Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune condition that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and other areas of the body. Nearly 7 million people in the United States are affected by the condition that has no cure, effective treatments or standard of care. Alopecia areata can affect anyone at any age and may be temporary or a life-long condition.
Thirty-year-old Ebony Jean was diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 4 when she started losing clumps of hair, which left patches on her scalp. By the fifth grade, she was living with total permanent hair loss, or alopecia universalis.
Living with alopecia areata is not easy for many – and especially those who are diagnosed at a young age. The condition is plagued with stigma, which can wreak havoc on mental health and well-being. In Jean’s case, not only did she have to deal with the uncertainty and unpredictability of the condition, but she also dealt with traumatizing mistreatment and bullying by her peers, and in some cases, teachers.