The women of TV's hugely successful Real Housewives franchise in both the UK and the USA are as well known for their glamorous appearance as they are for their on-screen dramas. Hair plays a huge part in how these women present themselves to the world, with many owning or being the face of hair extensions brands and hair care lines.
Recently, as Real Housewives of New York mainstay Ramona Singer announced she was the latest to turn to extensions to give her extra length and volume (despite their known association with causing hair loss), her co-star, Jules Wainstein revealed that she was in fact having the opposite experience. Parting her hair, Jules exposed a coin-sized patch of hair loss, saying ""I have a hole in my head.. I have two... it's a new one - it wasn't there yesterday."
Explaining that she currently had two of these bald patches, Jules noted that she has the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata and that it comes and goes. She also wanted to point out that, having spoken openly about her long-running battle with eating disorders, this hair loss was not related to her diet.
"I have Alopecia Areata. It's hair loss the size of a dime or a quarter, it's not a nutrition thing, it's more of a stress thing. And I'm not surprised to see that I have another episode of it now because I've been going through a lot," the 35 year old mother of two young children said.
Alopecia areata presents as patchy hair loss, which can be in a single or in multiple rounded or oval spots - small or large, or a mixture of both, anywhere on the scalp. In contrast to genetic conditions such as Female Pattern Hair Loss where the hair thins gradually over time, with alopecia areata the hair fall is sudden.
In the majority of cases the hair will regrow naturally, however it can - as in Jules' case - recur at a later date. In less fortunate circumstances the condition may also progress to one of the two more severe forms of alopecia - Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis. These cause complete hair loss from the whole scalp or from head to toe, respectively and their treatment options have very low success rates.
Given Wainstein has had to cope with her father being seriously ill with pneumonia, filming the reality show and launching her own business in the past few months, all whilst going through an acrimonious divorce, it's unsurprising she believes her hair loss is stress-related.
Although little is known about the biomechanisms of alopecia areata, such as what precisely causes it, there are a range of triggers understood to bring on the condition with stress and sudden shock or trauma being some of the most common.
Whilst no cure has yet been developed, there are effective Alopecia Areata treatment courses available which can help to accelerate the regrowth process in mild to moderate cases.
At Belgravia our hair loss specialist nurses recommend appropriate high strength minoxidil formulations for each individual client, available from the centre's in-clinic pharmacies, and combines this topical treatment with a range of hair growth boosters for maximum effect.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.