Acclaimed fashion magazine Vogue has been winning critical acclaim for a beautifully-shot and thought-provoking article featuring nine women who have all suffered from hair loss.
“For the nine smart, spirited and deeply stylish women in this portfolio, hair loss arrived as the result of an unexpected health diagnosis,” explains the introduction to the feature on vogue.com, which goes on to explain how the nine women began experimenting with wigs, hats and scarves as they searched for a new identity.
Broad range of backgrounds
The women featured in the article come from a broad range of backgrounds and arrived at their hair loss situation because of an assortment of medical conditions.
Carly Severn, who sports a floppy brimmed hat in the Vogue shoot, lost all of the hair on her head to alopecia by the age of 18, with her eyebrows and eyelashes quickly following. Her eyebrow-drawing beauty tutorials have become an internet sensation.
Filmmaker Rachel Fleit, who has no brows or lashes either, is pictured in a turban. Bald from alopecia since the childhood, she explains, “The irony is, no one told me I was beautiful when I wore a wig… Now, someone tells me I’m beautiful every day.”
Although their conditions are not named specifically in the piece, we suspect they are Alopecia Totalis, which causes hair loss from the entire head, or Alopecia Universalis which presents as total hair loss across the whole body. Whilst research is ongoing, at this time there are no cures and limited treatments for Alopecia Totalis or Universalis.
Maggie Kudirka, a ballerina with the prestigious Joffrey company, lost her hair whilst undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the age of 23. She tells Vogue that cancer has made her a better dancer because, “I never know if it’s my last time in the studio so I’m living each rehearsal to the fullest.” In her Vogue photograph she sports a striking blonde wig, cut in a long bob.
“As an African-American woman who practically grew up in a salon, my hair was my crown and glory,” says Broadway actress Valisa Lekae who lost her afro hair to ovarian cancer. She took the bold step of embracing baldness by ditching her wig to walk the red carpet at the Grammys.
Sadly, one of the ladies in the article, 17-year-old fashion blogger Mia Sidaros, who was suffering from bone cancer, passed away shortly after the shoot.
Hair loss brought on by medical treatment
Hair loss from cancer treatment is one of the most common reasons why women suddenly enter into a whole new world of wigs, hats and headscarves. For many, it is a second devastating blow that comes only a short time after diagnosis and is brought on by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy hair loss happens gradually, a week or two after treatment, and occurs because the drugs being used to attack the cancer cells often attack healthy cells, too – including those responsible for the creation of hair.
Radiation therapy often causes hair loss of an even more rapid nature. When high-energy radiation rays are directed onto the scalp, they can damage hair follicles and cause the hair to fall out. In some cases, and depending on the levels of radiation, the hair loss can be permanent.
Hair often grows back
For around 75 per cent of cancer patients whose therapy leads to hair loss, however, regrowth occurs quite naturally within a year. Unfortunately, in some – relatively rare – instances, the trauma of the diagnosis and the subsequent treatment triggers the onset of genetic hair loss.
In some cases, hairloss treatment programmes may help; The Belgravia Centre’s Senior Trichologist Leonora Doclis advises cancer patients concerned about hair loss to discuss the matter with both their medical team and a hair loss specialist to find out what options are available.
People affected by any of the different types of alopecia may also find that their hair regrows naturally, although if or when this will happen is impossible to tell. This kind of hair loss occurs when the body temporarily suspends hair production; the follicles lay dormant until they receive the signal to resume work. However, particularly in cases of Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis this can be hard to influence. For those diagnosed with the milder form, Alopecia Areata, there are options available, however.
Treatment for Alopecia includes topical applications of high strength minoxidil which have been seen to produce significant regrowth for Belgravia clients in the mild-to-moderate stages of this autoimmune condition.
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.