To help raise awareness during Alopecia Awareness Month, women are sharing inspiring Instagram posts chronicling their hair loss journies.
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“Alopecia is simply a medical term to describe hair loss,” Greenwich, CT, dermatologist Kim Nichols, MD says. She explains that it can be caused by anything from the environment to genetics. “Androgenetic Alopecia [AGA] involves hormones in the body which can lead to increased hormone activity causing the hair loss,” Nichols says. “AGA can be inherited or may come from another underlying condition.” Although typically risk rises with age, there are still cases where it starts much younger.
Brittany Myers was diagnosed with alopecia when she was just seven. “Throughout my childhood and into early adulthood, I would only have a missing patch of hair here or there—sometimes more and sometimes less,” she told Yahoo Beauty. “When things were good, I didn’t think about it much. When things were bad, I worried a lot about one day losing all my hair.”
She overcame her fear of becoming bald when she was 26 and worked with a stylist friend to reinvent her look to help gain comfort and confidence. “Back then, I never imagined it wouldn’t grow back, but I’ve been bald ever since.”
She is among the many women sharing their stories of alopecia. Through these Instagram posts, women are not just bringing forth an awareness of this condition, but they’re also providing a sense of community. “It helped me begin to see the complex beauty in the baldness, in the challenge of it all,” says Myers. “And finding that comfort over time helped me to shift focus away from alopecia and baldness.”
Keep scrolling to see just some of the empowering and beautiful messages.
Take a seat kids it’s story time… “Do you have cancer?” is usually one of the first questions out of a stranger’s mouth. Whether it’s a parking lot or the grocery store or wherever. I’ve gotten good at responding. I usually smile and shake my head “no” and explain to them that I lost my hair due to an autoimmune disorder called alopecia universalis. Back in June of 2016, while finishing up my freshman year of college, I was missing about 70% of the hair on my head and body. I still remember the day I walked into my dad’s office (who also has alopecia) and told him that I wanted to shave my head. I was sick of feeling hopeless every time I ran my fingers through my thinning long brown hair and was reminded of my disease by the clumps of hair I held in my palms. I was tired of cortisone injections and last ditch efforts to prevent my hair loss and had accepted the fact that I was born to be bald. In July, I threw my “Going Bald” party and invited some of my friends and family. My mom went first, since she had promised me when I was diagnosed at age 5 that she would shave her head in solidarity if I ever lost my hair. My sisters and friends then took turns shaving the few remaining patches of hair on my head before I was finally handed a mirror to see what they had done. All I remember was a feeling of pure relief. Being bald hasn’t always been easy. I’ve questioned my self-worth and fixated on other people’s opinions way more than I should’ve. I’ve learned that not everyone is as accepting and that not all people are able to look past the fact that I have no hair – but that’s okay. As I look back on the last 14 months, I think about how lucky I am to have such loving and supportive family, friends, and boyfriend by my side the past two years. Thank you for putting up with my endless bald jokes and for having my back always. For those who’ve made it this far, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with #alopecia of any kind, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I know not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by people who understand what they’re going through. Anyway, happy #AlopeciaAwarenessMonth 🙂
Celebrating #alopeciaawarenessmonth by embracing what makes us different. Limited perspectives make for limited opportunities. Once I opened my perspective, I realized that hair doesn’t make me more feminine. Curves are beautiful. Our bodies should be celebrated as they exist– not shamed because they’re something other than those around us. #loveanyBODY #alopeciacantstopme
I’m happy, I’m bald, and I’m beautiful. Getting to this point wasn’t easy, and trust me I still have those days. But I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin as I do now. It’s been over a year since I shaved my head and I don’t regret a thing. In the beginning of high school, I slowly started to lose my hair. The first couple years weren’t that noticeable and I could easily hide it. After that, I’d start having larger bald spots here and there that would grow back then start falling out again. I finally went to see a dermatologist and was diagnosed with alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that can cause hair loss on the scalp, face, and body. A lot of times when I go out without my wig on, I get approached by people who think I have cancer. This used to bother me until I realized that it was an opportunity to bring awareness to alopecia. It affects as many as 6.8 million people in the US, most of whom don’t even realize it. Alopecia simply sucks as it does nothing but make you lose hair. But it taught me to love myself more than I ever did before. Losing hair caused me to really struggle with my self-image. I thought that if my hair didn’t look good, then I didn’t look good. I’d spend most of my mornings every single day trying different products to hide my bald spot (which just made it worse). One day I kinda just said fuck it and decided to embrace it. So here I am now. I wear my wig out often just because it’s fun, but honestly being bald is great. I save so much time! #AlopeciaAwarenessMonth #Alopecia #AlopeciaAreata
Soooooo this month is #alopeciaawarenessmonth so I’m going back to the start of my .. uh.. sort of journey to accept myself more…This was the first #selfie I uploaded without my hair/wig, and I thought because half of my head wasn’t in it then nobody would really notice.. would they? But course they did, I sat on my bedroom floor and I remember crying … then crying again thinking ahhh do I upload it do I not? Are people going to be mean to me?…. it shocked a lot of people who didn’t know, and those who did know let me know how proud they are and how beautiful they thought I was 🙈 this must have been around 2012?? I have no hair, no eyebrows and no eyelashes! And this was my first big move.. this month I hope to post some important times in my life relating to #alopecia #alopeciaareata to help raise awareness and let people know it’s ok to be different. #nohairdontcare 💁🏽👋🏼🤙🏼
What’s ‘beauty’? Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about accepting yourself just the way you are. Well that’s easier said than done. I know. Especially when other people don’t mind their own business and think they have the right to judge. I have alopecia areata since I’m 13 years old. It’s an autoimmune disease; a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. Last year my hair loss got worse than ever before and earlier this year I decided to get a wig. I wear it since July. So, yeah, I’m 24 and bald. And I’m HAPPY!!!! I was really good at hiding my hair loss. Even my closest friends didn’t notice anything until I opened up to them at the beginning of this year. A big step for me. I was ashamed. I was scared what they would say or think about it. I felt ugly. I was struggling. I didn’t wanna go out anymore. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this. So stupid!!! I am still the same person I was before. The only thing that’s changed is my hair. That’s it. Nothing to worry about 🤷🏼♀️ I’m ok with it. I feel good and I want to feel beautiful with or without hair. That’s me. I don’t want to hide. I don’t need to be accepted by others. I have to accept myself and that’s all that matters. Right? I also wanted to share what I experienced last night. When I go to the gym I don’t wear my wig (waaaaay to uncomfortable ☝🏼). A woman (she saw me once or twice before) looked at me and said something like ‘oh you’re out without the wig. Hmmm.. I’m so sorry for you. That’s so bad.’ Like???? Really? Damn. Why would you even say something like that? You don’t even know me. I felt good about it until YOU told me it was ‘bad’. Things like that happened way too often before I got the wig. STRANGERS asked me if I had cancer or they asked why I shaved my head. You have no idea how I felt in those situations. I can’t even put it into words. So.. Please think about it before you ask. Thanks. #alopecia #alopeciaawarenessmonth #thisisme