I was first diagnosed with Alopecia Areata at 30, a year after the birth of my second child. I had not noticed any patches prior to my husband pointing out my my first large thinning patch on the top of my head. Two weeks later I was wearing scarves as I couldn’t hide my hair loss. Within two months I was wearing a wig full time and had lost all my body hair except my eyebrows and eyelashes, which decided to fall out many years later. The only tell tale signs I had leading up to the hair loss were that my hair and skin had lost the oiliness and that my hair did not have any body and could not hold a perm for more than a couple of weeks.
During the next few years I visited a few dermatologist for opinions (one even telling me “it’s only hair”) and hoping to be able to find a cure. I saw trichologists, tried medications and scalp lotions. My hair would grow for a while and then fall out again. There would be tears at the hair loss and then I would pick myself up again and we’d start all over. The support from my husband and family kept me going.
When I fell pregnant with my third child, my hair was in the growth stage. It grew all through the pregnancy and stayed for another six months after the birth. It fell out again and then six months later I had hair again. It stayed for another six months then fell out again and we were back to the old cycle. I had been told that my hair loss was through stress, but I began to think that it could be hormonal-my pregnancy had been the trigger. I had hope that when I went through menopause my hair would grow back.
When my eldest daughter was also diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in her late teens it was hard seeing her go through the struggles. I had not realised, at the time, that it can be genetic. A few years later I found out that my paternal grandfather also had Alopecia Areata. Each of us had different triggers.
Thirty six years later, my hair has grown back as I had hoped but not fully. I still wear a wig as there are large areas which have not grown, and I have to shave my head to fit my custom made human hair piece comfortably. Even my grandchildren now tell me when they think I need to shave my head.
I embrace my Alopecia and don’t let it hold me back. I have a variety of wigs in different styles and colours. I have found it to be a bonus that I don’t have to visit a beauty therapist to have any waxing done. I am lucky that my youngest daughter is a beauty therapist and makes my sparse eyebrows and eyelashes look fantastic.
If anything my Alopecia has taught my children and grandchildren that not everyone is perfect and to accept them from who they are.