Finding love can be a tricky business at the best of times but when you suffer from hair loss, dating can bring extra anxieties. Australian, Michelle Law, who lost her hair to the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata, explains what it's like to date when you're a bald woman and why she started to blog about her experiences.
The cause of Alopecia is unknown but it can be triggered by stress or trauma. The hair follicles prematurely enter the Telogen (resting) phase, lying dormant awaiting a signal to resume hair production, which leads to patchy hair loss. Although people with this particular condition may start to resume normal hair growth at any time, it cannot be predicted if or when this may happen.
Michelle, has been completely bald for the majority of her dating career and has also been without her eyebrows and eyelashes - a sign of Alopecia Totalis - for the past three years. She spoke openly to the newspaper Daily Life about her insecurities when it comes to meeting men.
"A huge part of dating is about making yourself appear attractive enough for someone to want to spend time with you and potentially have sex with you a task that is, in my experience, fraught with feelings of anxiety, deception and fear." She added, "It makes dating hard. Particularly as a young woman someone whose physical appearance is weighted above all else as her most defining and valued characteristic."
Whilst there are treatments for Alopecia available to help spur the hair follicles back into action, including minoxidil which we have found to produce significant results for Belgravia clients, it is important to seek help as early as possible in order to have the best chance of seeing regrowth.
Despite it being uncomfortable for her, Michelle chooses to wear a wig for dates in order to make her partner feel more comfortable. Because of this, she has developed a checklist which she runs through before each date.
Michelle reveals, "The questions include: Will it be windy? Will it be cold enough to wear a hat for added security? What if he feels the base of my wig while we're kissing? And then there's the terrifying prospect of the date night: What if he asks why I can't maintain certain positions or enact repetitive jolting movements? What if his hand, or worse, brushes off both my eyebrows? If my wig falls off do I explain myself or feign surprise? I imagine if my baldness were exposed, both of us would be startled, before saying an awkward goodbye and then never speaking again."
Dating is about getting to know someone which involves being open and honest with them - something Michelle struggled with. "When you aren't up front about your baldness, dating involves a certain degree of deception, which isn't a healthy place for a relationship to start. I knew that people were taking me, literally, at face value, when my appearance was something I'd meticulously crafted over hours in the privacy of my own bathroom."
These extra pressures surrounding concealing her hair loss condition only served to heighten the already looming fear of rejection that many daters experience. As Michelle says, "My appearance was a sham, but I kept it a secret because I feared flat-out rejection....But more than rejection, I feared the notion that people would find it impossible to separate my physical state from who I was as a person."
Michelle decided she wanted to be 'upfront' from the start about who she was and what she really looked like. She started writing a blog called Single Asian Female where she documented her alopecia and dating adventures. Her reasoning being, "I could direct him to the blog without having to explain my condition for the millionth time. If the right guy came along, he'd be comfortable with the truth which he did, and he is."
Whilst her experience turned out well, Michelle is still acutely aware of the stigma attached to being a bald woman when dating. "When your dateability is entwined with your physical appearance, being a bald woman can make you feel like you don't have options. Losing your hair doesn't physically hurt, but the fallout can be profoundly psychologically damaging, when feelings of innate self-worth and confidence are challenged... and you're made to feel as though the only attention you inspire or deserve is anything but romantic."
Speaking about the many women with hair loss who have shared their stories with her since starting her blog, she concludes, "We're dateable and know this ourselves; we're just waiting for everyone else to catch on."
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.