After “the slap” at this year’s Academy Awards, the topic of alopecia suddenly was thrust into the national spotlight. As many as 6.8 million people in the United States and 147 million people worldwide are affected by alopecia, a common autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes other areas of the body, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. There is no cure.
People of all ages, both sexes and all ethnic groups can develop alopecia areata, but it is more common among African Americans, studies have shown. It often first appears during childhood and can be different for everyone who has it. The most common forms are alopecia areata patchy (one or more coin-sized hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body), alopecia totalis (total loss of the hair on the scalp), and alopecia universalis (complete loss of hair on the scalp, face and body).
Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of actor Will Smith, suffers from alopecia and recently did a weeklong series on her “Red Table Talk” show dedicated to alopecia and its effects on individuals. Enquirer Opinion & Engagement Editor Kevin Aldridge and his wife, Nichole, were invited to share their journey on an episode of the talk show.
Today, Aldridge and his wife share key takeaways from their Red Table Talk experience, and five Greater Cincinnati women share their stories of living with alopecia, over coming the shame and emotional pain and learning to love themselves anew. You can read each of their stories below. You can find out more about alopecia here.
Kevin Aldridge: Oscars incident opened door to sharing, understanding
Pamela King: Embracing alopecia has brought me peace, freedom
Sharla Ponder: My only regret is I didn’t shave my head sooner
Kasandre Brown: The boldness that led me to stand in my baldness
Sharon McCreary: I want to love myself with or without hair
Terriwana Doyle-Cauthen: Learning to love my bold, beautiful, bald self