I want to share a very personal story today. It’s not one that I’ve talked about openly. And though many close friends and family know that I’ve battled with episodes of Alopecia Areata (spot baldness) for almost a decade, I’m still quite emotionally sensitive to it. However, since the last onset of my condition, I’ve learned to cope with it and found a personal way to recover from it.
I have Alopecia Areata, there is no preventative measure, no treatment, and no prediction of when it may occur, and when it may decide to stop.
I feel inclined to share my journey (and a very special thanks to Aveda Canada for encouraging me to do so and pampering me with my first hair treatment since). For those of you who suffer from alopecia, it’s important to know that though there is no cure, there are steps you can take to recover, emotionally. Like all other diseases, treating from inside out, is the best remedy!
What is Alopecia Areata, you ask? From Wikipedia, it’s commonly known as spot baldness and it is an autoimmune disease in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp due to the body’s failure to recognize its own body cells and subsequent destruction of its own tissue as if it were an invader. This causes bald spots on the scalp – they often resemble perfect circular patterns.
Many of us females don’t worry too much about losing our hair in our early twenties. For me, I experienced my first episode at 21. I had just washed my hair and while drying it, I discovered a perfect circular shiny bald spot on the right side of my scalp just slightly bigger than a size of a quarter. I was both devastated and perplexed. And during the next three to four months, I would experience another 20+ bald spots scattered around my scalp, hidden under a layer of hair, convinced I was going to go entirely bald.
After several visits to doctors, dermatologists, hair specialists, and even experimenting with traditional Chinese medicine, I was left with only questions, and not many answers. I was told time and time again that there is no treatment, that “I’m not sure of the cause, it could be stress related, it could have been triggered by an allergy“, and “I’m not sure when your hair will grow back“, or “I’m not sure when it will stop“. As you can imagine, I was frustrated, hurt, and afraid.
To preserve the hair I was left with, I remembered that I would refrain from washing it and when I did, I would physically count each strand as it fell to the ground – to monitor my progress. I also remembered having my mom and close friends draw a map of my scalp, and tracked new bald spots when they appeared and how much bigger the previous ones had grown.
It was an awful time.
After months of emotional agony, I came to a realization that, the things out of my control were not worth spending any time on. I also shifted my focus on the fact that I was healthy. I wasn’t losing my hair because I was enduring a horrible health condition and that hair was only a part of society’s (and my own) view of beauty and vanity. And to my surprise, as soon as I focused on healing emotionally, and letting go, my doctor discovered a layer of peach fuzz on my bald spots.
It all grew back (hooray!).
In the last 10 years, I’ve experienced hair loss three more times. My most recent occurrence was in July 2015, with 5 quarter-sized bald spots, and happy to share that it started to grow back in January 2016. From my personal observation, and this is only a speculation, my alopecia condition seems to be triggered by a combination of stress and hormonal changes (i.e. I just went off birth control in July).
To celebrate my hair journey and recovery, Aveda Canada encouraged me to share my story and treated me to my first hair salon visit with a new hair cut and hair colour treatment. My visit to the Aveda Institute Toronto (ask for Gaby!) was fantastic, and I love this new ash blonde colour on me! It’s refreshing and perfect for the Spring/Summer season.
I’ve learned to cope with my condition by staying positive, keeping both physically and emotionally fit, healing from the inside out by eating nutritious foods and taking natural supplements and vitamins. I’ve tried prescribed topical drugs such as cortisone before but I much prefer a natural and therapeutic approach to recovery. A visit to Aveda Institute Toronto also reminded me of the importance of keeping my hair and scalp healthy, treating it with great products and prepping it for future hair growth.
In addition, if you’re interested in booking a service, use promo code “mylittlesecrets15” to receive 15% off services for hair cut and colour at Aveda Institutes in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. You only need to mention the code at time of booking, valid until May 31, 2016.
Instagram Contest Details:
One entrant will be selected to win a $200 Aveda Canada custom beauty package, personalized for the winner. When the winner is selected, Aveda will create the package based on their specific beauty preferences.
In order to win, the participants must:
* Be following @mylittlesecrets_ca and @AvedaCanada on instagram
* Re-post the contest photo (the product photos above via Instagram) and tag @mylittlesecrets_ca and @AvedaCanada in the photo, as well as have any caption that includes the #AvedaCanada hashtag
* Winner will be chosen Monday April 11, 2016 at 11:59PM EST, The contest is open to Canada only.
Remember to use promo code “mylittlesecrets15” to receive 15% off services for hair cut and colour at Aveda Institutes in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Vancouver at time of booking, valid until May 31, 2016.
For those of you who have questions for me regarding my journey, please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me directly via email. I’d love to hear from you and help where I’m able!