It’s hard to imagine some of your favourite celebrities experiencing something like hair loss. More than likely, you only see those famous people when they’re on the red carpet rocking a picture-perfect hairstyle. The truth is, celebrities are people just like us, and it’s very possible for them to go through the most common cause of hair loss: alopecia.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss and affects around 1-2% of the population.  Alopecia usually affects the head, with the most common sign of alopecia being thinning hair or bald spots. When a person has alopecia, their immune system attacks the hair follicles, leading to the hair falling out (in some cases, it won’t grow back at all). For many, alopecia can greatly impact their lives, leading to lower confidence and insecurity – even for those out of the spotlight. If you want to learn more or suspect you might have this disease, our handy guide will show you everything you need to know about alopecia.
How Serious is Alopecia?
Alopecia doesn’t usually affect your health in any way other than hair loss. However, this can still be hard to deal with for many people. In terms of how severe alopecia is, that can change dramatically depending on the person. Some people may only experience mild alopecia, whereas others might experience extremely progressive alopecia in which there are very visible bald patches or even alopecia universalis, which is the most severe form and involves hair loss from the whole body. 
The Different Types of Alopecia
There isn’t just one type of alopecia – it’s useful to know the different types, especially if you’re concerned you have this autoimmune disease.
- Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a common type of alopecia. Genetics tend to play a big role in alopecia areata, but you don’t necessarily need a family history of the disease to get it yourself.
- Androgenetic Alopecia
The most common type of alopecia is androgenetic alopecia, which is a hereditary disease that millions of men and women all around the world are affected by. It’s also commonly referred to as male or female pattern hair loss and becomes more common as you get older.
- Traction Alopecia
Traction alopecia is another type of hair loss that happens after the scalp has experienced too much pulling. For example, wearing hair extensions for too long can cause traction alopecia.
- Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is a common type of alopecia caused by psychological stress and is also known as shock hair loss. Usually, people with telogen effluvium find that their hair grows back.
- Anagen Effluvium
Anagen effluvium occurs after a patient receives chemotherapy treatments. These toxic chemicals help to kill the cancer cells but can also cause rapid, extensive hair loss.
- Scarring Alopecia
Another type is scarring alopecia, which is also known as cicatricial alopecia. This is a permanent type of alopecia where the hair follicle gets completely destroyed. There are many different potential causes, from burns to injuries.
Can Hair Grow Back After Alopecia?
Every case is different. It’s usually much more challenging to treat alopecia in children, as those under the age of 10 with alopecia tend to experience this disease much more extensively.  The type of alopecia also plays a role in whether your hair will or won’t grow back – for example, most people who experience telogen effluvium find that their hair later grows back. At the same time, pattern hair loss is usually permanent.
9 Celebrities with Alopecia
You might be surprised to learn how many celebrities with alopecia there are! Some of these famous people find ways to hide their alopecia (for example, by wearing wigs), whereas others embrace the bald look.
1: Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith is one of the celebrities with alopecia who decided to embrace her lack of hair by shaving it all and rocking the bald look! She has been very open about her hair loss throughout her entire experience with alopecia and has even recently posted a photograph of her hair growth on Instagram.  While she definitely suited the bald look, her new short hair also looks great on her. It just goes to show that alopecia is not always permanent.
2: Jesy Nelson
Jesy Nelson was once part of the popular girl band Little Mix but has since parted ways to enjoy a solo career. The singer has been quite open with her struggles over the years, including about her stress-induced alopecia. Her alopecia started at the very young age of 13. Nowadays, she’s seen sporting a full head of long curls.
3: Neve Campbell
The iconic Scream star Neve Campbell is also on the list of celebs with alopecia – which is hard to imagine! The actress unfortunately started experiencing telogen effluvium when she was only 23, stating,
“At 23, I developed alopecia. I was horribly overworked and going through a divorce. Also, I had stalkers and started receiving threatening mail. I was so distressed by it all that my hair started falling out. Life hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.” 
4: Gail Porter
Gail Porter’s alopecia has been an ongoing battle for the Scottish TV presenter. Her alopecia targeted her whole body. While it was a struggle for her at first, she has since stated that she actually loves being bald. While she usually wears her head bald and natural, she is also known to wear wigs from time to time.
5: Elon Musk
The richest celebrity with alopecia is, without a doubt, Elon Musk. The highly successful businessman is one of many celebrities with androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern hair loss. Looking at pictures of Musk back in the 90s and 2000s, it’s clear to see that he was balding at his hairline. It’s speculated that he’s had hair transplants over the years, which is why his M-shaped hairline looks less obvious today.
6: Tyra Banks
The famous model and TV personality Tyra Banks is known for her striking appearance. Unfortunately, she experienced alopecia from stress during her career but used her experience to try and destigmatise the condition. She also often wears wigs and weaves to cover her hair loss. As a model, this gives her the chance to show off a variety of great looks!
7: Viola Davis
Oscar-winning Viola Davis has gained attention for her incredible work on the big screen. Behind closed doors, though, she has battled a fight with alopecia areata, which started when she was in her 20s. While she has worn wigs over the years, she showed off her natural hair at the 2012 Oscars, where she sported a cropped look and looked fantastic for it.
8: Kiera Knightley
Kiera Knightley is known for her portrayal in period dramas and the much-loved Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. On screen, she’s often seen wearing her hair thick and long, so no one would suspect that she’s actually battled some hair loss over the years! It’s true, though – thanks to the many hairstyles and colours she’s had to wear for films, she experienced some hair loss.
9: Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser is perhaps best known for his portrayal as Rick O’Connell in the 1999 film The Mummy, where he has a head full of luscious locks. After some time out of the spotlight, he has since been back on the big screen, winning best actor at the 2023 Oscars for his performance in The Whale. Looking at photos of his hair in the 90s and comparing them to now, it’s clear Fraser has experienced male pattern hair loss, causing his hairline to recede. However, he’s one of the famous people with alopecia who hasn’t opted for wigs or transplants, as his hair loss isn’t too extensive.
As you can see, celebrity alopecia is quite common. This list doesn’t cover everyone – there are plenty of other celebrities with androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, and traction alopecia that we haven’t talked about. The autoimmune disease is much more prevalent than you might think.
Treatments for Alopecia
The good news is that there are many types of treatments for alopecia, including:
- Laser Therapy
- Hair Transplants
While some celebrities are more open to embracing their hair loss, many other celebrities prefer to treat their alopecia with medications or hair restoration surgery. Some, like Elon Musk, have opted for the hair transplant route, which is undeniably the best way to ensure hair restoration. If medications like Minoxidil and Finasteride don’t work for you, getting a hair transplant consultation might be the best next move. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be as rich as Musk to enjoy the results of this procedure!
Celebrity alopecia is more common than you might think. Thankfully, many celebrities have been very open with their hair falling out, helping others come to terms with their own alopecia. Of course, you don’t have to deal with hair loss if you don’t want to – a male or female transplant can help restore your locks and confidence. Get in touch today to start your hair restoration journey.