Jada Pinkett Smith's Alopecia Areata: A Take From Hair Experts

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Many of you have asked me to comment about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair and type of hair loss. This is neither a take on recent news or my commentary on that. This is about her hair condition that has recently been spotlighted in the news.

Jada Pinkett Smith came out earlier and talked about her having alopecia areata. She showed a video of herself on her social media platform and demonstrated a linear loss of hair and described as having alopecia areata. Let's unpack Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss.

So to begin with, Jada Pinkett Smith may or may not have alopecia areata. The area she was pointing to though, which shows a linear loss of hair, is very atypical for alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is almost classically going to be a circular or round loss of hair. And that's because it is an immunologic response where the body attacks its own hair. As many of you know, I have a daughter with alopecia areata. My daughter had this, and still has this, where she gets patchy losses of hair.

Oftentimes, alopecia areata is induced by stress and it is very treatable. It can be treated with injections of kenalog or 5-FU topical steroids. For some patients, they can have more extensive hair loss. And these can be more extreme like alopecia universalis or alopecia totalis. And so these are harder to treat, sometimes impossible to treat, areas with hair loss. Some solutions for these patients include using hair transplant, scalp micro-pigmentation and other solutions to conceal hair loss. For example, Charlie Villanueva, a famous basketball player with alopecia areata, has a more extreme form of this. He just basically has no hair and that's how he rolls and he looks amazing that way.

This does not mean that Jada Pinkett Smith does not have alopecia areata. The area she pointed to probably is not alopecia areata. She may have suffered alopecia areata in her past. And maybe she herself looked at this area and said, “Here's another area.” The question might be, “why does she have hair loss in this area?”

To me, it looks very suspiciously like a scar. This could have been a result of some trauma or some sort of surgical procedure. Oftentimes, with brow lift procedures will make an incision up through there. Although those are usually separate, smaller incisions, it could have been with a coronal brow lift. But again, you see a little bit more length to the sides of that to look at the level portions of this. But whether this was surgery, whether this was a trauma, or whether this is, in fact, a really atypical version of alopecia areata, it is typical to assess. If I were her doctor, which I’m not, the best way to tell is to use something called trichoscopy. This is where you can look closer at the hairs themselves through a camera and determine what the hair loss looks like on a microscopic level.

There's some pretty classic signs of alopecia areata when looking with trichoscopy versus other types of hair loss. Other types of hair loss that she may be suffering from include alopecia as a result from just kind of female related hair loss. and then just also alopecia androgenetica, which is male pattern hair loss but is also very common in women, as well.

When looking at her hair loss, it also looks like she has some recession along her temples, which is very common with patients who wear tightly woven hair or braids. This is called traction alopecia, another form of hair loss.

While I’m not treating Jada Pinkett Smith, what would I do if I were? First of all, it appears with her head shaved that she still does have lots of hair there. So, I think we would try to see if we could keep her existing hair and consider going on a profile like Nutrafol to actually make sure this can help combat some of the stress. Obviously, being a high profile celebrity and married to a high profile actor, they probably have levels of stress that none of us can comprehend. Nutrafol has natural ingredients like ashwagandha, turmeric and other things that would help battle against stress. In turn, can help with hair loss, which is one of the stronger factors in women. It also has a hormonal component which can help if there is a hormonal component with her hair loss.

And depending on Jada Pinkett Smith's age, which she's above the age of 50, she may have more of an androgenic component with her hair loss. Furthermore, I'd recommend regenerative medicine such as PRP or exosomes, to improve her existing hairs. Both of these are injections, which she'd want to do anywhere from four to 10 treatments. And finally, for the area that looks like a linear scar, she could consider scalp micro-pigmentation of this area or the scar.

I believe LeBron James had a scar on the side of his head indicative of an attempted hair transplant. It's not as prominent now and most likely had scalp micropigmentation over that area. So, he's been pointed in the right direction. I think for Jada that might help conceal the scar. If it's something she's conscious of.

So all great options for her. And I think she looks amazing with and without hair and whatever hairstyle she likes.