Regardless of fame or fortune, hair loss
is a great leveller which can affect anyone. From the footballer Wayne Rooney
to supermodel Naomi Campbell
, celebrities have shared their relatable tales about losing their hair in the hope of normalising the issue and making it less scary for others.
Gotham star, Jada Pinkett-Smith is the latest to give a candid interview explaining how she has been wearing turbans to hide her hairloss from Alopecia Areata
Found hair loss '"terrifying"
During the 'Body Confessions!" episode of her Facebook video series, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith opened up about her experience to her mother, Adrienne, and daughter, 'Whip My Hair' singer, Willow Smith.
"It's not easy to talk about... I've been getting a lot of questions about why I've been wearing this turban - well, I've been having issues with hair loss
," admitted the 46 year old. "It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was like "Oh my God am I going bald?" It was one of those times in my life when I was just shaking with fear.
Pinkett Smith discusses how she has always taken pride in her thick hair that many people assumed to be weaves
, "My hair has been a big part of me, taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual - and having the choice to have hair or not, and then one day I might not have that choice..
"That's why I cut my hair and why I continue to cut it,"
says Jada Pinkett Smith, acknowledging the short, asymmetric haircut she adopted in January 2018 which gained media attention.
She also notes that wearing her hair in a turban makes her feel "like a queen"
and demonstrates various different ways in which to tie a turban during the video
Cause of her alopecia
Explaining the lack of reasoning behind her hair loss, the actor and producer says, "I've gotten every kind of test there is to have - they don't know why. People say stress, people say 'oh you have stress, you do have Alopecia'."
This is one of the aspects of Alopecia Areata that those affected can find truly frustrating as, whilst a number of triggers have been identified, the actual cause of this autoimmune disorder has not yet been established. It occurs due to a disruption in the hair growth cycle which causes follicles to become stuck in the dormant, resting phase. Whilst many cases resolve themselves naturally within 12 months, if or when this will happen cannot be predicted and cases may recur.
Sudden shock, trauma and intense stress
- as well as allergies, hormones and a suspected genetic element - are all known to lead to this form of patchy hair loss which can appear anywhere on the scalp. Whilst still incredibly troubling for many, not least because of its sudden onset and highly visible nature, this is actually the most mild form of autoimmune alopecia
The two more extreme forms, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis
- which Pinkett Smith's Gotham co-star Anthony Carrigan
has - involve developing total baldness of the head and from head to toe, respectively.
Whilst these cannot currently be treated, Alopecia Areata treatment
is available for the scalp-only form. At Belgravia this involves the use of a topical solution
, which is often paired with various hair growth supporting
products, and is used until the hair recovers.
In a video thanking her supporters for their empathy and treatment suggestions posted to her Instagram account, Jada Pinkett Smith says she is currently having steroid injections
but exploring other options.
Without diminishing from the effects it has on her, the Smith family matriarch says she has found comfort in looking at the bigger picture, and the worse things that can and do happen to people. "When I looked at it from that perspective it really did settle me.