Alopecia–What’s the Buzz?

Woman with Buzzed Head
Alopecia and Hair Loss

You may have heard the term Alopecia thrown around your news feed as of late.  Actor, Will Smith made headlines when he slapped Comedian, Chris Rock at the Oscar Award show. The history between Rock and Will and Jada Smith might be longer than we realize, but it came to a head when Rock made fun of a medical condition that Jada has openly discussed–Alopecia. Jada buzzed her head when she realized she was loosing her hair and she went public about the emotional ordeal.  The buzzed cut got called out as Rock inferred that she was a GI Jane. Going commando with her buzzed hair left her a vulnerable target to ridicule.    

What exactly is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a medical condition that outwardly manifests by hair loss.  There are many different types of Alopecia but all have some varying degree of hair loss–whether partially confined to the head or total body hair loss. The daily reminders of shedding hair can be thought-perseverating and some find relief in taking control of the situation by shaving or buzzing their hair.  While it is more common for men to experience Male Pattern Baldness, women are not far behind. 

Statistics For Women

According to the Mayo Clinic, “About 55 percent of women experience some hair loss by the age of 70. The most common cause is female-pattern baldness, an inherited condition. It’s characterized by gradual thinning of your hair, which may be noticeable as a widening part or a ponytail that’s less hefty than it used to be.  Female-pattern baldness typically starts with scalp hairs becoming progressively less dense. Many women first experience hair thinning and hair loss where they part their hair and on the top-central portion of the head.” Mayoclinic.org

While Alopecia tends to be more socially stigmatizing for women, both men and women alike can suffer from psychological anxieties surrounding the disease. If you have questions surrounding hair loss or are experiencing hair loss for an extended amount of time, consider consulting a dermatologist or general practice medical doctor as a first-line of communication. 

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