Jane, a Brand Manager, reveals how losing her hair and finding a new kind of wig changed her life…
“At the age of 26, I started noticing hair loss in patches. I went to see my GP but frankly I was none the wiser. I didn’t think there was a major problem. Then smaller bald patches started to appear on my scalp followed by hair re-growth - so I was still able to conceal the hair loss. However, it soon got to the stage where I couldn’t cover up the patches. My father is a doctor and he recommended going to see a specialist. Without much support or information, I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. At this point my self-esteem was pretty low, there were no role models like Gail Porter around, but I always assumed my hair would grow back…
By the time I turned 27, I was desperate to try anything. Steroid treatment was an option but unfortunately this didn’t seem available to me on the NHS. In the hope that my hair would re-grow, I spent £4,000 on private treatment. It didn’t work. In fact, nothing did. Following a recommendation by my father, I made an appointment with A&A Studios. I must say, they were absolutely fantastic. I tried various acrylic wigs and my consultant Linda cut and styled each to suit me. At this point, I still thought there was hope of my hair returning but my condition was Alopecia Totalis (total hair loss). My hair wasn’t going to grow back. However, nobody told me that.
In my opinion, Linda at A&A Studios was the equivalent of a counsellor. She was absolutely amazing. My lifestyle had drastically changed – I couldn’t even go to the hairdresser for some pampering and I stopped going to the gym. Linda helped me deal with the acceptance that there would be no hair re-growth. She never once judged me. Linda simply offered me advice on how to deal with my hair problem so that I could lead a normal life. I’ve been working with A&A Studios for seven years now. The team there is incredibly understanding (without being patronising!) towards me.
About a year ago, Linda introduced me to the Freedom wig. I implicitly trusted her so I agreed to try it. The Freedom is a new, natural hair, suction wig that won’t accidentally dislodge. It absolutely transformed my life. I used to worry about my wig falling off and the little things such as giving nieces and nephews a hug, someone putting their arm around me were difficult. I lived in constant fear of being exposed. Now it’s a different story. The wig is extremely secure and very realistic. Prior to wearing the Freedom, going on holiday was a nightmare because I always felt so uncomfortable. However, I can now do anything I like and style my new wig however I like. I recently went to a wedding and attracted various compliments on my hairstyle - I looked and felt great!
With the help of my family, great friends and A&A’s guidance through every stage of my hair loss, I lead a perfectly happy, normal life. I have a new boyfriend who knows about my hair loss and it doesn’t faze him.
That said, I still think there’s a lack of awareness surrounding alopecia – it isn’t a freakish, psychological illness caused by not being able to cope with life. It’s an auto-immune condition that can happen to anyone. My colleagues don’t know about my alopecia because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m in some way incapacitated – physically or mentally.
The truth is I just get up in the morning and deal with my hair loss. It isn’t something you “suffer” from – it’s not a deadly illness or disease. Worse things happen to people. I’m very lucky that I lead a full life with a caring boyfriend, a supportive family and great friends. I can’t change my hair loss so there’s no reason why I would choose to dwell on it!”