My name is Kayleigh. Iím 27 years old and from Tyne and Wear. I have had
alopecia areata for the past 16 years.
When I was 11 years old, my Nanna was combing my hair and noticed a small
bald patch at the back of my head. I didnít fully understand what was happening
at that young age. Iíd grown up with severe asthma and eczema so having another
medical condition didnít really phase me. It wasnít until I lost all of my hair
some time later that I felt devastated by my hair loss. I felt alone and
I don't remember much of my initial experience with doctors when
I was a child. I know my GP tried various treatments with me, topical ointments,
steroids etc. My hair fell out in small patches and regrew and that's how I
lived my pre teen/teenage life. I chose to phase out trying treatments quite
early on as I understood that it wasn't "curing" me, so I felt there
was no point in trying. It wasn't until
I lost all of my hair that I noticed that GPs weren't necessarily equipped to
deal with alopecia. In my opinion, the knowledge and resources just weren't there. I
was simply given a wig prescription and told a referral to a dermatologist
would be made.
My dermatologist offered various treatments, some of which I
had already tried under my GP's care. I tried every treatment offered to me but
found that (when I had small patchy hair loss) my hair would regrow quite soon
after the loss. I discharged myself as I felt it was a waste of my time. When I
lost all my scalp hair at the age of 20 a further referral was made. I tried
all treatments again but they did not work for me and so I stopped.
The biggest struggle for me has been accepting how I am now.
For the first year after my total hair loss, maybe even two years, I was very
angry. I hid away and kept my alopecia a secret. I just couldnít accept it at
The turning point for me was finally seeking out others with
alopecia and meeting with them. This is what has helped me grow and learn to
accept my hair loss. If it wasn't for the support and strength of others Iím
not sure I could have learnt to accept myself and the way I look. Knowing I am
not alone is the best feeling.
I wore wigs daily for the first couple of
years after my complete hair loss but since discovering Alopecia UK Iíve gradually
managed to overcome my fears, starting to spend a day or two hair-free and in
2015 I challenged myself to spend the whole of Alopecia Awareness Month wig
free and sailed through it! I'm at a stage in my journey where if I want to
wear my wig, I will and if I fancy a day off, i'll rock the bald look!
The only positive of having alopecia, for me, is that
without having this condition I would have never met some of the people I have
met over the past few years. I count
many of these people as my friends and theyíre priceless.
My advice to anyone struggling with their alopecia would be to reach out and
find support! It really can make all the difference. I attend Alopecia UKís
Newcastle support group each time it is held Ė every couple of months. Itís a
fantastic, supportive and friendly group where you can speak openly about your
feelings, swap practical advice and make friends.
I have also attended Alopecia UKís ĎBig Weekendí event and I
LOVE the trip to Alton Towers! Itís such a supportive and fun day. Iíve also
done some fundraising for Alopecia UK taking part in the Manchester Color Run
and last year I ran the Great North Run! Hard work but very worthwhile! This charity has done so much for my confidence that it was nice to be able to give something back.