A Singaporean woman who lost her hair first to Alopecia Areata and then to the more extreme Alopecia Universalis has taken to Facebook to talk about her hair loss and to reach out to others with similar conditions.
Twenty-three-year-old Chan See Ting explained in her Facebook post that Alopecia Areata first struck in July 2013 and that she only found out when her hairdresser noticed a coin-sized bald patch on her scalp. Since then, life has been less than easy.
The Straits Times newspaper, who picked up the story, explain that Ms See Ting went public with her condition because, she says, “I don’t want people to feel alone as I did.”
The social media announcement attracted more than 600 likes and 15,000 shares, with many commenting on Ms See Ting’s bravery for sharing her story.
“I’m not sure how many people out there are struggling with the same disease,” she wrote in the Facebook posting. “But I know somewhere out there there are people too afraid to admit that the image reflected in the mirror scares them and they don’t know who to turn to. They will be trying ways to cover up their baldness, and they will find that despair becomes a very familiar visitor.”
Ms See Ting’s honest post especially struck a chord with a number of other Singaporeans who got in touch to explain that they, too, had hair loss conditions. They planned to meet up and even mooted the idea of forming a support group as well as putting on a fashion show featuring all bald models.
Perhaps not realising the overwhelming impact her words would have or how widely they would resonate, Chan See Ting subsequently removed the post and made her account private. She has, however, spoken at conferences and given interviews to help raise awareness and understanding of this autoimmune condition, helping to inspire others and dispel many rumours about alopecia, including the fact that some people wrongly believe it to be contagious.
Tried various treatments
Ms See Ting’s own hair loss journey has been a rocky one: after the initial bald spot came the appearance of further patches, which lead to steroid treatment at a local dermatology clinic. A year later, however, Ms See Ting’s hair loss returned with a vengeance and she began a topical treatment which worked wonders right up until April 2015 when all of her hair fell out within just three weeks.
The Straits Times also reports that See Ting started losing her eyebrows and body hair as well, suggesting that she now has Alopecia Universalis. This form of Alopecia is its rarest and results in total loss of hair all over the head and body.
Although Belgravia specialists find certain high strength minoxidil formulations can produce significant regrowth results for clients with moderate Alopecia Areata, truly effective treatment methods for the more severe Alopecia Totalis and Universalis remain elusive.
This is currently an area of fervent research activity with drugs known as Janus Kinase (JAK) Inhibitors having a high success rate in clinical trials. One product, tofacitinib citrate, sold under the brand name Xeljanz, is a rheumatoid arthritis drug which is currently being tested both orally and topically to see if it can successfully and safely restore hair in people with different forms of autoimmune-related alopecia.
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.