Alopecia ‘veil came off’ after Jada Pinkett Smith joke, Saskatoon woman says

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Jennifer Cenaiko McCowan says her heart “broken” for Jada Pinkett Smith when Chris Rock joked about her hair loss at the Oscars on Sunday, calling her a “GI Jane.”

Cenaiko McCowan is the owner of Hope Hair Recovery in Saskatoon, a hair replacement service that helps men and women find the root cause of their hair loss.

However, she is thrilled that people are starting to talk about alopecia.

“All of a sudden a veil lifted and it’s okay to talk about it,” she said.

She says alopecia is “extremely common” and she sees patients as young as 14 losing their hair due to genetic types of hair loss.

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which cells mistakenly surround and attack hair follicles, causing them to fall out. Several factors can cause alopecia such as genetics, hormones and severe stress.

Cenaiko McCowan says 50% of the human population will experience some form of hair loss by age 45 and more knowledge needs to be shared.

She uses her business and social media accounts to raise awareness of different forms of hair loss, such as alopecia.

“People need to be warned that they are not alone. It’s very isolating when you lose your hair, for whatever reason, you feel like you’re the only one,” Cenaiko McCowan said.

In 2010, Cenaiko McCowan’s father died a month after the birth of his son, which caused extreme stress, resulting in his hair loss. She was a hairstylist for 18 years and decided to turn that pain into a passion to help others.

“I understand the shame, the embarrassment, the anxiety that comes with it, so that’s one of my driving forces in helping my patients.”

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