The term “Alopecia” has been trending since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in response to Mr. Rock’s comment about Jada PinkettSmith’s hair style at the recent Academy Awards Ceremony. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss of which there are many different types and causes. It’s been reported that Ms. Smith has alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition where cells in the body attack hair follicles which then fall out. Most often, a patient has one or several round patches of hair loss on the scalp without symptoms. Sometimes the beard, eyebrows and eyelashes are affected. It’s unusual for loss of all scalp hair to occur (alopecia totalis) and very rarely, all body hair (alopecia universalis). Hair can spontaneously regrow in this condition.
The most common treatment is steroid injections into the patches to stimulate new growth. Topical steroid solutions and Minoxidil (Rogaine and others) may also be used. For patients with more extensive hair loss, oral medications might be considered. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss. It often occurs in families, affects both men and women, and is due to a gradual loss of hair follicles. It commonly has a pattern and is also referred to as pattern alopecia. Various topical and oral medications and hair restoration surgery are effective treatments for this condition. In recent years, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections have also been used (see our June 2021 blog).
If you have concerns about hair loss, schedule a consultation with your dermatologist by calling (310) 626-4631.