My name is Rosie. I am 18 years old and live in Cardiff. I have alopecia universalis and was diagnosed at the age of 11.
It was my mum who first spotted my hair loss when she noticed a bald patch the size of a 50 pence piece when she was washing my hair. I was confused about having a bald patch and I just hoped it would go away.
My GP was kind and patient and explained to me what alopecia was and gave a brief explanation of the different types of alopecia. I didnít take much in other than it was possible for the hair loss to stop but also that I could lose the rest of my hair very quickly. There was no way to know what would happen.
I lost all of my hair Ė everything Ė within just a month of my mum finding that first bald patch on my head. In just a few weeks I had lost my scalp hair, body hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.
In my teenage years I had issues with self-confidence. When I was younger and cared less about my physical appearance, I wasnít bothered too much about my alopecia. In my late teens, when I started to care more about the way I looked and what others might think, I struggled with my self-esteem and faced (and continue to face) greater confidence issues based around my alopecia.
Iíve always had a calm approach to my alopecia. Iíve always been pretty accepting of it and have just carried on my life as close to normal as I can while living with a condition that makes me look different to others.
I do find that one positive of having alopecia is that I actually have a lot more freedom with my appearance. I can choose my hair colours and styles thanks to wigs and can also decide not to wear any hair at all.
I think my advice to anyone struggling with their alopecia is to remember that although it may seem like the end of the world at the time, itís not. Things do get easier. They honestly do. Itís a difficult thing to come to terms but there is lots of support available and different options too.