It used to be an embarrassing reality for most people but thanks to women with large platforms, starting with Ayanna Pressley, the alopecia conversation has gained a spotlight. So, what is alopecia anyway?
The short technical answer is alopecia is the sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap. It happens when the immune system attacks hair follicles. It may be brought on by severe stress which results in hair loss. Although there are treatments like immune suppressing drugs there is no cure for alopecia.
Types of Alopecia
Although there are subsets, here are the three major categories of Alopcecia.
- Alopecia Areata, the most commonly known it refers to bald patches or spots on the scalp.
- Alopecia Totalis affects the whole head including eye lashes and eyebrows.
- Alopecia Universalis, the rarest most severe of the three, results in hair loss all over the body.
There’s also a completely avoidable fourth type known all too well in the Black community – traction alopecia. Harsh styling methods like too tight braids and weaves can bring on traction alopecia. I know this all too well having been affected by it due to a well meaning neighbor. I used to have my hair braided as a teenager. Her styles were dope, her technique not so much.
Coping with hair loss
Facing hair loss in any form can be traumatic. We at Coils to Locs definitely know. There’s chemo hair loss in my sister’s case a few years ago and my ongoing self-consciousness about my traction alopecia. Coils to Locs was born out of that pain. It’s our mission to bring options to people suffering all types of hair loss.
Now you know a little bit more about alopecia. If you’re experiencing any type of hair loss know that there is help and there are options. Whether you plan on donning a natural looking wig or plan to rock it bald like alopecia sufferer Jada Pinkett-Smith, the spotlight no longer has to be an embarrassing one.
To find out more about alopecia, hair loss in general and to access resources check out The Invisible Toll of Hair Loss and Alopecia.