High School Musical actress and singer Ashley Tisdale is opening up about alopecia, an autoimmune disorder she says she's struggled with since her early 20s.
Tisdale shared the news in an Instagram post on Wednesday and also spoke about how she deals with hair loss in the personal video.
"A lot of people feel embarrassed to talk about these issues," Tisdale captioned the post.
"Any type of hair loss can affect your self-esteem, especially if you feel like you're the only one going through it. That's why I want to talk about it openly — because it's nothing to be ashamed of. "
The 37-year-old actress went more in depth about her experience with alopecia on her wellness blog Frenshe.
"A couple of months ago, while simultaneously moving, starting a home renovation, and kicking off a TV project, I noticed that a patch of my hair was starting to fall out," she wrote.
"Nothing major—just a small section behind my ear—but still, it was happening, and not for the first time. A few years ago, the same thing happened when I was overly stressed, so I knew exactly what I was experiencing: alopecia."
This isn't the first time an actress has opened up about their struggles with the autoimmune condition.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith has previously talked about her hair loss journey that started for her in 2018.
"It was terrifying when it first started. You know I was in the shower one day and then just handfuls of hair, just in my hands and I was just like 'Oh my god, am I going bald?'" she during an episode of Red Table Talk.
It was once again brought up publicly after Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith, punched Chris Rock, who was hosting the 2022 Oscars at the time, after Rock took a jab at Pinkett Smith's baldness.
From what causes hair loss to ways of dealing with it - here's what you need to know about alopecia.
What is alopecia?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), alopecia areata is a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss anywhere on the body.
The association says hair loss can be unpredictable and can affect people at any age.
How do you know if you have alopecia?
Alopecia commonly begins with sudden hair loss in round or oval patches on the scalp, but it can also affect hair on other parts of the body, like the beard area in men or eyebrows and eyelashes.
The autoimmune condition can also cause changes in nails, as noted by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
People with alopecia areata are usually healthy and typically don't present any other symptoms.
Can alopecia be cured?
There is no cure for alopecia, but hair regrowth is possible.
The AADA says for some people the hair will regrow without any help. For others, there are medical treatments that can help.
In Tisdale's case, the actress says she saw results from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment.
"It’s expensive and it is certainly not the most pleasant experience—it involves microneedling the scalp, after all—but it made my hair grow back amazingly fast," she writes on her blog.
"And on the recommendation of a hairstylist, I’m using the Hairmax Laserband three times a week to stimulate my hair follicles. My hair is starting to grow back already."
How can you deal with alopecia?
Along with medical treatments, there are cosmetic and protective techniques that people can try.
The Cleveland Clinic suggests wearing wigs, hats, or scarves to protect the head from the elements, eating a well-balanced diet, reducing stress and wearing sunglasses if alopecia is causing eyelash loss.
In her blog post, Tisdale highlights that she prioritizes self-care rituals to deal with her alopecia.
"Meditation is a powerful practice for me, since it takes only 5 or 10 minutes to lower my stress level. Eating with a focus on gut health also helps me thrive. This time, I followed the autoimmune paleo diet for 30 days," she said.
"Whatever your self-care plan may be, embrace it."