiences with alopecia
What causes alopecia?
The different types of alopecia have different causes…
Alopecia Areata is understood to be an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This can cause small, smooth bald patches on the scalp and either remain as patchy hair loss or continue until all hair on the scalp or body is lost.
Meanwhile, Androgenetic Alopecia is often referred to as 'male pattern hair loss' or 'female pattern hair loss'. It is the most common type of hair loss and is caused by a number of genetic and hormonal factors. Other types of hair loss include Scarring Alopecia, which is usually caused by complications of another condition, and Anagen Effluvium, which is widespread hair loss that is often caused by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This type of hair loss is temporary and hair should grow back a few months after chemotherapy has stopped.
Jada Pinkett Smith spoke about her issues with hair loss
What is the treatment for alopecia?
There are different treatments available for alopecia depending on what type you have. Alopecia areata is typically treated with steroid injections, although steroid creams, gels or ointments may also be prescribed. Your GP may also prescribe Finasteride, a table that works by preventing the hormone testosterone being converted to DHT, which causes the hair follicles to shrink. Studies suggest this can increase the number of hairs people have and also improve the appearance.
If you are concerned about hair loss it is important to see your GP to see if there are any underlying health conditions that may be responsible.