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Riverdale Star Lili Reinhart Discusses Her Journey with Hair Loss

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Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart revealed on TikTok earlier this year that she has been diagnosed with alopecia, a skin disease that commonly causes hair loss. She also disclosed that her diagnosis coincided with a mental health episode. In the video, Reinhart states that she “Was just diagnosed with alopecia in the midst of a major depressive episode.”

@lilireinhart

Red light therapy is my new best friend. #alopecia #mentalhealth

♬ original sound - Sam Huberty

First off, What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a general term for hair loss, but this condition manifests in several forms, each with its unique patterns of hair loss and underlying causes. Perhaps the most well-known type is Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, leading to round patches of hair loss on the scalp and potentially other parts of the body.

 

Another form of alopecia, Androgenetic Alopecia, commonly referred to as male or female pattern baldness, is characterised by a gradual thinning of hair which can lead to baldness, heavily influenced by genetics and hormones. Female pattern hair loss affects about 50% of women by the time they reach 50 years old and can greatly affect self-esteem and confidence.

 

Traction Alopecia is caused by repeated pulling or tension on hair strands, often due to certain hairstyles or treatments, leading to hair thinning primarily around the forehead and temples. Lastly, Telogen Effluvium is a temporary condition where individuals experience an unusually large amount of hair shedding, often triggered by stress, illness, or hormonal changes.

Do You Suffer from Female Pattern Hair Loss?

Image by Heva Clinic

While you may not experience patches of your hair falling off as it is common with the most well-known type of Alopecia — Alopecia Areata, Androgenetic Alopecia, especially for women, can be insidious. It isn’t as widely spoken about as male pattern hair loss and it usually progresses over decades and can come in bursts. After all, it’s hard to notice the hair on our heads falling little by little until a significant amount is shed. If you suspect you are suffering from androgenetic alopecia, here are a few tests you can do at home.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be worth consulting with a medical professional who specialises in hair loss to determine if what you are experiencing is Androgenetic Alopecia.

Reinhart's Hair Loss & How She's Dealing with It

The type and extent of Reinhart’s hair loss has not been revealed. However, she did let her fans in on how she’s coping with her alopecia, captioning her TikTok “Red light therapy is my new best friend”. While medications such as minoxidil as well as corticosteroids (to help reduce inflammation around the hair follicles and promote hair growth) are the most common treatments for the condition, RLT is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment. RLT uses low-level red light to stimulate hair growth and improve the overall health of the scalp.

“Red light therapy is my new best friend”

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

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At its core, RLT employs low-wavelength red light to penetrate deep into the scalp, targeting the cells that aid in hair growth. It works by stimulating the epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle, prompting these cells into the anagen phase, which is the active growth phase of the hair cycle. Additionally, RLT helps to increase blood circulation around the hair follicles, enhancing the supply of nutrients and oxygen essential for hair regeneration. This dual action not only encourages hair growth but also strengthens the hair, potentially increasing its thickness over time. Furthermore, RLT can help reduce inflammation, a common culprit behind many forms of hair loss, presenting itself as a non-invasive yet effective remedy for those struggling with the distress of thinning hair.

Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of red light therapy in improving hair density, thickness, and overall hair growth in individuals with androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) and other types of hair loss. However, while many studies have shown promising results, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and determine the optimal parameters for red light therapy in promoting hair growth.

When used on the face,  RLT has also been shown to improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles, making it a multifaceted treatment for both hair loss and anti-ageing benefits. It is generally considered safe with minimal side effects, making it a popular choice among individuals seeking natural and non-invasive solutions for their hair loss.

PS: You may not know that sleep actually helps in benefiting not just your hair but skin and nails as well!

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