Book a FREE consultation  
For a free consultation or assistance, please call 020 7730 6666

Browse by Category

Women Say Alopecia Universalis is a Condition, ‘Not a Disease’

Losing all of the hair on your head and body to the rare autoimmune condition Alopecia Universalis is undeniably life-changing, but as four women with the condition recently agreed, it isn’t the end of the world.

Mistaken identity

Alopecia Universalis is a Condition Not a Disease Say WomenIn an article written in the New York Times by novelist Helen Phillips, who has Alopecia Universalis herself, she describes a recent lunch date (pictured) which she had with three other New York women who have the same cause of hair loss.

“Though I have never met my three doppelgängers,” she writes, “I know them, in a way.” Ever since 2011, she explains, when after 18 years of baldness she stopped wearing scarves to conceal her condition, strangers have been greeting her warmly, having confused her with someone else. For the article, she met up with three of the most likely candidates to talk about their hair loss.

Costume supervisor Megan Sanders was first mistaken for fashion designer-turned-filmmaker Rachel Fleit three years ago when on her way to a meeting in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. Megan already knew of Rachel from previous cases of mistaken identity. The fourth member of the group, branding specialist Brittany Myers, lost her hair when she was 25.

Helen PhillipsDon’t call it a ‘disease’

Helen, pictured right, writes that the meeting brought up a number of interesting points, including a deep appreciation for living in New York city, where a bald woman is “rarely the oddest thing anyone has ever seen on a given day”. They also share a reticence to call Alopecia Universalis – the most severe form of Alopecia Areata – a “disease”. “Disease feels like too strong a term for a problem that is not life (or even health-) threatening,” writes Helen.

I hate it when people say that I ‘suffer’ from alopecia,” says Rachel. “And I don’t like it when it’s called a disease or disorder.” Brittany concurs: “When people are like, ‘What’s alopecia?’ I’m like, ‘It’s an autoimmune thing that happens,’ because I don’t want to say disorder, I don’t want to say disease.”

Not easy to come to terms with

The article also highlights how difficult it has been for the four to come to terms with their hair loss “situation” – as Rachel jokingly calls it.

WigHelen and Rachel, who both lost their hair through childhood alopecia, admit to heightened self-consciousness whenever they are around youngsters, memories of trying to keep their hair loss from their classmates difficult to erase. Rachel explains that she even slept in her wig the entire time she was a freshman at college because she didn’t want to tell her roommate the truth.

Brittany, meanwhile, recalls the evening she had forgotten to put her bandana into her gym bag: “I just couldn’t do it (go out into the gym). I just had a nervous breakdown in the changing room.”

As there is currently no truly effective treatment for Alopecia Universalis, all four women have come to embrace their hair loss as part of who they are. As Helen says: “We have discovered that it is possible for one’s hairlessness to go from feeling like a threat to one’s identity to feeling like an essential part of one’s identity.”

Belgravia CentreThe 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.

Related Stories

Share this article

No Comments

No comments yet.

Comment on this article

* required field

Will not be published

Online Consultation

Submit an instant online consultation so that one of Belgravia’s hair loss specialists can diagnose your condition and recommend an effective course of treatment, wherever you live.

25 Oct

‘Hair Loss Advice for Treating a Thinning Hair Around Hairline’

Name: Maryam Question: My hair is thinning a lot from the front need advice what to do Answer: Hi, Maryam. There are a couple of hair loss conditions that could be causing this. If your hair thinning is only on the top – around the hairline or thinning edges at the temple areas – this is likely to be female […]

Read full article »
25 Oct

Rapper Common Says Baldness is Overrated

Having a smooth scalp may be part of his signature look but stylish Academy Award-winning rapper and actor, Common says “being bald is overrated.” The Terminator Salvation star discussed his hair loss in a recent ‘Over/Under’ interview for Pitchfork Media where he was asked to rate topics and explain why. Losing his hair Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Common […]

Read full article »
24 Oct

Success Story Alert! New Male Hair Loss Treatment Entry

A new entry has just been added to Belgravia’s Male Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories gallery. After consulting a Belgravia Centre hair loss specialist, this client has seen some excellent progress at his check-ups. Find out what he had to say and see his regrowth results close up, or find out more about treating Male Pattern Baldness by clicking […]

Read full article »