Whilst August is now internationally recognised as ‘Hair Loss Month’, forms caused by autoimmune disorders belong to September, the annual Alopecia Awareness Month.
Alopecia Areata in all its various phenotypes is discussed and covered in the media more than normal throughout September, with a view to educating the public and supporting those experiencing this sudden hair loss.
Each year the leading UK hair loss charity, Alopecia UK also runs a campaign for the duration of the month, usually involving empowering and helping to provide a safe space for those affected.
Sharing selfies using #THISISME
The 2018 theme for Alopecia UK’s Alopecia Awareness Month activities is inspired by a song from top musical, The Greatest Showman. After hearing just how deeply the song about self-confidence and acceptance, ‘This is Me’ resonated with many community members, via the charity’s private Facebook page, the organisation decided to adopt the Keala Settle show tune to help inspire its members.
Taking inspiration from the line “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me,” the charity is encouraging alopecians to open up and share selfies and videos on social media. All they ask is that they proudly display their authentic selves – with or without hats, wigs, scarves or makeup – and use the song title as its hashtag, #THISISME. You can hear the song and its powerful lyrics via the video below.
Alopecia UK has produced an easy-to-follow guide with ideas and helpful advice for to how to get involved, from adding a ‘This Is Me’ Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile photos, to downloadable signs people can print off.
Sources of information on Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata – the group of conditions that range from Alopecia Areata (patchy hair loss of the scalp only) to Alopecia Universalis (complete baldness from head-to-toe) – can affect men, women and children of any age, race and hair type. They can occur when the hair growth cycle is disrupted and follicles which would otherwise be involved in normal, active hair production, shut down, becoming dormant. How long this inactivity will last is unknown and, even – as is the case with the majority of scalp-only cases – if the hair regrows naturally, it may recur at a later date.
Alopecia tends to come on suddenly, which can be especially traumatic, as can the fact that it is still somewhat enigmatic with the precise cause being unknown. Certain triggers have been identified, however, and include sudden shock, intense stress or trauma – such as a death or divorce – as well as certain allergies and a genetic element being suspected.
There are currently limited and largely unreliable treatment options for the most severe forms, though effective Alopecia Areata treatment is possible for the scalp-only form, particularly for adults aged 16 and over. For those wishing to find out more about these hair loss conditions, there are many online and physical resources but it is important to seek out respected, credible sources. The Belgravia hair loss blog has many articles that may be helpful in the Alopecia Areata section, whilst other reliable sources include the NHS website and specialist organisations’ sites, such as the Alopecia UK website.
For those aged 16 and over, if the shedding is from the scalp, a hair loss specialist is a good port of call as they will be able to assess the situation and tailor a custom treatment plan, where appropriate, as well as answer any questions. For adults losing hair from all over their head – including facial hair, eyebrows, eyelashes etc – and under 16s with any type of sudden hair fall, a doctor or dermatologist is the best option for advice and information on potential treatments, whilst psychotherapy can also be beneficial in helping those affected to cope.
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.