Lili Reinhart Opens Up About Her Alopecia Diagnosis

Red light therapy is her scalp's "new best friend."

Lili Reinhart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Simply put, alopecia is another word for hair loss; it comes in many forms (genetics-influenced male or female-pattern baldness, chemo-induced hair loss, or hair loss via the autoimmune disease alopecia areata) and can appear out of nowhere, anytime in your life. Yesterday, Lili Reinhart opened up about her recent diagnosis with alopecia, causing fans to educate themselves about—and share their own journeys with—the condition.

"Was just diagnosed with alopecia in the midst of a major depressive episode," the Riverdale star wrote via TikTok on Tuesday, January 30, sharing a video of herself in a red light therapy session as she lip-synced to a sound saying "I'm pushed beyond the limits of what a person should be pushed to endure." In the posts caption, she wrote that red light therapy is her "new best friend" and added "alopecia" and "mental health" hashtags.


♬ original sound - Sam Huberty

In her comments section, fans sent love and asked questions about Reinhart's diagnosis.

"Thank you for using your platform to bring awareness to this. I have alopecia and my health and depression make it worse. Sending love," reads the first comment. "I don’t understand how adults just randomly get alopecia like what the hell is causing that WHAT," another fan adds.

While Reinhart didn't share the exact form of alopecia she was diagnosed with, her comments about stress and red light led fans to believe she's dealing with telogen effluvium, aka stress-induced hair loss.

According to Dr. Hardik Doshi, Lead Surgeon, Hair Restoration at Ample, telogen effluvium messes up your hair growth cycle but is usually temporary. "Once the stress or issue is resolved, your hair should start growing back normally," he notes.

"The stressor can be a physical one (high fever, illness) or emotional," shares Dr. Karan Lal, D.O., F.A.A.D., a double board-certified dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist with Affiliated Dermatology.. "Red light can help in telogen effluvium. Red light reduces inflammation and helps re-energize cells."

lili reinhart

Reinhart wears her hair in a slicked back bun at the 2020 SAG Awards.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, how does stress affect hair growth in the first place?

"The relationship between alopecia and stress is complex and multifaceted, involving a combination of physiological and psychological mechanisms," shares Dr. Doshi "Stress can cause hair loss by messing with hormones, the immune system, and the hair growth cycle. Chronic stress may imbalance hormones like cortisol, affecting how hair follicles work. Stress can also release substances that lead to inflammation and immune system problems linked to certain types of hair loss,."

But remember: although celebrities can bring awareness to a condition, you always need to talk to your own doctor if you're dealing with something similar—everyone's situation is unique.

"In conclusion, stress is acknowledged as a potential cause of hair loss, but it's crucial to assess each case individually and consider other factors. Managing stress through lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and, if needed, counseling can be helpful for overall well-being and hair health," adds Dr. Doshi. "Those facing significant hair loss should consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist to identify the specific cause and determine an appropriate treatment plan."

Here's hoping Reinhart has a nice, low-stress journey in front of her. For now, it's great that she's sharing her struggles, if only to kick start fans' alopecia educations and make them feel less alone.

Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a freelance beauty writer at Marie Claire, where she writes about the latest and greatest skincare launches, hair colors, and Cardi B manicures. Her work can also be found at Byrdie, Bravo, and Us Weekly. You can find her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.