And The Winner Is…Alopecia?

Tonya V. Hall, Student Writer

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We can say there is a time in place for everything. However, disrespect can be blind to this concept. Will Smith just recently committed the ultimate sin of taking up for his wife by striking another man for poking fun at his wife’s bald head, regarding her Alopecia. What was minuscule to others has been detrimental to most. In fact, according to a 2016 HAIR+ Research Study, 75% of male clients and 81% of female clients are concerned about their current or future potential hair loss. Now picture that nightmare becoming a reality.


Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Guide to Clinical Presentations and Diagnosis – Consult QD
(Different versions of the effect of alopecia)


Alopecia areata is sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap, and may be brought on by severe stress. Alopecia can come in different forms such as Traction alopecia which can be caused by putting stress on hair through repeated instances of pulling or stretching.  Alopecia areata is a type of autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your hair follicles by mistake. Androgenic alopecia is common for women and men, it is also known as male- or female-pattern hair loss. Cicatricial alopecia is a “scarring” type of alopecia and involves inflammation that destroys hair follicles. Finally, there is Alopecia totalis, this is a form of alopecia areata that results in a total loss of hair follicles throughout the scalp. Each version has a form of baldness that has the potential to destroy your self-esteem.

I have been a hairstylist for many years. As a hairstylist I have had the unwanted pleasure of noticing a client experiencing sudden or patchy hair loss. Informing my clients this is something that cannot be fixed with oils or protein treatments, usually results in utter disappointment and embarrassment for my clients. A licensed cosmetologist always encourages clients to seek advice from a medical professional such as a dermatologist in regards to the beginning stages of alopecia; so that they might receive treatments such as laser therapy, steroid shots, and/or a form of topical immunotherapy.  

To a woman, this can be very devastating news. Women have been taught that their hair is their glory. Watching the choice to choose your own personal hairstyle and length can be stressful for many people, promoting further hair loss. That option can be limited with your own hair when Alopecia enters the scene. True, we have wigs for females and lace beard fillers for males now but when that comes off at night it’s you and your hair loss looking back at you. 

For that reason, In the words of Birdman, Founder of Cash Money Records, “put some respect” on Alopecia. It is a health issue for the scalp that warrants a lot of concern. With the advice of a medical professional, some can be corrected with treatment and some can only be directed to the nearest wig specialist. Hopefully, you are a part of the lucky group that doesn’t have to go through these unwanted feelings of irreversible damage to your scalp or have a front row seat to a loved one that is trying to stay strong and positive through this life changing experience. Kenji Miyazawa wrote, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey,” but how much fuel can one possess? So, I ask, was Will Smith wrong for lashing out when he felt his wife’s dignity was fading with each laugh, or did it feel like a slap was at least something he could do to ease the mental pain that one might feel with being ridiculed on a national platform?