The medical term “Alopecia” has been trending in the news due to the confrontation between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars this year, in which Mr Rock joked about the hairstyle of Jada Pinkett Smith (Mr Smith’s wife) who has alopecia, a hair-loss condition. 

What exactly is Alopecia?

Known as hair loss, it can affect either your scalp or other areas of your body. The severity of it ranges from minor hair shedding, which can be temporary or permanent hair loss which cannot be regrown.

Types of Alopecia

There are 3 main types of alopecia affecting women today: 

  1. Androgenetic alopecia or female pattern balding is known to be the most common type of alopecia: Thinning of hair over the top and the sides of the head.
  2. Telogen effluvium: When a considerably large amount of hair falls out upon reaching the telogen phase, which could happen post-pregnancy. 
  3. Anagen effluvium: Poisoning of growing hair follicles due to medications like chemotherapy.

Causes of Alopecia

The following are key causes of Alopecia:

  1. Ageing, which women experience female pattern balding, especially after menopause
  2. Individuals who had to go through chemotherapy or were affected by other forms of medication
  3. Women who frequently tied certain hairstyles (like tight ponytails or tight braids) that pulls on the hair
  4. Individuals who had used harsh chemicals on their hair previously such as hair dyes

Effects of Alopecia on women

The condition is extremely stressful for a woman as many individuals associate their femininity with having a full head of hair.

Unlike men who have the option of shaving their heads, the idea of going bald to hide patchy hair loss is less acceptable to women.

In Ms Smith’s case, she has been open in sharing her struggles with alopecia and hair loss to raise awareness of the disease in spite of her fears. In September 2021, she officially shaved her head as she was ready to accept her hair loss and she had experienced a new sense of freedom.

It is truly admirable for her to embrace balding with confidence.

Road to Recovery

While balding can affect one’s lifestyle and confidence, there are still treatments available for hair loss.

Over-the-counter: Minoxidil (2-5% solutions), which can be found in pharmacies.

Laser hair treatments: Revage 670

Hair growth is reliant on two factors, (a) adequate bloody supply and (b) healthy follicles. The low-level laser technology in Revage 670 enhances the blood flow to stimulate the dormant hair follicles to be active in the growth phase, reducing excessive hair shedding. This will, in turn, encourage cellular and tissue regeneration, resulting in thicker and more supple hair shafts to be formed.

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