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What is Alopecia Areata? It Caused a Stir at the Oscars

Written by Naina Mahajan, a grade 7 student.

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder, meaning a condition where our body’s antibodies attack our very own cells. Alopecia is caused when…

By I Kid You Not , in World News , at March 30, 2022 Tags: , , ,

Written by Naina Mahajan, a grade 7 student.

It’s the hottest topic in the news lately: Will Smith, the legendary actor slapped also legendary stand-up comedian Chris Rock, at the 94th Annual Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.


Chris Rock made a remark about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife and an incredible actress, and her shaved head, comparing her to the lead in the movie “GI Jane,” and saying he couldn’t wait to see her in GI Jane 2. To this remark, the actress rolled her eyes, while Will Smith got up and smacked Chris Rock in the face.

Why did Will Smith get so angry?

Because the remark was made about a medical condition that Jada Pinkett Smith has, which is why she shaves her head

What is that?

It’s called alopecia areata, which causes a great deal of hair loss.

The actress first talked about it in an Instagram video she posted in May 2018, in which she 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?’ It was one of those times in my life when I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”

But what is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder, meaning a condition where our body’s antibodies attack our very own cells. Alopecia is caused when our white blood cells (the cells that help fight against diseases) attack the hair follicle cells (the point from which hair grows), making them shrink and thus slow down hair production.

Types of alopecia include alopecia totalis, leading to a total loss of hair on the scalp, and alopecia universalis, leading to a complete loss of all hair on the entire body.

Alopecia can affect anyone, no matter the age or gender, although most cases occur before the age of 30.

What causes it?

Though the causes of the disease are unknown, it has been found that one in five people with the condition have family members who also suffer from it, suggesting that genetics might be involved at some level. Many people might think it is caused by stress, but there is minimal scientific basis to show that it really does. While extreme cases of stress could potentially trigger alopecia, the most recent research points toward genetic causes.

What’s the treatment?

The most common form of treatment is the use of corticosteroids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that help suppress the immune system.

The disease has no known cure just yet, although many people with only a few patches of hair loss often experience sudden and complete recovery without treatment. However, it cannot directly interfere with a person’s health, nor is it contagious.

The disease can often cause emotional trauma to the person suffering and talking to special psychologists and support groups can help. Sometimes, we see with our eyes, listen with our ears, but forget to think with our mind and feel with our heart before saying something.

Let us strive to be better informed and compassionate because not everything is up for laughs.

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