5 things to know about alopecia areata

Alopecia means hair loss.

Jada is believed to have alopecia [Instagram/Jada]

With the news of Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss spreading fast, it is important to know what alopecia is about.

Alopecia areata is a skin condition that causes hair loss. Suddenly, a person notices that there are bald patches on their hair and in some cases in other parts of their body.

It is caused by white blood cells attacking hair follicles and reducing the rate at which hair is produced. There is no scientific reason why this happens.

However, alopecia is a genetic disease. 20% of people who have alopecia do because a family member had it.

Statistically, 1 out of 50 people will experience alopecia or hair loss and it occurs among men and women equally.

Alopecia can happen at any age, but most people experience it at the age of 30.

It is not deadly or life-threatening and does not cause physical pain. The only effect it might have might be psychological as many people equate hair with beauty.

In case a person experiences loss of hair in their nose or eyelashes, it might make them more susceptible to eye and nose irritation.

Losing your hair might be devastating, but you can still look good bald or resort to wearing a wig. There is no cure for alopecia, but certain things can stimulate hair growth like anti-inflammatory drugs that suppress the immune system. They may be in the form of injections, ointment to be applied topically, drugs like Minoxidil and Anthralin.

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