Friday, 26 June 2015

The Alopecia Diaries // Part I - What Is Alopecia & My History With It

Alopecia: an auto-immune disorder/disease, affecting men, women and children of any age, where the body's immune system wrongly attacks the hair follicles, inhibiting new growth and causes existing hair to fall out. There are three different types of alopecia:


Alopecia Areata (AA): hair loss occurring in patches, usually small and round, anywhere on the body.
Alopecia Totalis (AT): total loss of the hair on the scalp.

Alopecia Universalis (AU): total loss of all hair on the body.

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Hey guys, so this post is going to be quite different to the usual light-hearted, cheerful, makeup reviews on here and its probably going to be scatty as... but bare with me.

Within the last two to three month's I'd noticed that I was losing quite a bit of hair during washing, brushing and just running my fingers through it. At the beginning, I didn't think too much of it but as time went on I knew there was something wrong. This day last week, as I looked in the mirror at my freshly washed wet hair my heart sank, I broke out in a cold sweat and tears streamed down my eyes. There it was .. a perfectly round shiny bald patch neatly positioned just shy of my centre parting.

My alopecia is back.

My brain went into overdrive trying to think of what triggered it, but that's the thing with Alopecia. There is no scientific cause. I wasn't something I ingested or came into contact with, my lovely immune system just declared war on certain hair follicles and decided to get rid.
Stress is said to be a big contributor along with other underlying conditions such as eczemathyroid disease, vitiligolupusrheumatoid arthritisulcerative colitis and I've even read that people who suffer from hay fever are more likely to develop it.

My history with alopecia.

This is my third time to have Alopecia and I count myself both unlucky and lucky. Unlucky because, this is my third time to have my hair fall out but lucky because I know what's happening, I know (within reason) what to expect and I know that I'll be fine.

The previous two times I had it however, I was quite stressed, 7/8years old (being bullied in school) and 14/15years old (when my parents were separating). During both those times, my parents decided to go down the natural route in terms of treatment. Homemade remedies, tonics and natural shampoos etc. and thankfully, my hair grew back!

This time is a little different, in that I don't feel like I'm overly stressed, but it could just be an accumulation of a few different things over the last 6/8 months, but really it's anyone's guess.

What's next?

To start with I've booked myself in to get my hair cut on Saturday, Not wholly necessary, but my lengths are very dry, full of split ends and gets extremely knotty which doesn't help so it's due a good cut. My hair, in general, is also very thick and heavy, so I'll get a good bit taken off the lengths and get some nice layers cut into it to make it lighter and puts less strain on my scalp, this isn't going to stop my hair falling out due to alopecia, but it'll help my hair in general and when your hair is falling out, every little helps! I'll also be melting the head of my hairdresser with questions and getting as much information and recommendations (both general haircare and products) from her as possible.

Then there's the treatment. I've also decided this time that I owe it to myself to see if I have an underlying disorder that could possibly be contributing to my alopecia, my Father has thyroid issues, so it's certainly no harm to get myself checked out. I've made an appointment with my local GP on Monday to talk about the condition and hopefully get a blood test done and go from there. I haven't had a blood test done that I can remember, I might have had some done as a child because I used to black out the whole time, but certainly none in the last 20 years. I definitely think its time to change that.

I'll also be going down the route my parents took before as I know I benefited from it. If memory serves me right, a sample of my hair is taken to be tested and natural remedies and diet/lifestyle changes are used to treat the issue.

Hopefully I'll get some answers and I can start growing in my little patch!

To wrap things up.

I decided to write this post because Alopecia, no matter what age or gender is SCARY and even though I've had it before, it doesn't make dealing with it any easier.

Unfortunately, life is a bitch, but  I know I'm not the only one with Alopecia and there are great sites such as Alopecia.ie, AlopeciaIreland.ie  and even the Philip Kingsley site has some info on the disorder.

So please don't feel like your on your own, because you're not! There are so many people out there going through the same thing. but they're not going to find you, you have to find them.

I hope, that in following my little 'Alopecia Diaries' series (I struggled with the title for so ages, but I think its fits perfectly) you'll find some answers or some comfort in knowing that it's not just happening to you and its 100% ok to be shitting bricks.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate in asking me, I'm no expert by any means, I'm just a 24y/o with long thick brown hair + a bald patch but if I can help in any way, I will.

Stay tuned for Part II!

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