Losing your hair can be a traumatic experience for men, but for women the experience can be even more frightening. For years men have walked the streets with receding hairlines, bald patches, shaven bonces and in some cases heads as bald and shiny as an egg. Some have chosen to sport wigs, others accept it and carry on as normal.
Not all men find it easy but it’s fair to say that women find hair loss particularly hard. Hair is seen as an integral part of the top-to-toe look, a demonstration of your personality and a statement of your style. If you lose your hair you lose one form of self-expression and that can be difficult to deal with. There are ways of dealing with the issue, authentic wigs, stylish hats and pretty scarves can hide the problem, however the social stigma associated with baldness and hair loss can prove overwhelming.
What Is Alopecia?
Millions of people worldwide are affected by the common autoimmune disorder called Alopecia Areata. The illness causes unpredictable hair loss, whereby small bald patches develop on the sufferer’s head. Although it’s not common, there have been cases where people have lost all of the hair on theirhead, this is described as Alopecia Totalis. Going to a more extreme level we also have Alopecia Universalis. This condition causes those suffering from it to lose all of their body hair. Alopecia is not contagious and the sufferer will not feel ill, but this is an emotionally distressing ailment that can cause anxiety and stress.
Symptoms of Alopecia.
Alopecia can be difficult to spot. There tends to be patches of hair loss, but they are not always easy to see. A hairdresser may spot the patches when you go for a trim. Sometimes the patches grow over time, they often start in the middle of the scalp and grow in size. Some sufferers report that they feel an itchy sensation (some describe it as a tingling feeling) centred around the bald patches.
The patches, on occasion,are said to have a pinkish hue to them, though again that is not always the case.In more serious cases hair can fall out in larger clumps. This can be very disconcerting and result in larger, much more noticeable bald patches. Alopecia doesn’t just decimate the hair on your head, it can also cause the loss of eyelashes, brows, nasal hair and any facial hair too.
Causes of Alopecia.
Alopecia can be caused by a number of issues. Hair loss can be hereditary, it can simply run in the family and it’s thought that one in five people with Alopecia Areatahas a family member that has also experienced the same problem. Alopecia can also be triggered by illness or stress or by receiving treatment for other conditions, such as cancer – chemotherapycan cause cancer sufferers to lose their hair. It has been suggested that weight loss and iron deficiency can play their part in bringing on hair loss. It’s also been noted that women who have just given birth might experience hair loss temporarily (this could last for up to three months post birth).
Treatment of Alopecia.
There is no definitive cure for Alopecia. However, there isgood news for those suffering from the condition. Those with only a few bald spots might find that the condition improves by itself (this often happens very quickly).For some the hair needs a little more encouragement to re-grow and treatment is offered that can spur on this growth.
One of the most popular forms of medication includes corticosteroids -powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. Corticosteroids are delivered to the patient via ointment, by mouth or through an injection. There are other well-known drugs that could also help, these include: Minoxidil, Anthralin, SADBE, and DPCP. It’s important for patients to understand that medication can’t stop bald patches from appearing, but it can prompt the hair to grow back faster.
You don’t have to hide your Alopecia, people are often more understanding than you think. But for many explaining their condition is just another thing to worry about. If you would rather keep your hair loss quiet or aren’t comfortable exposing it to others you can go for the cover up.
Wigs have come a long way over the years, they are no longer look synthetic and obvious. They fit well and can provide the wearer with self-assurance and confidence. Wigs are available in an array of colours and styles, long and short, curly and straight and in all the colours of the rainbow. Many people choose to wear wigs as a fashion statement, whether they experiencing hair loss problems or not. A wig can instantly update your look and you can be whoever you want. Blonde on a Monday, a bob for Tuesday, loose long curls for Wednesday, straight brunette locks for Thursday and casual waves for Friday. At the weekend go short and sassy for convenience and a sexy look! Buying a wig doesn’t have to be intimidating either. Reputable stores offer a discreet and considered service and can provide one-to-one advice and support.
As an alternative to a wig, or in addition to you could go for a hat or scarf to cover up. There are so many designs of both on the market you will be spoilt for choice. Not only do they look good but they are also great on a practical level – keeping your head warm when it’s chilly and also keeping those burning rays from scorching your bonce.
Not Covering Up.
Hair doesn’t just enhance our looks, it’s also the protective cover for our head. If you aren’t covering up you need to keep a few things in mind. If you are sitting in the garden or venturing out on a sunny day you will need think about protecting your head from sunburn. If you really don’t want to wear a sunhat, wig or scarf then you should slather on the sun cream.
We’ve briefly touched on the fact that Alopecia can also lead to the loss of eyelashes, eyebrows and nostril hair.
All of which play their part in protecting delicate areas of the face. Eyelashes and brows protect the eyes (so glasses may be helpful as a preventative measure). Nostril hair coats the inside of our nose to moisten membranes, and ointment can be used to do this job in its place.
Coping with Alopecia.
Hair loss can have a huge negative impact on confidence and self-assurance. Simple social situations can cause anxiety and anything like going to the gym, the beach or visiting a swimming pool can be traumatic. Sufferers worry whether they should explain their hair loss or try and cover it up. Those coping with alopecia often questions their attractiveness, they worry about what others think of them and feel very exposed. They may worry they are not as sexy, or that their partners will find them less desirable. If you are suffering from women’s Alopecia you should seek support from friends and family. There are also external support groups who can lend a sympathetic ear and provide an opportunity to talk to like-minded people going through the same difficult experience.
As we’ve already pointed out hair loss isn’t just a problem for mature men of a certain age. It can strike men and women, young and old, hair loss doesn’t discriminate. It’s normal to lose some hair, we shed hair naturally and can lose up to 100 hairs every day. However, have you started to notice excessive hair loss? This will be obvious from the amount of hairs on your brush, and the excess hair on your pillow, and you may also notice excess hair in the showers and possibly blocking the drain. You might find that your hair begins to thin naturally or that hair loss will be more aggressive and you will lose hair more quickly and in larger amounts.
Do not shy away from the problem, Alopecia is nothing at all to be embarrassed about. You need to seek support and address the issue so you can get on with your life. Whether you choose to cover up with a hat, wig or scarf or dare to bare it’s important to remember that YOU are still YOU. Your hair is merely an extension of you as a person so do not fall into the trap of hiding away. Get out there and live life!