A fashion designer who lost hair due to alopecia totalis at the age of just 18 months has spoken out about she manages her condition, including choosing clothes that compliment her baldness. Rachel Fleit, who is the creative director for the hip New York-based womenswear brand Honor NYC, told Refinery 29: "After 30 years of being bald, I know what works and what doesn't work."
Speaking candidly, Fleit explained that she steers clear of structured blazers and dresses because they make her look like a "Svedka vodka fembot" and prefers more feminine cuts, with floaty, soft shapes being a favourite. Fleit is also a fan of accessorising, and enjoys adding big scarves and dangly earrings to her looks.
The fashionista likes to keep it simple in the day in terms of make-up, though she employs darker eyeshadows to glam up her look at night. In terms of style icons, Fleit cites Blondie singer Debbie Harry, Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross, Bianca Jagger, Barbra Streisand and "Cher in the 60s". However, Fleit hasn't always been so comfortable in her own skin, admitting that coming to terms with her hair loss has been a "deeply layered process".
Fleit wore wigs everyday from the age of four until her college years, when she decided to ditch them and be open about her alopecia and "stop hiding", and whilst she used to craft multiple scarves into large turbans, these days she leaves her head uncovered more often than not.
In order to help her come to terms with her condition, Fleit started attending annual alopecia conferences in order to be part of a support network of young people with the hair loss condition. Speaking about living with the disorder, Fleit commented: "This condition isn't a physical illness, in no way am I sick, I just have no hair. It has a psychological and emotional impact on me."
Alopecia totalis cannot be treated, however alopecia areata, where hair loss is patchy on the scalp, can in some circumstances be tackled with a hair loss treatment programme. By using a high strength minoxidil cream, Belgravia have successfully treated many cases of alopecia areata, and a hair loss specialist will be able to establish whether your individual case is likely to benefit from using the topical medication.
Because alopecia areata (and totalis, when the whole scalp is bald, and universalis, where all body hair is lost) is an auto-immune disorder, it is tricky to treat. This type of hair loss occurs when the body attacks its own anagen hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth, and it cannot be "cured".
Like another form of hair loss in women, the genetic condition female pattern hair loss, treating alopecia is about managing the condition rather than eradicating it. And for women who are struggling to come to terms with their hair loss, Fleit advises: "Be comfortable in your own skin and the beauty will shine right out of you."
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.