UCI Health will see you now: Welcome to our new co-workers and patients from Fountain Valley, Lakewood, Los Alamitos and Placentia-Linda! 

UCI Health dermatologist equates hair loss with loss of identity

A new bill could require insurers to cover wigs for sufferers of hair loss related to medical conditions

February 29, 2024

IN THE NEWS: For many, hair is as linked with identity as clothing. Any kind of hair loss can be a blow to one’s self-confidence and self-image.

KABC7 television news logo blue white blackA high schooler suffering from alopecia areata, a hair-loss causing autoimmune condition, helped inspire new California legislation. If passed, health insurers would be required to cover the cost of one wig per year in cases of hair loss related to health conditions.

UCI Health dermatologist Dr. Natasha Mesinkovska spoke to ABC 7 News about medical hair loss and its impact on sufferers.

"Anytime you lose hair, it's not just a cosmetic thing. You're not healthy. It's a medical condition. It’s not just the scalp hair … it's the eyebrows, the eyelashes. [These also] make up someone's identity. That's what a lot of people who are affected would say: ‘When I look in the mirror, I can't recognize who I am.’ "

Mesinkovska is an associate professor of dermatology and the vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Dermatology at UCI School of Medicine. She is the director of integrative dermatology at the Beckman Laser Institute and the chief scientific officer of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Mesinkovska is a board-certified UCI Health dermatologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders, including skin cancer. Her research interests include alopecia and dermatitis and she is the author or co-author of many articles in peer-reviewed publications. In addition, she is an investigator on several current clinical trials involving alopecia, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and skin laxity.

Read more: