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What is alopecia? Jada Pinkett Smith's condition explored after 'GI Jane 2' joke

Lottie O'Neill March 28, 2022
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Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the Oscars has stunned fans from all walks of life. The King Richard star stormed the stage after the comedian made a dig towards Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head as the star battles alopecia.

What is alopecia?

Alopecia refers to hair loss, which can affect the scalp or a patient’s entire body. The loss of hair may be temporary or in some cases, permanent. It’s not always clear why someone may be suffering from alopecia as it can depend on a variety of factors from medical conditions or ageing.

What are the causes of alopecia?

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Each person who has been diagnosed with alopecia may have a different cause of the condition. One person’s hair loss may down to hormonal changes whereas another may realise it stems from a medical condition. Although in some cases, doctors are not always definitive in the reason behind it.

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What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is one of the three main types of the condition. The other two types are alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. Alopecia areata is one of the most commonly reported types and relates to bald spots or patches on the scalp.

Whereas alopecia totalis affects the entire head, including eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s considered a more advanced stage of the first. Around 1 to 2% of alopecia areata cases progress to alopecia totalis.

Alopecia universalis, referring to hair loss over the entire body, is the most severe form of the condition. It’s rarer than the first two conditions and typically affects 1 in 100,000 people.

Who can suffer from alopecia?

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Anyone can suffer from alopecia and be diagnosed with the condition. It can affect any person or any age, although it’s more comment in men, writes the Mayo Clinic.

If a patient is concerned they may suffer from alopecia, they may start to notice sudden or patchy hair loss. The hair loss is usually more than the normal amount they see when brushing or washing the hair. If anyone is concerned, they should talk to their doctor.

Why is Jada Pinkett Smith bald?

Will Smith’s wife Jada has previously spoken out over her condition and losing her hair. The mum-of-two first mentioned the condition on her Red Table Talk show series back in 2018. She called it “terrifying” when she first noticed she was losing her hair.

Jada said: “It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh my god, am I going bald?'”

She added: “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it… My hair has been a big part of me. Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual and having the choice to have hair or not. And then one day to be like, ‘Oh my god, I might not have that choice anymore.'”

What did Chris Rock say about Jada Smith’s condition?

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The confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock began at the Oscars on Sunday night. The comedian poked fun at Jada by saying he was excited to see GI Jane 2. He was making reference to the Demi Moore movie where the actor shaved her head for the role.

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Lottie is the Head of Audience for Entertainment and Gaming, working with the teams on HITC, Reality Titbit, The Focus and Freshered. She is passionate about news being accessible to everyone, and focuses on bringing audiences quality content that they enjoy. She loves the art of storytelling, whether that be news, movies or heavy hardback fiction.