At the 2016 Miss America competition (which actually took place this month), Bree Morse – the contest’s Miss California – seized the chance to talk about her personal interests which, to the surprise of many, included the subject of hair loss.
On the eve of the event, Bree, 23, told Newport Beach’s Daily Pilot newspaper that for the speaking part of the contest – where entrants have to open up about something that interests them – she would be talking about her support for America’s National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Hair missing from scalp
It’s a subject that is close to Bree’s heart, the model having discovered that she had Alopecia Areata herself last year.
According to the Daily Pilot, she noticed that a chunk of hair was suddenly missing from her scalp, and while initially too self-conscious to tell her friends and family, she later brought it up with fellow pageant contestants and found herself among a very supportive community.
“When you start losing your hair in the public eye, you start to realise how much you invest in your appearance,” she told the newspaper. “But I quickly learned that your personal beauty isn’t definitive on what’s on your head. It’s about inner beauty.”
Bree is not the only beauty queen to speak openly about being affected by Alopecia Areata; Kayla Martell, former Miss Delaware, is another vocal supporter of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation after her hair loss experiences. Past Miss Singapore Universe title-holder, Marian Nicole To has also spoken of her struggles with patchy hair loss and depression. Miss Black North Carolina, Sandra Dubose-Gibson meanwhile, was the state’s first bald beauty queen, after winning the title whilst bald from Alopecia Universalis.
Alopecia Areata is a prevalent autoimmune disorder which is characterised by the sudden appearance of rounded bald patches on the scalp. These emerge where the hair falls out in clumps, rather than thinning, and can happen anywhere on the scalp. For the more severe strains, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, this can cause complete hair loss from the head and whole body, respectively.
There are multiple factors accepted as ‘initiating’ the onset of all forms of Alopecia Areata, such as sudden shock or trauma, however it is not possible to say for sure exactly why the condition occurs as this is still unknown. A recent neurological study made a significant breakthrough which is hoped will help to finally uncover the cause of autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata, but this has not yet been confirmed.
No permanent cure
Although Alopecia Areata treatment can be effective in the mild-to-moderate stages, when Bree’s doctor told her there was no permanent cure for Alopecia Areata she leveraged her well-known local status to try and persuade local politicians to fund further research into treatments.
In cases where the hair does return, it generally regrows naturally, however one topical treatment that has been seen to produce significant regrowth results when treating Alopecia Areata is Minoxidil, though Bree doesn’t say whether or not she tried it. She did say, however, that by sharing her story with fellow contestants she developed some lasting friendships.
Bree’s experience of Alopecia Areata is a reminder, perhaps, that no one need face the condition alone. There are several well-regarded support groups such as Alopecia UK, Alopecia Awareness and BeBold, and finding someone to talk to who has been through the condition and has experience of treatment options, long-term prognoses and even practical advice such as where to buy good-quality wigs can be a huge help.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.