The purpose of this website is to Empower, Support and Encourage individuals living with Alopecia and hair loss. And to let you and the people around you know that:
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It took a long time for Chi Chi to figure out she had Alopecia. After many different conclusions from doctors and various hair styles and wigs, she finally learned about her Auto Immune Deficiency. With the help of Jamie, she now boldly shares her story and walks into work with confidence.
My name is Chequita “Chi-Chi” Smith. I am a wife, mother of 3, and an employee for a Fortune 500 company. Alopecia has been a part of my life for about 17 years, and just in 2013, I decided to go completely natural (in rare form). Being a successful African-American in Corporate America, takes courage and confidence from God to know that beauty is not always physical. Rather, it is the inner self that exudes from happiness, love and joy that allows us to perform greatness and even be great! Join me on this journey, as I share my story and understand how I have accepted my crowning glory.
In 1996, I noticed a spot in my scalp, the size of a half dollar. I screamed and shouted in disparity, looking for my mother in distress. I showed my mother my hair and she laughed and said that I looked like BOZO. This was just what I needed, on top of being a candidate of anorexia and bulimia. Life was difficult in a single-parent home. Money was too scarce for me to go to hair dressing school, so I picked it up as a hobby. Hair was important to a young girl’s life, and so I started caring for my own hair.
As time progressed, the spot did not bother me so much, although I did notice that my hair started to thin out. Nevertheless, I did not focus on this; scalp conditions were not on my mind. All I cared about was being pretty and replicating the images I saw in magazines, on television, and in my peers. Perms, braids, weaving with glue, holding sprays and hot curling irons were the everyday norm.
While in college, I became a mother, and after the birth of my son, I began to have more noticeable hair issues. Therefore, I decided with confidence to cut it all off. During that time, my peers teased me about having cancer. After college, I started paying attention to my family’s medical history. I discovered that I had a cousin who had lupus and my maternal grandfather had psoriasis. With these warning signs, I decided to visit a dermatologist. The diagnosis was not Alopecia; rather, I was told that I had bacteria in my scalp. I was instructed to use Nizoral shampoo and hydrocortisone as a cream for the scalp. While this method may have assisted in medicating my scalp, it didn’t help with the return of my hair loss. Being in denial about my condition and not truly being educated on Alopecia, I went back to hair weaving. This time it was a combination of braiding and weaving (style called sew-in).
Though such hairstyles covered the parts of my hair that were thinning, it became apparent that I was becoming bald in various areas. This brought on stress, which did not help the process. Moreover, I married a wonderful man who wanted to accept all of me. The reality was he could never accept all of me because I had never allowed him to see my real hair. Soon, our careers brought us across the country, and that again, added stress, which prompted me to start investing in the most expensive wigs. I thought this would help my insecurity with my hair. Rather, I felt more embarrassed wearing the wigs. If the weather was windy, my wig shifted. In public, my toddler daughter would play with my wigs and tug on them, causing them to move. Being intimate with my husband would also cause the wigs to be out of place.
Finally, in November 2013, I was referred to an awesome woman who specialized in hair care treatments, hair loss, and Alopecia clients. She and I met and we discussed my journey of hair challenges. She prompted me to follow up with a doctor to take multiple tests so that I could confirm whether or not I had an Auto Immune Deficiency. The tests came back positive. With this knowledge, I re-capped and dug deep into all the things I participated in to cure this problem of hair loss. Having this knowledge, I educated myself more on Auto Immune Deficiencies, which included Alopecia and other diagnoses. I identified with several of the symptoms. With the help of Jamie Elmore and her expertise, empowerment, support, and encouragement, I am now able to share my story with family members and others. I also walk everyday into Corporate America owning my glorious story….My Crowning Glory.
Let me begin by saying that my wife, Chequita “Chi Chi” Smith is the woman I dreamt about, the woman that I longed for, the woman that I hoped to one day meet, fall in love with and marry. And thank God it happened! I love her more today than I did when we first fell in love.
When my wife first begin to lose her hair, it was devastating for her. She experienced many emotional ups and downs. The uncertainty of what was happening to her was difficult. She tried to correct what was happening by making changes to hairstyles, braiding, etc, thinking it was something that she was doing. We experienced the emotional trials of amazing new growth over a 6 month period only to have it break off while taking down hair from 6 weeks of sew-in usage; she tried keratin treatments (before they were popular), using the best hair specialist in the region, investing hundreds and hundreds in human hair, scalp treatments and more, only to finally end up cutting it all off. I was there to support her as she did this.
After being diagnosed with Alopecia, we continued to do more research about this disease and realized that she was experiencing several other symptoms of an auto-immune deficiency.
Although this has been a very difficult road for us, we are grateful for all that we do have, including our lives, our love and our family. In a perfect world, we’d all be perfect, without any hardships, tests or trials. But, that’s not the real world. Who was it that said ‘tribulations come to make us strong.’ Every day I am reminded of my wife’s courage – through it all she has persevered. She did not allow Alopecia to break her. Nor has she allowed it to make her bitter. She is better because of it! I have new respect for her every day.
I can honestly say Alopecia has brought my wife and I closer together in so many ways. It allowed me to love her in ways that can only be described as unconditional. Being able to support my wife through such a vulnerable time in her life is and was an honor. I love her new look! In my opinion it is her best look yet. She is regal, elegant, sexy and sophisticated!
Every single day that the good Lord sends, I remember to tell my wife how stunningly beautiful she is! I love you, Chi Chi!
Audrey's sister has Alopecia, she saw the struggles her sister went through in dealing with Alopecia. She also saw how her sister turned things around and learned to deal with her condition in a very positive way by looking outward. Her sister is an inspiration to all, reminding us to turn a trial into a triumph.
I can remember when my sister first started facing the reality of her condition. It was really hard for her to tell us about it. She was afraid to show anyone, including her daughter, what her head looked like uncovered. When she finally worked up the nerve to show us what she had been going through, it was still very difficult for her. The turning point was when a very good male friend told her that he accepted her just as she was, and that she should not try to hang onto what was there, but to just cut it all off. He even helped her do this. I think that was very liberating for her, and from then she no longer acted afraid.
I also remember the first time she came to church with her head revealed as bald. She initially held her head down, but as they day went along, her countenance changed, and her head was held high by the end of the service. My sister shared her heartache and pain of dealing with Alopecia. I think the biggest turning point for her was realizing that it was not just about her, but that there were many others who were dealing with the same situation that she could help. She realized that God could use her to not only share her life story with others, but also to assist others who were going through the same thing, She wanted to help others with the self-esteem issues associated with the condition.
It's amazing how she is able to work through her own pain to help someone else. She has shown tremendous courage and has a compassionate heart for others. I know God is going to continue to use her. While it continues to be a challenge for her to be working in a profession that requires her to work with hair and to beautify others daily, she has truly learned how to turn a trial into a triumph! She has been a wonderful example of grace, beauty, and self-confidence. She now lives the reality of the song "I Am Not My Hair", by India Arie, and encourages others who live with Alopecia to do the same!
After a great tragedy occured in her life, Brandy was diagnosed with stress-induced Alopecia. She has been dealing with the consequences of hair loss the past seven years. It has been a great struggle to come to terms with her condition. She shares her story very transparently, identifying with those who are in the same journey.
My journey with Alopecia started 7 years ago, when my single worse nightmare became a reality. I lost my 15-year-old daughter to Rett Syndrome. After her passing, I started to lose my hair. I tried everything. Finally, a doctor diagnosed me with stress-induced Alopecia.
The thinner my hair became, the more anxious I became. It didn’t help that I worked in the beauty industry; I used to tint my hair with powder and that thinned my hair. I was exhausted from the stress of losing my hair and explaining my condition to everyone, including strangers. People would stop me and ask if I was going through chemotherapy. When I told them that I wasn’t, there were more questions. It was a struggle, because I didn't want to share the loss of my daughter to strangers. Occasionally, I would end up doing so, when some refused to stop asking about my condition.
I had a mentor who was very supportive and finally talked me into getting a wig. It broke my heart walking into a salon that carried wigs. I was in tears as I told my hair loss story to the stylist. We decided on a short pixie cut. I had no idea how much wigs cost, so when he told me it would cost $1,500, I felt panicked. Thankfully, he agreed to take payments on it so that I could have it for my birthday. The wig equaled a down payment for a car, and this was not how I wanted to spend that money! Nevertheless, I bought the wig as a gift to myself on my 40th birthday. Since then, I have switched to synthetic wigs that cost around $150.
The anxiety of being a woman that had to wear wigs prevented me from many life experiences. All my friends went to do hot yoga together, but I stopped going. I also stopped swimming; instead, I would just sit and watch. I avoided any situation that could cause problems for me wearing a wig. I even refused to ride in my friend’s convertible when the top was down.
Worst of all, I stayed in an unhealthy unloving relationship in fear that no one else would find me attractive.
My boyfriend at the time stopped sleeping in bed with me and for the last year of our relationship, we were not at all intimate. I came to terms with the belief that I would grow old alone and broke up with my boyfriend. It is better to be happy and alone than unhappy while in a relationship.
The struggle continues. I had stopped looking at my hair at all; I am always avoiding mirrors. One time, two of my close friends came over to my apartment while I had my wig off, and they both noticed that my hair was growing back! When I looked in the mirror, I was shocked to find it thicker. Now, I am able to live without a wig. My tinted hair powder masks just how thin it is. However, I still have the constant feeling of anxiety that I would lose my hair again, and this prevents me from being excited of how much has come back. This is where I am in my journey.
Alopecia. What the hell is that? She explained what it was. And my first thought, really, was, so what! Is that the reason you’re still single, with your fine self?! Is that why none of these idiots have snatched you up?! Good, you’re mine now!
I thought I was the luckiest man in the world to be getting such a ‘fine Sistah’, beautiful on the outside and the inside. She was everything I was looking for in a woman. Beautiful, intelligent, sexy, educated, gracious, sweet, humble, a beautiful figure, omg, I could go on!
We begin dating, we fell in love and then we were married. And like every newly married couple, we were in complete marital bliss! And then reality begins to set in for me. Every day I would watch her struggle and couldn’t understand why she was struggling. Most mornings I would not see her get ready for work, as I left for work before she did. But on the days and nights I would get to see her ‘get ready’ I knew it was going to be a long production. I'd watch her pick out her clothes, put them on and then came her makeup. I'd look at her thinking we were ready to go. No! Next, came the struggle. In the beginning, it was more of a ‘private’ thing, a personal thing for her. It was an ‘unspoken’ thing between us. Because I instinctively knew it was painful for her and I knew that she didn’t want to talk about ‘it’. I could only watch from a distance, at first. That’s why the struggle was so painful, watching someone you love be in such pain.
She would pull out the ‘wig’ she was going to wear. I could always see the pain in her face as she did this. Next came her ‘imaginary’ mask. Ok, now we’re ready to go! Clothes, makeup, wig and mask! Isn’t that what every woman does? The struggle continued for many, many years. She would find new ways of dealing with this burden, new ways of hiding it. It pained me to watch her come home and take off her mask and see the bruises (emotional) that were left behind. Her struggle became my struggle. Her problem was my problem. Her pain was my pain.
I’ve come through many challenging times and have had to overcome a great deal of adversity. But, by far, one of my biggest challenges yet has been trying to make my wife see how beautiful she really is and helping her to see what an incredible person she is with or without hair.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder … I see the beauty. Her family sees the beauty. Her friends see the true beauty. It was now her time to see her beauty! And she did. It took her a long, long time to get there, but, she finally got there. She made the decision that she would no longer allow alopecia to control her life, to dictate how she feels about herself or how she lives her life. She came to realize that you can never conquer what you cannot confront. She wakes up in the morning full of joy, full of purpose; she is now like a flower in full bloom - radiating the love that is in her heart flowing like a river to all of those around her.
For years and years, Adrina lived in denial of her condition. She was determined to cover her baldness and did not have the courage to admit what was going on. With time and support from people including Jamie, she learned to accept her circumstance and became free of her wigs. She seeks to educate others about Alopecia.
I began to really notice my hair loss in my mid 30’s. I attributed it initially to stress. I was going through the death of a loved one. I always considered thin hair growing up. It had been chemically straightened, hot combed, dyed, and cut all my life. When maintaining my hair became a chore, I decided to cut it and let it have a break from all the heat and other maintenance I had been doing. So, I cut it down to a short afro and that was when I noticed from a picture, that there was thinning at the top front of my hair.
Time went by and even my hairdresser told me that the crown of my head was thinning. We watched it for a while, and it was still happening a year or more later. I went in for a dermatologist consult. A scalp sample was taken and the results where presented. I had something called Alopecia. I was encouraged not to put any unnecessary stress on the follicles by getting my hair braided, pulled or chemically treated. I found a resource for a woman who was using natural products and twisting natural hair. Thinking that would give my hair the break it needed to repair and grow back, but that didn’t work. My hair was still thinning and it was more and more noticeable. So my next alternative was to wear wigs. I have to say that I had always disliked wigs growing up, because my mother had worn them and she had a head full of hair. I never thought I could embrace wearing one.
I then began using clippers to cut my hair down to an even length. I dove into the wig pool head first. I found the right color and style and learned to customize the wig cap for my small head. It became part of my routine to look into new styles and change it up from time to time. I learned to live with wigs. I had rules like: don't open a hot oven door—that crinkling sound is the acrylic fibers reacting to the heat, and that is not good. I was part of a hair club, trying to satisfy my need to have what I thought would be a more natural alternative. IT was something that gave the illusion that hair was coming out of my own scalp. I remember saying to my husband that I wanted to “feel normal.”
My search to find the perfect solution to my hair problem, continued for several years. In my search, I would ask myself: why is this happening to me? It was an isolated feeling to be balding and be a woman. I hid; I could barely feel comfortable enough to walk around my own house without something covering my head, be it a wig or scarf at all times. I suffered through the damage the wig cap was doing to my head, and the irritation it caused. Nevertheless, I continued to do what I had to do to maintain my grooming routine.
As time went on, I began to be a little more comfortable identifying and acknowledging that I was a wig wearer. During a morning walk, a woman I knew asked me where my hair was. Up to that time, I was even wearing it to walk around. My witty reply was, “I left her on the dresser at home.”
Then an incident happened at another pivotal shift in my hair toward the end of my wig venture. One windy day, after finishing a day of work, I walked out of my building and a gust came and swept my wig off my head. Frantically, I chased after it, shook it off, and put it back on my head, humiliated. I wondered the entire time if anyone had seen this happen. Could I return to work the next day? It took some time before I could share it with close girlfriends and laugh.
It then took about 10 more years and many hair transitions in between, before I sought out information about Alopecia. Part of my denial was deflecting the comments from close friends and family that knew of my condition. They told me how beautiful I was without the wigs. It was difficult to visualize what they saw. As I look back, I was searching for what I thought was the answer. I was trying hard to fool myself and others. I was hiding from understanding the condition of Alopecia. That word that had been handed to me in the doctor’s office many years before, and I left that office the same when I walked out.
In 2010, I was searching the internet for Alopecia resources. I came across a local person who was doing an Alopecia support group. I read her story and it spoke to me. There were so many similarities to my own self. What she wrote were my feelings too. It took me a few days to sit with the information I had discovered to make the call to her. When I dialed the number, my call was answered by an amazing spirit. Instantly, a sense of home and trust was felt. I met her and some other ladies from the Alopecia group. We talked and shared.
Mid-week after that, I woke with a new confidence. I walked out of my home on a Wednesday in September 2012. My clean-shaven head was greeted by the morning sun and I haven't looked back since. I sent pictures to my family and friends with the caption, “Today is the day! I am free!”
In the past few years I have reflected back on the timeline of my hair. I think that I began to develop Alopecia when I was in my early teens. I remember getting a bad case of dandruff. My mother took me to the doctor who prescribed a medicated shampoo to treat it. It went away after a while. I now think that it was a dormant stage for the condition. When it resurfaced in my mid 30’s, I developed large patches of dandruff like flakes that built up on my scalp overnight. I could literally peel the patches off. I discovered through more research that that interaction happening on my scalp eventually choked and closed down my hair follicles.
Since that time I have explored my thoughts, my feelings, fears, self-image, being different, society and my black community's obsession with hair. I discovered that a lot of what I had to deal with was people’s reaction to my bald head. I’m not certain if it was coming into my 50's or something else that has prompted my openness. I came to a place of self-assurance. I came to a realization that it is not my responsibility to make others feel comfortable with my appearance or to always explain my choice. I now expect that when I walk into a room I will be uniquely different. I am open to comment and inquiry. I have the opportunity to educate and dispel the myth of all baldness being equated with illness, specifically cancer; that women without hair aren’t any less feminine. I hope to provide a platform for those conversations in settings that are more organic. Being different on the outside is about peeling away the layers and getting to know the person. It’s okay to inquire— just ask in a respectful way!
Darren struggled with Alopecia since he was a little child. Hair loss was a difficult thing to struggle with especially in adolescence. Finally, Darren decided he would take matters into his own hands and used laser treatment to completely get rid of all his hair. He now lives with freedom as a bald man.
This isn’t a story of defeat; it’s about acceptance, and it started a long time ago. I remember rubbing my head because it hurt, and clumps of hair fell into my hand every time I rubbed. I remember panicking: what was happening? My early memories are vague. Looking back at baby pictures now, my mother believes a patch on my head meant I had Alopecia since then, though at the time they thought it was just baby hair not growing in.
Doctors said the hair loss is triggered by some kind of stress. At the age of four, my mom and dad divorced and that was the first time I experienced significant hair loss and began a painful odyssey of many cortisone injections and doctors’ visits. At one time, I remember (the best recollection I have as a 9 year old boy) 86 shots on one visit of what felt like thick peanut butter textured paste pushed under my skin! It did work and the hair grew back, but eventually, the same spot would lose hair again. As I got older, I developed different deployments of cover-ups so people wouldn’t know I had a bald patch. I even used my mom’s mascara to color in the parts where hair was missing. Sometimes there were small patches; other times, they would be much bigger and harder to cover up, so I wore a lot of hats. Back in the 70’s, hats were not allowed in school, so my mother and I would argue with teachers and school administrators to allow me to wear the hat when an episode was worse. They weren’t sympathetic. As I kept seeing doctors and specialists, I was told I would “grow out of it;” “puberty would make it better;” or “it was just hormones.” That wasn’t true.
I was lucky enough as I became a teenager that long hair was in fashion! Yay; the times I lost hair ebbed and flowed, so I adapted my hairstyle to make sure my whole head, or any bald spots, were covered. I always made sure no one stood behind me or touched my hair. I went from this full head of thick black hair and a full beard, to thinning hair on top and baby soft bald spots in between. Sometimes I would be able to grow a mustache, then half would fall out, and a line on my eyebrow would disappear. People started noticing and were curious. Some would ask questions, but I never volunteered an explanation unless someone asked. I didn’t want to talk about it.
My battle with my hair continued until I was 29 years old. I wish I could tell you I developed amazing coping skills and can help you become the master of your universe so it wouldn’t be as embarrassing or alienating as it seems, but it was a sad time for me. I was so embarrassed. When this started, the only bald man that was considered cool was Telly Savalas from the T.V. show Kojak. At some point as a teenager I saw a “Mr. Clean” bottle and made a joke that I was going to shave my head and put a hoop in my ear.
When I finally realized it was never going to get better, I wanted to get in front of it and face it on my terms. Age 29 was the first time I ever really felt free from Alopecia because I decided to shave my head and get a hoop! I fulfilled my teenage promise! I was free; I was “hair-free,” not because I wasn’t bald, but because I decided to be hair-free. No more worrying about what the back of my head looked like, or which eyebrow I was going to have today. I took ownership, or so I thought. It’s funny how just when you get comfortable something else happens. As I said earlier, I was now “hair-free”, but there were still areas of hair that would grow around the back of my head. I used to constantly rub the stubble and if I were going out in the evening I would have to shave my head again.
I was sick of still worrying about my hair. I grew tired of constantly shaving and I was curious about the new laser hair removal technology. I walked into one of the stores that had popped up in my local mall and asked about any laser treatments that could deal with the few remaining areas of hair on my head. You can imagine their surprise. The staff had never heard of Alopecia, so they called the doctor, but he was very hesitant. After talking to the doctor and signing their waivers, I was ready to go, six months and six treatments later. Then, I was finally completely “hair-free.” My entire head was “smooth as a baby’s bottom.” An added benefit for me was that the laser removal eliminated all future hair growth and the tingling, and any painful feeling of the hair falling out.
Today, I have been hair-free for 24 years. I am married with three children and run a successful financial services business. My bald head empowers me because I chose it. I had a choice to embrace what was happening and find a way to take control, instead of letting the hair (or lack of it) control me. I barely remember having any hair on my entire body. Now, my wife is jealous of my smooth and hair-free legs. My eyebrows fell out completely a few years ago, and now my eyelashes have disappeared. I still don’t bring it up or talk about it unless someone asks, but mostly because I don’t think about it often. Most think I shaved my eyebrows for a fashion statement!
I hope my story helps you and I can tell you to invest in good hats because you lose a lot of heat from the top of your head! If you lose your eyebrows or eyelashes and exercise, wear a headband because the sweat will burn your eyes. But don’t be ashamed; you are not alone. There are a lot of men, women, and kids who are or have experienced what you’re going through. Once you find your power. Once you make the decision, which by definition means to settle conclusively all contention or uncertainty about something, you will feel better. It has taken me time to let go of the pain and embarrassment, but time does heal all wounds. I can barely remember the little boy or even the adolescent who was so hurt, because I chose to embrace and accept the person looking at me in the mirror.
Sherman does not and did not have Alopecia. His perspective is from someone who received the news that the woman he was seeing has Alopecia, and was in fact wearing a wig the whole time he has known her. His response and encouragement helped her gain confidence and accept her condition.
After two months of dating, my girlfriend, J, began telling me the story of her experience with Alopecia after her daughter was born. I could tell, as she told her story, that it was all very emotional for her. I was confused and naively told her that I don’t see any signs of Alopecia upon looking at her hair. She then told me that all this time, she had been wearing a wig. When I asked her to take it off and show me, she flat out refused to do it. I could see that the conversation was beginning to bother her, so I let it go.
From that day on, I was curious to know what J looked like without something on her head. Before meeting J, I was never very fond of women who wore wigs, because I’ve always felt that Black women were blessed with natural beauty and should wear it proudly. I began it think back to all the times when J and I were together and how everything besides the makeup she wore seemed natural. I remembered seeing her with a hair wrap on at times, which I thought made her look stunning. When she wasn’t wearing a hair scarf, she seemed to look like she spent a lot of time doing her hair. Since she was a hairstylist, I thought it was only natural that she always looked well-groomed and well taken care of. I was so impressed with how well she took care of herself that I never questioned her looks for a minute.
I began to ask J every time I saw her, to allow me to see the real her. After some time and after some discussions we had, she agreed to let me see how she looked without the wig. She made me close my eyes while she slowly took off the wig. When I opened my eyes to see her, J had taken the wig off. I had never seen the head of someone with Alopecia. As I looked at her head, all I could see was the look on her face and the curiosity in her eyes. I looked at her head and then looked into her eyes and said it’s not that bad. I realized after I said what I said, that I could have put a little more thought into it before I commented. I just wanted her to know she meant more to me than hair, and that my appreciation for her ran deeper that anything superficial.
After meeting a few other times, we began having conversations about Alopecia and her previous experiences when she revealed her condition to men before me. After a few more conversations about Alopecia, I suggested she cut all her remaining hair off. J looked at me like I must have been crazy. I asked her, “Why not?” I told her about women I saw in public who had bald heads and how naturally beautiful and attractive they looked, especially Black women. I told her they looked Nubian and sexy to me. I also told her how head scarves made her intriguing and attractive. I suggested she could even pull off a few hats since she like to wear hats. J just kept refusing to take me up on it. I told her we would turn some heads if we both walked into a room with shinny bald heads. We both laughed it off.
One day, when we were just sitting around talking, I suggested to J that she should let me shave her head for her. She again looked at me like I was crazy. I told her I was serious. I can do it and she could wear a scarf and just test it out. If she decides she is not comfortable after a while, she could let it grow back. Soon, J finally said yes and let me shave her head. I could tell during the whole time I was shaving her head, that she was extremely nervous and very uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, was sure and confident the she would look stunning. I knew with all she had going for her, she would turn heads and this could be life changing.
After I finished shaving her head, she seemed unsure of herself. I held her in my arms and said with a smile, “You look fabulous!” From that day on, I saw her confidence soar. She went from wearing head scarves and hats everyday,vto strutting her new look with style and grace. After a while, we decided to go in separate directions. I could see that J was a better person as a result of having the courage to make a life-altering decision, which I assume many women dread having to make.
A few years later when our paths crossed again, and J told me about the website she had establish and how she had dedicated her time and effort helping other women get through what she went through. She invited me to visit the site and tell her what I thought of it. When I visited J’s website, all I could see was a woman who was more than willing to share her joy for all to see. I saw the person I knew she would be: happy, successful, and at peace with herself. I felt happy to have been a part of someone else’s happiness.
Alopecia Areata - is an autoimmune, often reversible disease in which loss of hair occurs in sharply defined areas usually involving the scalp or beard, but at times every hair on the body.
Alopecia areata is not life- threatening nor is it a contagious disease. It does not cause any physical pain, and people with the condition are generally healthy otherwise. But for most people, a disease that unpredictably affects their appearance the way Alopecia areata does is a serious matter.
Alopecia areata affects an estimated five million Americans of both sexes and of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
These are only a few of the common myths heard by hairstylist, physicians and other hair loss specialists on a daily basis.
One of the keys to dealing with hair loss is styling accessories.
A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) works with you to find the cause of your hair loss by taking an in-depth personal and family medical history, doing physical exams and ordering certain labs that look for specific deficiencies in your blood that may indicate an imbalance in your health. Treatment depends on the cause and specific type of Alopecia, as determined by analysis of the lab information gathered, as well as the rest of your health history. Naturopaths use age-old remedies to heal, but also stay on top of current researched therapies. Examples of treatments that an ND might use include recommended dietary changes, stress management counseling, herbal therapies, vitamin and nutrient replenishment and homeopathy. In certain states (like Washington) ND’s can also prescribe most medications and may utilize these on a case-by-case basis. ND’s research herbs that may interact with the medications you are currently taking and take this information into account when prescribing treatments. Consult a Naturopathic Physician to begin the exploration into why you have Alopecia and how to treat it naturally.
After thirteen years of being a hair stylist and building a solid group of clients, Jamie Elmore was diagnosed with Alopecia. She could have hid like most people but she continued to build her business and opened her own salon. From this experience, Jamie dedicated herself to finding a solution for women living with Alopecia, getting further training and certifications in the hair loss field. She worked with the following groups and programs:
My name is Jamie I have been a licensed hairstylist for over 20 years.
Styling hair is my passion. I believe styling is a way to enhance a person’s natural beauty, which I enjoy very much. In December 1993, I experienced a life threatening, stressful situation after the birth of my daughter. I encountered something that would affect my own personal beauty- a condition called Alopecia.
Alopecia Aerata is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, the tiny cup-shaped structures from which hairs grow. This can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere.
I first noticed my hair was shedding in 1993.. In 1998, I found the first bald spot at the nape of my neck which would consistently “grow in and fall out”. My hair loss would move to different areas of my head and scalp. In 2000, I began to lose more hair and to find bigger bald spots throughout my head. From 2000 to 2003, my hair began to fall out even more. I would wake up and look at my head and it looked like someone took an eraser and erased the hair off my scalp. My hair appeared to be clean shaven sporadically throughout my head. Even my eyebrows had bald spots as well. I was in shock and devastated! In 2004, I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata.
I was very uncomfortable going places for the most part; I stayed at home and tried to stay away from large crowds. One day, I can remember going to church and wanting to sit in the back. I didn’t want anybody sitting behind me because I was afraid they might be looking at my hair. Out in the public I would think that people were staring and looking at my bald spots. I would constantly look into my pocket mirror to make sure that I hadn’t accidentally wiped-off my “drawn on” eyebrows. I always felt nervous, ashamed and unattractive.
When I would get dressed in the morning I would put my makeup on while keeping my headscarf on my head, so I would not have to look at myself or the bald patches in my head that would freak me out. Some nights I would cry myself to sleep and pray that while I was sleeping my head scarf would not fall off of my head. I didn’t want my daughter to come into my room and see my head. I would walk around the house “day in and day out” feeling like a prisoner in my own home. Even my family and clients did not know what I was going through – my own masquerade. All the wigs, scarves and hats were very uncomfortable for me to wear. I would say to my self, “Jamie you are a hairstylist and you can’t even fix yourself.”
For years I slipped in and out of depression and anxiety-induced panic attacks. The doctors put me on an antidepressant medicine resulting in both episodes of weight gain and weight loss. I had no peace on the inside of me so I asked God what is the purpose of me going through this because my hair is my glory.
I remember doing an interpretive dance at a wedding and praying that my wig would not fall off my head.
I shied away from men saying to myself “no man would want a bald headed woman.” My biggest fear came true. I met a guy who I went out with on a few dates. During those times, he would always compliment me on how nice my hair looked. So one day, I said to him “this is not my hair.” He looked at me as if he had seen a ghost. He said, “What do you mean?” I have a condition called Alopecia, and of course, he had never heard of it before. I explained to him the basics on the disease and that it was not contagious. Consequently, he was unable to cope and we parted ways.
I was tired of hiding from my self and those who new me. I figured out my identity and self worth was not in my hair. In June of 2006, I gained the courage to shave the remaining hair from my head. And now in confidence I am able to wear a completely bald head. Now I am able to embrace who I am and begin the journey on the long road to a personal and spiritual healing.
Currently, since in 2008 I am walking in freedom and fulfilling part of my purpose to “empower, support, and encourage individuals living with hair loss and Alopecia”.
All workshop sessions are offered in groups, one on one or can be scheduled privately. Please call (424) 703-5156 or
email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and fees.
This workshop is about ACCEPTING your hair loss condition and moving forward to embrace your new horizons for yourself,
your family and those around you.
Come and discover how to accessorize your new look
For Alopecia and non alopecia individuals. Build your self esteem and embrace your self