Hair loss for anybody can be distressing particularly if a patch of hair loss is found. At Sussex Trichology, I see children as young as 5 with this condition, as well as many adults. On occasion the hairdresser is the first to notice the hair missing, other times the patient notices when washing or grooming the hair. The complaint is that the scalp feels smooth (devoid of hair) or even slightly sticky to the touch. The sufferer may notice increased hair loss or observe a sudden patch of hair loss appear.
Alopecia Areata is an auto immune condition that can also affect the fingernails and can sometimes be linked to an underactive thyroid. The trigger for this is often an emotional one (some people describe this as stress or anxiety) and part of the consultation process for these patients would involve me sensitively addressing possible causes that may have occurred 2-3 months previously to the patch appearing.
I see many patients with this condition and this lovely lady below has kindly written about her experience and how the absence and then return of hair affected her personally.
I feel that I will be paranoid about further hair loss for a long time to come but this is something I am dealing with. Emotionally I am no longer controlled by the fear of how I look and am starting to gain my self-confidence again slowly. I feel really relieved and grateful that my hair grew back as it could have been a much worse scenario. So now I have started to really live my life again and do all the things I moved to Brighton to do.
Before it grew back, I just kept telling myself to have patience, and envisioning myself with lovely long hair and telling myself that it’s just a temporary blip in my life that will make me stronger. It has definitely put my problems into perspective. Interestingly, just after I found the first patch in August 2013, I went to a yoga class with a friend. The instructor handed out cards to everybody. Each one had a different word on it that was supposed to provide some insight. The word I was given was ‘patience’ and this is something that I was definitely forced to learn in order to be calm and not freak out. To not have stressful responses to things that I can’t control and to identify the things causing stress that I can control, so they can be eliminated. I believe it was severe stress that triggered this whole thing. So putting a value on myself that enables me to control what I allow into my life and how I am affected by things. Also, I am more in tune with my body’s responses to my external environment. I found that I was confronted with my inner self as I lost connection with my outer self. It was a very scary thing to look in the mirror and not recognise myself or feeling ashamed so I spent a lot of time reading, writing, being creative and doing things that involved bettering my internal self.
I hope this makes sense and hope it helps somebody else.