Bald Girls Do Lunch (BGDL) was set up by Thea Chassin who developed a type of hair loss called Alopecia Universalis in 1997. This is the most severe form of Alopecia Areata which is hair loss caused by an auto-immune disorder. The hair loss starts off being patchy; for some sufferers those bald patches will re-grow hair, while for others it can lead to Alopecia Totalis (total loss of scalp hair) or Alopecia Universalis (total loss of scalp and body hair).
Since 2005 Chassin has travelled across the United States and visited 33 cities to bring together women who have the condition. There are approximately 4 million sufferers in the USA. The women who attend these lunches have the opportunity to share experiences and try on or take off their wigs.
A video of one of these lunch gatherings recently featured on NBC’s Today Show. In it, the women discuss how other people view them; Karen Peterik says, “they assume we have cancer” in spite of the fact that “it is a fairly common condition that affects upto 2% of the population”. Peterik also talks about how hair loss makes women feel: “The worst thing ever is the transition of losing your hair. You go through all the stages of grief – you’re sad, you’re angry, you feel sorry for yourself, you’re just beside yourself.”
Another Alopecia Areata sufferer, Stephanie Walter, says, “Eventually my doctor is like, ‘I think you have Alopecia’ and sent me to a dermatologist, and she’s like ‘here’s a pamphlet, there’s nothing we can do for you’.”
Mavis Jackson, who prefers not to wear a wig, talks about the moment she decided to shave her head. “I tried weaves in the beginning when I couldn’t cover up the patches anymore but it just didn’t work for me,” says Jackson who describes the first time she went to a barbers shop to get her head shaved as a “very emotional moment in my life”.
These women are great examples of how women can learn to live with the condition and remain positive, healthy and happy individuals. But it is sad that some medical professionals still do not have good knowledge about the condition. In some cases it is possible to use a course of hair loss treatments. The Belgravia Centre has successfully treated mild or early-stage Alopecia Areata, using treatment programmes based mainly around high strength minoxidil.
If you are suffering from Alopecia Areata and would like to find out whether treatment could help, it is important to have a consultation with a Belgravia specialist as early as possible. The Belgravia Centre offers free consultations in its London-based clinic or via the website. To book, call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will contact you within two working days.
Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories
“My hair has grown 90% in six months…”
“My (bald) patches are almost gone…”
“The regrowth is progressing… Can’t recommend highly enough. Fantastic!”