Quarantine, COVID-19 and just getting through the day has been triggering stress nationwide and realistically, the world. This year, people are experiencing a hair loss condition known as elogen effluvium, where people lose more than the natural shedding of hair that begins to show months after a stressful situation (2020, anyone?). Thankfully, more women than ever before are coming together, sharing their hair loss stories more openly and sharing hair growth solutions with one another. These leading women from the entertainment industry talk about their hair loss journeys to help you feel inspired and seen.
Jada Pinkett Smith
On an episode of her hit Facebook Watch Show, Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith spoke out about her struggle with alopecia. In May of last year, the actress admitted that she noticed she was losing “handfuls of hair” every single time she stepped into the shower. A lot of women can relate to this, and the shower is also the first place that many of us notice hair loss. She also said that was what first inspired her to cut her hair a lot shorter and why she continues to cut it. “When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen,” she said.
If you follow Selma Blair online, then you’ve also been following her journey of living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The actress has been as raw and as honest as possible with her audience about her condition and hair loss is no exception. In fact, she says that this part of living with MS doesn’t bother her at all and she’s posed for photos sans hair on several occasions. Bravo! However, she did say she wouldn’t be as calm about her eyebrows falling out we--totally get it.
The Victoria’s Secret model and fashion sensation actually suffers from trichotillomania. In an Instagram Q&A session, she admitted that the secret to her fuller brows is that she doesn’t touch them. On the other hand, she says she does pull on them due to her trichotillomania, which has caused her to have a lot of gaps that she finds herself filling in all of the time. More than 10 million people in the US alone suffer from trichotillomania, so Sampaio is definitely not alone in this.
It’s no secret that Tyra Banks has her foot in a lot of different ventures, so stress levels can be high. The model-turned-entrepreneur told the Wall Street Journal that while writing her book, Modelland, she suffered from alopecia. “I got a little alopecia from the stress,” she said. While undergoing stress, your body’s immune system essentially targets your hair follicles, which in turn causes hair loss. Once your body recovers from said stress, your hair usually grows back to normal.
The Modern Family star has undergone multiple surgeries to treat her kidney dysplasia, and has suffered from hair loss as a result. "With medications and stuff, it can make your hair fall out," she told Refinery29. She wore hair extensions to play her character, but saw a change in the natural texture of her natural, curly hair. “My hair that's growing back now is much curlier than what it used to be. It's like I'm four years old now, I guess.” she said.
Dyeing your hair can be taxing on the follicles, and you may have seen the effects yourself during the pastel color trend. Actress Keira Knightley experienced such damaging hair loss that she wore a wig for years until hers finally grew back. “I have dyed my hair virtually every color imaginable for different films. It got so bad that my hair literally began to fall out of my head!”
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that can cause patches of hair to fall out. Viola Davis experienced this herself through stress-induced hair loss. After wearing wigs, she learned to embrace her story and share it publicly. “I am telling you, I have spent so much of my life not feeling comfortable in my skin. I am just so not there anymore.”
The newest phenomenon in hair loss has been noticed in recently recovered COVID-19 patients. With support groups of women and men sharing their hair loss stories after surviving COVID-19, research has shown the source can come from a combination of stress or elevated immune molecules related to alopecia leading to a temporary lack of hair wellness.
Alyssa Milano, a COVID-19 survivor, showed the world her hair loss experience on twitter with a candid photo and the caption, “Thought I’d show you what #Covid19 does to your hair. Please take this seriously. #WearADamnMask #LongHauler.”