Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she is battling alopecia
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith has revealed that she is battling alopecia, opening up about her struggle with the condition in an episode of her Facebook chat show, Red Table Talk.
The 46-year-old said that she first suspected it might be the case that she was suffering from the condition when she noticed that "handfuls" of her hair were coming out in the shower.
Pinkett Smith admitted that she was terrified when she realised what was happening, saying: "I was just like 'Oh my god am I going bald?' It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear".
The star, who has been married to fellow actor Will Smith since 1997, also revealed that she was opening up because she had been asked so many times why she has been seen with her hair wrapped up in public, and said of her approach to her managing alopecia: "That's why I cut my hair and continue to cut it."
"When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen," she added.
While Pinkett Smith says that doctors have not identified a cause for her hair loss, despite having undergone "every test there is", the condition is frequently triggered by stress; something she concedes could be true in her case. Other causes of hair loss can include mineral deficiency, medical treatment and illnesses.
Becoming visibly emotional, the actress explained that the condition was even harder to accept in her case because she is so used to having thick hair, describing maintaining it as a "beautiful ritual".
Nonetheless, she remains philosophical about the situation, saying that she reminds herself that others are less fortunate than her: "The higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer, people who have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day and, by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair. 'That's it? God, do you want my hair?'"
Fans have taken to social media to applaud the actress on her bravery in speaking out, saying that they never would have known, that she looks amazing either way, and reminding her that she is not alone.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, alopecia is a condition that is notoriously difficult to predict: "Your hair may grow back, even if you lose all of it. But it may fall out again. No one can tell you when it might fall out or grow back. The hardest part of the disease is not having these answers."