An Aussie woman, who lost all her hair in just four weeks, has taken to the web to write a blog about her life-changing experience of being diagnosed with alopecia areata.
Susan Murray, 42, is sharing her story about how a stressful time in her life triggered the alopecia that has left her re-evaluating the important things in life.
The mum-of-two from South Australia said that despite looking after her hair over the years and taking pride in her appearance, she was left with chunks falling out in March of this year and has since been ‘grieving’ for her hair, her femininity and her identity.
Alopecia areata is a condition affecting around 147 million men and women. It occurs when your immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. While it usually happens in children and young adults, it can happen at any age.
The exact cause is unknown, but it is usually a result of trauma or lifestyle factors such as alcohol abuse.
For most people, alopecia areata leaves circles or patches of baldness, but it can sometimes cause some general thinning of the hair or complete loss of all body hair.
There are different treatments for different types of alopecia areata depending on how permanent and how severe the hair loss is, ranging from steroid injections to Psoralen with Ultraviolet A light therapy (PUVA)
The bald and the beautiful?
In her blog “The Bald and The Beautiful?” Susan explains how she disguises her hair loss with head scarves and wigs, as well as using henna tattoos. She discusses the first time she ventured outside with just some material over her bald head and the anxiety she felt.
While hair usually grows back within a year, for around 10% of sufferers, the baldness can be permanent.
An increasingly popular camouflage treatment for patients suffering from alopecia areata is scalp micropigmentation.
Scalp Micropigmentation is a non-surgical technique where natural pigments are applied to the scalp to look like natural regrowth of hair follicles.
Due to the fact that alopecia areata can reoccur and the exact causes are still relatively unknown, micropigmentation on the scalp is a popular cover up. It is permanent, it doesn’t damage the hair follicles and it can be applied to the whole scalp, in case the alopecia reappears in a different area.
For women like Susan, it presents a great alternative to those itchy wigs or regular injections.