We recently reported on an Alopecia Areata support group based in the North East of England, called Woman Warriors by Panache Group.
Following appearances on This Morning and widespread media coverage around the UK due to their new celebrity ambassador, actor Sherrie Hewson
, some of the women have now taken part in a video for the BBC.
Rounding off this year's Alopecia Awareness Month, which happens every September, the local BBC North East and Cumbria news put together an inspirational video regarding alopecia acceptance and educating people on the autoimmune disorder which disrupts the hair growth cycle
It causes various degrees of suddenly occurring hair loss
, from patchy spots on the scalp, to complete baldness from head to toe, and can be devastating to those affected.
Going wigless and shaving heads
As part of an awareness effort regarding Alopecia Areata, Woman Warriors by Panache Group organised a charity head-shaving event. Inspired by the men and women getting their hair cut off, some of the women with various forms of autoimmune alopecia
also decided to go wig-less - one for the very first time. Continues below...
Talking at the event about how it felt to brave the shave, one of the Warrior Women admitted she was incredibly nervous and had cried a few times but, once her head had been shaved, she felt "liberated
In a heart-warming follow-up video posted to the group's Facebook page, rocking her bald look and making a focal point of her eyes with some incredibly glam makeup, she noted the positive reaction she'd had from parents and children during the school run the next day. Although she explained she still had to debut her smooth scalp at work, she wasn't worried about this next challenge as she had supportive co-workers who were all coming in with 'crazy hair' in a show of solidarity.
Common form of hair loss
Alopecia Areata is the second most common hair loss condition
behind androgenetic alopecia - better known as Male and Female Pattern Baldness. Despite this, there is still relatively little known about its pathogenesis. Whilst a number of triggers have been identified - from sudden shock, intense stress and trauma to allergies and a potential genetic link - what actually causes the body to start attacking its own hair follicles remains something of a mystery.
Whilst there are a number of Alopecia Areata treatment
options for the scalp-only form, there have been limited and largely unsuccessful choices for those with the more severe phenotypes, such as Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis
. Now though, there are three separate pharmaceutical companies who have been awarded Fast Track or Breakthrough
status by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in America, for a mix of topical and oral treatments they are currently working on to treat these conditions. Should all go well with the remaining clinical trials, it is hoped these drugs may be ready for prescription by 2022.