Actress Ashley Tisdale has been speaking out about her recent journey with hair loss. The "High School Musical" alumni took to her Instagram this week and revealed that she's been diagnosed with the a genetic condition known as alopecia.
'Alopecia and hair loss are fairly common, but a lot of people feel embarrassed to talk about these issues. That's why I want to talk about it openly — because it's nothing to be ashamed of.' Tisdale said in an Instagram post.
Tisdale isn't the first to get candid about living with hair loss. Both Rochelle Humes and Ashley Graham have revealed they've dealt with postpartum hair loss in the past, while Viola Davis and Jada Pinkett-Smith have also talked openly about their relationship with alopecia.
If you're wondering 'what is alopecia?' leading Hair Transplant Surgeon, Dr Furqan Raja, explains that it's ‘an autoimmune condition that stops the body from recognising its own hair follicles and attacks them'.
37 year old Tisdale explained that a dermatologist diagnosed her with alopecia shortly after the actress spotted a bald spot at the front of her head in her early twenties. She also added that her condition is the result of stress. 'Sometimes it’s connected to hormones, other times to heredity, and for me, it’s connected to stress overload.'
Dr Raja says that 'stress raises androgen levels which in turn can directly cause hair loss. Stress can also give rise to a number of other issues such as scalp problems (i.e. dandruff) and change eating habits which in turn can impact the hair,’ he explains.
If you're struggling with stress and feel like its effecting your hair then Dr Raja advises that the best course of action is to try to eat a balanced diet and eat regularly.
'Foods that release their energy slowly, like complex carbohydrates, help avoid sudden crashes and eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds will help you achieve daily levels of the B Vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium that have been shown to help control anxiety and stress'.
Exercise and meditation as well as adequate sleep is vital to reducing stress. See a doctor if you’re struggling with stress and are finding it difficult to cope,’ he adds.
As for whether your hair can make a comeback this is dependent on the individual. 'Sometimes people with alopecia do see their hair grow back,' says Dr Raja and indeed Tisdale added that in her experience, her 'hair grew back and it always does, thankfully, but there's been a couple times in my life where I've had very stressful events and have noticed that [alopecia] will come back.'
Dr Raja adds that the good news is that there are various treatment options available. 'We can prescribe medicine and non-surgical treatments, like corticosteroid injections to stimulate hair growth, mesotherapy where active ingredients are injected directly into the mesoderm (middle layer) of the skin of the scalp, or PRP therapy,’.
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