September is Alopecia Awareness Month.
This can be such a hard subject for people, a lot of alopecia sufferers have reported feeling misunderstood, as some people mistake the symptoms for cancer. This can be particularly upsetting.
Alopecia UK are also celebrating 15 years of support, awareness & research. They aim to raise £15,000 and are already half way to their target.
Their online birthday event is on the 24th of September. You can read more details by visiting https://www.alopecia.org.uk/Event/live-15th-birthday-bash
Many individuals are running their own campaign pages in which they aim to complete various challenges. You can read more about them by visiting the fundraiser page https://www.alopecia.org.uk/fundraisers/
Jen Foster is cycling 15k a day during the month. She also plans to raise awareness throughout the month on her social media channel @jensalopecia.
We have teamed up with her to provide her some styles throughout the month so she is able to raise awareness for more affordable options for those suffering from alopecia. Keep an eye on her instagram profile.
Some recent stories…
Lisa – “I am a lupus warrior and my hair thinned terribly during a flare up and I had to get my long haircut short. Then in lockdown I started losing lots of hair so I shaved it off completely and got some wigs … I’m having the best fun with all the different styles and colours. My hair is growing again but I’ll keep it short as I know when I flare up again it’s likely to fall out again. Wigs have become a fun new accessory for me my only regret is that I didn’t try them sooner.”
Laura – “I have had alopecia areata since i was about 15 years old. It started as a small patch at the nape of my neck which was easy enough to hide behind the rest of my hair so i initially didn’t worry too much about it. Later on the patch got bigger and so the doctors suggested steroid injections to try and get my hair to grow back – this seemed to work for a bit but my hair has always grown on and off in that area since. Even after growing back though, every couple of years I’ve had more and bigger patches that would fall out and be harder and harder to hide behind beanies and scarves when i was in public. It was always the worst feeling when I’d notice more was starting to fall out with shed hairs collecting everywhere. It took me a long time to work up the courage to shave what was left of my hair when it got to its worst. I was still just wearing scarves and beanies for about a year after i first shaved my head as at first i felt like getting a wig was “giving up” on my real hair which might still grow back again – not to mention that i thought wigs would be an expensive investment that i wasn’t sure would even look good.
Eventually though, i got sick of explaining to people that i wasn’t wearing bandanas because i had cancer and decided to look at what wig options were available. My first wig was a high quality human hair wig that was very expensive and although it looks amazing and natural i was still sometimes scared to wear it much in case i damaged it – about the same time as this though i was put on to very affordable cosplay wigs as an option to try out – i started off by purchasing one close to my natural hair colour and was really impressed with how it didn’t look as cheap or as fake as i had originally feared and i even got compliments about how pretty it looked on me! Most recently i have started to branch out into some fun colours and more unique styles so i can have hair to match my mood and personality better.
Wigs have really given me so much more confidence to be who I am and not worry as much about what people might think is wrong with me. Of course there are still some days where i get down about my own hair not growing properly but looking up which styles and colours of wigs I’d like to try next can be a good distraction for this :)”
@faithis_fatal – “I’ve had alopecia since I was a child. When it first started I noticed hair on my pillow, then one day I was out swimming with friends and I ran my fingers through my hair and clumps came out. We all knew it wasn’t normal. It was a very scary things at that age. I had long blonde hair and it began to fall out in clumps. I was told it was triggered by stress, my parents were going through a divorce at the time, and within a month my hair was mostly gone but a tiny patch
It took a long time before I would allow my mum to shave the last little patch. I wore wigs during my last year of primary school and they helped me feel more comfortable around my peers. I went to a trichologist and thankfully by my second year of secondary school I was able to go without. I’ve always had patches and over the years I’ve worn wigs but it has never felt neccessary, I usually wore them for cosplay. However after covid hit, I lost my job and had some other things on my mind and my patches are now bigger than they have been in years and the hair along the sides of my hairline has gone too and now more than ever I have appreciated wearing my wigs. I bought a couple during the lockdown and I love them. They bring me a confidence I no longer feel with my natural hair, and I’m able to change them and style them the way I would have done with my own. They’re fun and the stigma I faced as a child wearing wigs no longer feels present.
We are a more accepting society now and I can feel comfortable going out with a wig on now, and most of the time with the wigs I have bought from lush wigs no one can even tell! I have a new confidence and love changing wigs. So thank you for giving me my confidence back!”
@becomingbravebald – “Hi I am Jane, I am 27 years old and I live in Ireland. My dream since I was a young girl was to model but at the age of 5 I developed alopecia areata and I always let it hold me back. I let it control most of my life and never felt pretty enough or confident enough to follow my dream. As a result of the alopecia I became very depressed and struggled with my mental health for many years, again this held me back and I was a shell of my true self. I know embrace alopecia and see that beauty comes in all different ways and that the true beauty of a person is what shines from within. Wigs have really helped me through so many hard years and to feel safe when I wasn’t ready to let people know about my alopecia.”
@castielnovak_ – “I am an alopecia sufferer. I lost all of my hair (head, eyebrows and eyelashes) when I was around 14 years old. Eventually it all came back, but has since started falling out again (9 years later!) Although i’m still bald in quite large and obvious patches, I can use wigs to feel good about myself again.”
@thebalddoll – “I lost all of my hair in about 3weeks last August, it was traumatising and terrifying but after I got over the initial shock I started to recognise myself again, I remembered who I was and realised I was so much more than my hair. I started to embrace the fact that I could change my hair every day of the week if I fancied and I really took advantage of that fact when I discovered lush wigs lol wigs were the beat thing for me, I became so much more experimental with my look than I ever was before and I found a whole new version of myself that I never knew existed. Alopecia is ruthless and its harsh but it can also be beautiful and interesting. This condition has forced me to look beyond what this world teaches us about beauty and femininity. I’ve learnt thatbeauty comes into our lives so many times and in so many different ways and quite often the beauty comes cloaked in darkness and dispear but there is always beauty there, it is in everything when we look for it ❤️”
Last year we asked some of our customers to tell us a bit about their alopecia experience, here’s what they said:
@gillmcnicoll “I lost all my hair in about 8 weeks 2 years ago. While I’m mostly at peace with it…sometimes putting on fabulous hair helps me deal and gives me my confidence back”
@nert.alert “It took a lot of hard work, but I started to realise that I was still me, wig on or off. And that the best thing about me wasn’t my hair, but me. If we can de-stigmatize female baldness and wearing wigs I think we can save other girls and women from feeling the shame and sense of loss that I struggled with for years.”
@fiend_grrl “The first time I had alopecia was when I was about 10 years old, which just consisted of a few bald patches…I’m 25 and just finished giving birth to my second son, all of a sudden I’m losing the hair on my head, my eyebrows, eyelashes, nose hairs, arm hairs and leg hairs.”
@hippywithahipproblem “Losing my hair has brought out the real me and I’ve realised my hair can now be my favourite accessory!”
We received so many quotes and stories from sufferers – thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this, and please know we read every single one and it was both heartbreaking and inspiring.
For anyone out there who is suffering with or thinks they may be suffering with alopecia, we thoroughly recommend checking out the #alopecia hashtag on Instagram, this is a community of brave and supportive people mostly sharing their journey, and it can be really helpful to see others dealing with it to feel less alone.
We would love to hear from you all this year. Please use the form below to get in touch. Any contributions will be contacted and provided with a discount link :)
Alopecia UK: https://www.alopecia.org.uk/
World Alopecia Community: http://www.worldalopeciacommunity.org/
Bald Girls Do Lunch Alopecia Support Network: https://blog.baldgirlsdolunch.org/