Gold Medallist Joanna Rowsell On Olympics and Alopecia

joanna rowsell alopecia

Joanna Rowsell has had a busy year. Not only has the cyclist achieved three consecutive world medals, she won an Olympic gold in the velodrome and has been awarded an MBA. The cyclist has also become a poster woman for the hair loss condition alopecia.

By collecting her gold medal without her wig in front of 17 million people, Rowsell became a celebrity overnight after winning the women's pursuit with teammates Laura Trott and Dani King. Speaking to the Mirror newspaper, Rowsell said that she had "no idea" that she was making a statement "or what a huge reaction it would cause".

"I get why people are interested"

Rowsell also discussed how she enjoyed new found confidence after her podium moment, saying: “It was hard to deal with all the attention at first and I was really, really shy about talking about my alopecia then. But I understand it a bit more now.

"I get why people are interested. It’s because I've met a lot of people who've told me they saw me at the Olympics and it changed their perception of the condition. It made them feel able to go out and do things."

Rowsell has had the condition for fourteen years, and is "happy to help" wherever she can in terms of raising awareness of this type of hair loss, which is thought to effect around one in 1000 people at some point in their lifetime.

The Olympic athlete has a collection of wigs in various different colours, but despite her regularly changing appearance she still often gets recognised by fans, though Rowsell says that: "It’s great to know I have helped people and to get tweets and emails from all over the world makes it all worthwhile."

Understanding alopecia

Alopecia can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp (alopecia areata) and total hair loss (alopecia totalis, which is what Rowsell appears to be experiencing). Whilst treating totalis is generally impossible, Belgravia has treated many patients experiencing patchy hair loss on account of the autoimmune disorder using high strength minoxidil cream.

Minoxidil, which can be used by men and women alike, works by stimulating the hair follicles and can achieve regrowth in a matter of weeks. A consultation with a hair loss specialist at Belgravia can confirm your diagnosis, after which a bespoke treatment plan can be compiled.

Whilst men experiencing hair loss generally have genetics to thank, hair loss in women is often due to  environmental factors, and alopecia areata appears to have been triggered by everything from allergies and illness to sudden shocks and long term chronic stress.

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The Belgravia Centre

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.