An Australian journalist who lost her hair to Alopecia Areata has described the moment she realised that what she thought was a minor hair loss condition was something more serious.
Katie Hale, a 23-year-old writer from Sydney, had first noticed a bald patch on her scalp when she was styling her hair for a day at the races. After initially finding it all “quite funny”, she says that the laughter stopped as more hair fell out in the coming months and then, once her GP confirmed that she had Alopecia Areata, she found her shedding was so pronounced that “I was literally pulling my hair out in handfuls and I couldn’t feel a thing.”
Quoted in the Daily Mail, Ms Hale says that “My hair was my identity. I had long, blonde, curly locks. It was so much a part of who I was. If someone was to make a compliment (about me), it was about my hair.”
Hair loss intensified
As with many people diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, the writer found herself increasingly self-conscious as her patchy hair loss intensified. The condition typically comes without warning and is not associated with ill-health or any other symptoms, which leaves those with the complaint feeling shell-shocked and desperate for help. For her part, Ms Hale says that “the stress was awful. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
According to the Mail, the journalist decided that she would seize control of the situation and shave off her remaining hair. “That day was a funny one,” she says. “I cried all the way to the hairdresser. One of my best friends came with me. I cried, she cried, the hairdresser even ended up crying. How do you say goodbye to something that is so part of your identity?”
Immediately upon shaving her head, however, Ms Hale says that she felt like “a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.” No longer trying to conceal the problem, she says it was “out in the open for the whole wide world to see.” She says she felt that she was “owning it”.
Wants hair back
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ms Hale would still like her hair back – she is soon to start a course of immunotherapy in the hope of “shocking” her follicles back into growth. Unfortunately, this particular type of Alopecia Areata treatment is only successful around 40 per cent of the time.
Alopecia Areata is a surprisingly common cause of hair loss, the second most frequently diagnosed after androgenetic alopecia (Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss). Affecting between one and two per cent of the population worldwide, it affects men, women and children and can be mild or severe. Among the triggers said to initiate its onset are sudden shock, long-term stress, and genetic links are also considered a factor although the actual cause of this autoimmune condition are currently unknown.
There are multiple trials around the world that are currently underway as scientists search for a definitive cure for the condition, though a reputable hair loss clinic can already treat Alopecia Areata, depending on the specifics of each case. Belgravia has produced many Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories through using topical applications of high strength minoxidil to treat clients.
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.