CNN – Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s reveal of her alopecia — an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss — and her consequent bald head have made her the subject of online bullying.
Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman hit back at critics Thursday, posting a selfie on Twitter along with a letter to her “trolls” –
“Dear Trolls, You really think I look like “Mr. Clean”? Please. He never looked THIS clean. Sorry not sorry my unapologetically rockin’ my crown triggers you. Proud #alopecian”
Fellow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voiced her support, telling Pressley not to pay them any mind.
Though Pressley’s Senegalese twists had become strongly associated with the congresswoman, she opened up in a video published by The Root about how she had begun noticing significant hair loss.
On the eve of the House’s impeachment of President Donald Trump, the last bit of her hair finally fell out … Read more.
What Is Alopecia Areata?
WebMD – If you’ve seen a lot of extra hair on your pillow, brush, or shower drain, or you’ve noticed odd little bald spots in the mirror, you might have an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata.
When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your own body.
With alopecia areata, it’s the hair follicles that are attacked.
This causes the hair to come out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The amount of hair loss is different in everyone.
Some people lose it only in a few spots. Others lose a lot. It’s rare, but you can lose all the hair on your head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis).
Is There A Cure?
Alopecia areata can’t be cured. But it can be treated and hair can grow back. If you have it, there are several things to try:
Corticosteroids. These are anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. They can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas. They can also be given in pill form or rubbed on the skin as an ointment, cream, or foam. The downside is that it may take a long time to work.
Topical immunotherapy. This is used when there’s a lot of hair loss, or if it happens more than once. Chemicals are applied to the scalp to produce an allergic reaction. If it works, this reaction is actually what makes the hair grow back.
It also causes an itchy rash, and usually has to be repeated several times to keep the new hair growth.
Minoxidil (Rogaine). This treatment, which is put on the scalp, is already used for pattern baldness. It usually takes about 12 weeks before you see growth, and some users are disappointed in the results.
Other treatments for alopecia areata include medications that are sometimes used for other autoimmune disorders. These medicines have differing amounts of success in re-growing hair. Read more.