Back in January we reported on Kayla Martell, who has Alopecia Areata, winning the ‘America’s Choice’ award at the 2011 edition of the Miss America beauty pageant. Now it seems that following on from that success, more beauty pageant judges are opening their minds to interpretations of beauty that include women with hair loss.
At the end of March, 37-year old Sandra Dubose-Gibson was chosen as Mrs. Black North Carolina 2011. Like Ms Martell, Mrs Dubose-Gibson has Alopecia, a hair loss condition which causes varying degrees of hair loss as a result of an auto-immune disorder. Mrs Dubose-Gibson suffers from Alopecia Totalis, in which all hair is lost from the scalp. She lost all of her hair at the age of 25.
By winning the pageant Mrs Dubose-Gibson has become North Carolina’s first beauty queen with a hair loss condition. She plans to use her title of Mrs. Black North Carolina to travel around the state encouraging women from all backgrounds to embrace their inner beauty.
“My mission is to be the catalyst that enables women to heal the experiences that have eroded and challenged their self-esteem,” Mrs Dubose-Gibson said after the competition. “I am here to help them see the beautiful human beings they truly are and boldly celebrate that beauty and strength from the inside out.”
According to local news broadcaster WRAL, Mrs Dubose-Gibson was at first distraught by her hair loss, but eventually realised that her beauty wasn’t defined by her hair. She now works as an inspirational speaker and has started a support group for women with hair loss.
“I was chosen to carry this burden, and it’s not a burden at all. It’s really been a blessing for me,” she told the news channel when discussing her struggle with Alopecia.
What is Alopecia?
There are different types of the hair loss condition Alopecia. Alopecia Areata is a hair loss condition which usually results from patchy hair loss on the scalp at first. In some Alopecia sufferers the condition can progress to Alopecia Totalis, in which all hair is lost from the scalp, as is the case with Mrs Dubose-Gibson. In extreme cases, known as Alopecia Universalis, hair loss spreads across the whole body, including eyelashes and eyebrows. Alopecia sufferers are usually healthy in every other way.
The condition is caused by an auto-immune disorder in which the body’s own defences attack and destroy healthy hair follicles. The exact trigger for the condition remains unknown, but it is thought it can be triggered by shock and periods of extreme stress.
In the case of Alopecia Areata, hair does often re-grow, though the individual remains prone to reoccurrence of the condition, as has been the case for television presenter Gail Porter. Once the condition has resulted in complete baldness and no hair follicles remain however, it becomes permanent and untreatable.
Suffering from Alopecia?
If you think that you may be suffering from Alopecia, the Belgravia Centre can help. Our team of experienced hair loss experts can determine the best course of action and the right hair loss treatment programme to promote re-growth.