Internationally acclaimed blog, book and social media phenomenon, Humans of New York features candid snaps of unnamed people who its photographer, Brandon Stanton thinks look interesting. The images are accompanied by a personal message taken from stories the subjects have told Stanton. Often revealing emotional and moving stories, these tales – and readers’ responses – frequently make headlines across the world.
One of the blog’s most recent entries features a young man with Alopecia Totalis speaking frankly about how he dealt with losing his hair.
Developed alopecia aged 20
Pictured holding up a photo of himself before his hair loss, the mystery man explains, “Alopecia is a weird disease to wrap your head around. It causes your immune system to turn against your body, and your hair falls out.”
“I used to have a big blond fro that was a big part of my identity. It was hard to not get depressed when it disappeared,” he admits. “I started to think: ‘What value do I have if even my body doesn’t like itself?’ As I lost more and more hair, I kept trying to comb my remaining hair over my bald spots. Eventually I had to embrace it. On my 20th birthday, I decided that instead of having a bunch of little bald spots that I don’t like, I’m going to give myself one big one that I do like.”
From the photo it would appear the man’s initial Alopecia Areata – the autoimmune condition which causes patchy hair loss of the scalp – has progressed to the more severe Alopecia Totalis which affects the whole head, including eyebrows and lashes.
Within less than 24 hours the photo received over 318,000 ‘likes’ and had been shared more than 8,500 times on Facebook alone. Of the 9,000+ commenters responding to the entry, many offered support, whilst hundreds of others shared their own experiences of alopecia.
“I was diagnosed with alopecia when I was 7 years old. Since then, it has been such a critical point of my life, and I wouldn’t be a fraction of the person I am today without having lost my hair. You’ll realize just how awesome it is soon enough”, said one man with Alopecia Universalis, the most extreme version of this condition which causes hair loss from head to toe. Jokingly adding, “Besides – no leg hair, no body hair? Come on now. Who’s the real winner.”
Dealing with severe alopecia
Although there are treatments for Alopecia Areata, such as topical preparations of high strength minoxidil, which have been seen to produce significant regrowth results for Belgravia clients, these are generally better suited to mild or moderate stages of the condition.
Whilst researchers are busy trying to develop new treatments for the different types of alopecia, at present there are no proven cures or truly effective treatments for Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis.
The most promising solution currently available is topical immunotherapy which has a success rate of around 40 per cent and comes with a number of side effects. As a result, many men, women and children with these conditions often opt to shave their heads or wear a wig.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.