A contestant in the Miss Great Grimsby leg of the national Miss England contest has spoken out about the hair loss she has grown up with that has been caused by Alopecia Areata.
Chloe Ashford-Smith first started losing her hair to the autoimmune disorder when she was still a baby, and she spent most of her childhood and teenage years trying to come to terms with the condition.
It has left her with large, hair-free patches on her head, and it has also caused Chloe’s eyebrows and eyelashes to fall out, suggesting that her Alopecia Areata has progressed to a more-extreme, related condition – Alopecia Totalis. Whilst Aloepcia Areata causes patchy hair loss to the scalp, it only rarely affecst the eyebrows and lashes, though this is always the case with Alopecia Totalis which causes total hair loss from the head as scalp, facial hair, brows and eyelashes all fall out.
Step into the limelight
Despite bullying and abuse at school and a life very much affected by a condition over which she has no control, Chloe decided to step into the limelight for the recent Grimsby heat of the competition, and while she didn’t make it through to the next round, she has done wonders for fellow Alopecia Areata sufferers and also her own self-esteem.
In a strange twist of fate, the person who did win the Grimsby heat is local journalist Laura Gooderham, who also happened to be the one to write about her fellow competitor in the Grimsby Telegraph. In a long and moving article about Chloe’s struggles with Alopecia Areata, Laura reveals how the International Relations and Peace Studies graduate would wear caps, hats and bandanas to conceal her hair shedding throughout junior school, and that she actually had her first wig made when she was just six.
In the article, Chloe is quoted as saying: “Your appearance is concentrated on so much these days, so losing your hair is an even harder thing to deal with. It changes your appearance so much you feel like you’ve lost who you are. I’d wake up and see my pillow covered in hair.”
Chloe says that one of the worst aspects of her Alopecia Areata is that it takes her such a long time to get ready before going out – something which has led to accusations that she is vain. “I’ve been called fake and stuck up, and it hurts,” she says.
Belgravia hair loss specialists have found that customised Alopecia Areata treatment can often be successful when the condition causes patches to the scalp only. By combining high strength minoxidil medications with appropriate Hair Growth Boosters into custom treatment courses, it can produce results for many clients, some of whom are shown in our Success Stories gallery.
In cases of more severe autoimmune hair loss, such as Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – which cause total baldness of the head, and head and body respectively – there are no truly effective treatments available at present. Those that are offered – such as steroid injections or topical immunotherapy – tend to have low success rates. Continues below…
For her part, Chloe says that when she was younger, she would go for twice-weekly visits to the local hospital to undergo UV light treatment try and get her hair to grow, an option that does in some cases see positive results after about 12 months of regular sessions.
Next, when her hair was “at its worst” a couple of years ago, she tried steroids which were injected into her scalp. These too can sometimes be effective, especially on small patches, but they come with multiple possible side-effects and Chloe found them painful.
In desperation, Chloe also tried reflexology and Indian head massage, as well as dosing up on extra vitamins. The problem, however, is that her hair loss comes and goes and she’s never quite sure which lifestyle changes and treatment options she is using that are having any effect.
“As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt to accept this is something I have and that it will be with me for life,” she tells the newspaper. “I honestly thought the best treatment for me was to just be happy in myself and stress-free. I found when I learnt to relax and forget about it, my hair would start to grow back.”
Given that another person with Alopecia Areata is in the running for Mr England, it would have been nice for Chloe to have made it through to the July finals, and she certainly wouldn’t have been the only person with the condition to have gone all the way in a major beauty event.
Kayla Martell, Miss Delaware 2010, began losing her hair to Alopecia Areata when she was 10, while 2016’s Miss California, whose name is Bree Morse, opted to talk about her own battle with Alopecia Areata during the speaking part of the competition.
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.