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Hair loss in women: Celebrities speak of the pain of going bald

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Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

  • Hair loss in women is a touchy subject, but in recent years more and more celebrities have started talking about it openly.
  • The topic has quickly entered the public consciousness after Will Smith punched comedian Chris Rock for joking at the Oscars that Pinkett Smith had no hair.
  • Celebrities like Jada and Viola Davis have spoken out about their struggles with hair loss and the emotional roller coaster that comes with it.

Jada Pinkett Smith and other celebrities who have spoken out about their feelings say female hair loss is painful, frustrating and embarrassing.

The topic has quickly entered the public consciousness after Will Smith punched comedian Chris Rock for joking at the Oscars that Pinkett Smith had no hair.

Pinkett Smith first spoke publicly in 2018 about her diagnosis of alopecia, a medical term for hair loss.

“It was those moments in my life where I was literally shaking with fear,” the actress-director said on her online show “Red Table Talk.”

“That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, my God. Am I going to be bald?'”

READ MORE | Jada Pinkett Smith Opens Up About Hair Loss, Says She Wants To Be Friends With Hair Loss

Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who made her diagnosis public in 2020, posted on Twitter on Monday.

“Let’s talk about what it’s like to live with #alopecia,” she posted. “Our family has seen an extremely vulnerable and difficult time. Thank you to those who held us down and supported us when we were at our lowest point. They totally saw us.”

As Hollywood strikes a healthier balance between female beauty ideals and real life, more and more actresses are starting to talk about the effects of hair loss — due to stress, hormonal changes after childbirth, and even Covid-19.

“It’s disgraceful, but it’s true: I need to take longer showers so I can collect my shed hair and throw it away so I don’t clog the drain. Why don’t actresses ever talk about this? ‘ Selma Blair told PEOPLE after giving birth in 2011.

Alyssa Milano says she lost her hair after contracting the coronavirus, which she says has affected her entire sense of self.

“It’s hard, especially when you’re an actor and most of your identity is wrapped in those things, like long silky hair and clean skin.”

ALSO READ | ‘Hair loss won’t change who I am as a woman’ – Gail Mabalane talks to us about hair loss

Actress Ricki Lake wrote on Instagram in 2020 that she has struggled with hair loss her whole life.

“It made me feel weak, embarrassed, miserable, scary, depressed, lonely, everything. I even felt suicidal a few times.”

Oscar winner Viola Davis said she had tried to cover up the effects of hair loss with a wig.

“I wore a wig around the house. I wore a wig to an event. I wore a wig to exercise,” she told an interviewer.

“I’ve never shown my natural hair…I’m so desperate for people to think I’m beautiful.”

Davis has been more open to the subject over the past decade, even including it in the series How to get away with murderwhen her character, a strong-willed lawyer and teacher, took off her wig to reveal her very short hair.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) on Monday called for more people to learn about the condition.

It said alopecia areata, a specific type of baldness caused by an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in frequent clumps, affects about 7 million people in the United States and about 147 million people worldwide.

“This can be unpredictable and result in severe physical, emotional/mental health, psychosocial and economic burdens — and there is no cure, effective treatment, or standard of care,” NAAF said.

“Alopecia areata is not discriminatory and can affect anyone at any age and can be a temporary or lifelong condition. Many people living with this condition are suffering and we must do a better job of supporting this community and eliminating stigma, discrimination and persistence social barriers that exist.”

Read more | Forget Will Smith, Chris Rock’s repeated insults to Jada Pinkett Smith have nothing to say

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