Ashley Tisdale Reveals She Has Alopecia: 'Nothing To Be Ashamed Of' – TODAY


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Ashley Tisdale is sharing that she has struggled with hair loss from alopecia because she wants others with the condition to know that they are not alone.
The “High School Musical” alum spoke in an Instagram video on Jan. 11 about her experiences with alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. Tisdale, 37, said she was diagnosed by her dermatologist with alopecia in her early 20s after noticing some loss near the middle of her hairline.
“It’s autoimmune and a lot of it’s triggered by stress, and I was going through a really stressful time,” she says in the video.
Tisdale noted in the Instagram caption that alopecia is “fairly common, but a lot of people feel embarrassed to talk about these issues.”
The condition affects more than 300,000 people in the country each year, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Luis Garza, a dermatologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told TODAY.com in June that he’s had patients quit their jobs and avoid going out in public after losing their hair due to alopecia. 
“Any type of hair loss can affect your self-esteem, especially if you feel like you’re the only one going through it,” Tisdale wrote. “That’s why I want to talk about it openly — because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes (hair loss) is connected to hormones, other times to heredity, and for me, it’s connected to stress overload.”
She says in the video that her hair grew back after the initial loss in her early 20s, but she added that hair loss has returned during stressful times in her life.
“I wanted to share a couple things that have helped me because it can be stressful just even having it and being like, ‘Oh my gosh, what if it gets worse?’” she said.
Tisdale has used yoga, meditation and therapy as ways to mitigate stress, which lessens the effects of her alopecia.
She also said she had a platelet rich plasma injection in the spot on her hairline a few years ago.
PRP involves using a patient’s own plasma from a blood sample and injecting it to accelerate healing, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It has been touted as a treatment for everything from hair loss to sports injuries.
“It grew back super fast, and it hasn’t ever affected that area again,” Tisdale said about her hair.
She added that she also recently had a PRP injection in another site of hair loss behind her left ear.
“PRP is more of an expensive route, but I do find that it is really helpful for alopecia,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale also said the autoimmune paleo diet has helped her, not as a permanent way of eating but more of a “30-day thing” of cutting out grains and eggs while adhering to a diet of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The mother of one is the latest celebrity to put a spotlight on alopecia.
Actor Jada Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggles with the condition, showing off her hair loss on social media. A joke about her bald head made by Chris Rock triggered the stunning moment when Pinkett’s husband, Will Smith, slapped the comedian onstage during last year’s Academy Awards.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment for alopecia for the first time — a once-a-day pill called baricitinib, developed by the drugmaker Eli Lilly. The drug helps regrow hair by preventing the body’s immune system from attacking hair follicles.
Scott Stump is a staff reporter and the writer of the daily newsletter This is TODAY. He has been a regular contributor for TODAY.com since 2011, producing news stories and features across the trending, pop culture, sports, parents, pets, health, style, food and TMRW verticals. 
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