‘One day in October 1999 I was combing my hair and I noticed a tiny bald patch by my left ear. I went to my GP who diagnosed alopecia areata but assured me it was nothing to worry about. By Christmas another larger bald patch had appeared on the back of my head.
This time I sat down and cried. My hair was my best feature and people had complimented me on it. What would I do if it all fell out and I went bald?
‘Again my doctor was dismissive and wouldn’t prescribe any medication. Huge clumps of hair started coming out whenever I washed or combed it. The floor would be covered in hair and there were strands on my pillow in the morning. But there seemed no point in going back to a GP who thought this was nothing serious. By now most of the hair on the top of my head had gone and the back was very thin. I was even loosing leg and arm hair.
I felt so self conscious that I stopped going out – I couldn’t bear the thought of people staring and commenting. A colleague said a Trichologist might be able to help. So I found one and booked an appointment.
‘She explained that alopecia is often cause by stress or anaemia. That year I’d been working very long hours and had relationship problems. The treatment she gave me consisted of three stages. First I had to rub a hair lotion into my scalp twice a day for four months which contained a growth stimulant. Second she gave me a supplement for my immune system, then she treated my scalp with ultraviolet light and high frequency treatments.
‘Last August I finally began to notice my own hair growing back. My natural colour is dark and it was light and fluffy like a baby’s at first. But I was so pleased I didn’t mid what colour it was. The results were astonishing, my hair began to grow back really quickly. By Christmas2000 it was long enough to tie back.
‘Today I have a full head of hair again. I’ve even had it cut a couple of times. I’d recommend the treatment to anyone with alopecia, although I know different things work for different people. My hair was my confidence and my self-esteem hit rock bottom when I lost it. Now I can go out with my hair up or down and I feel good about the way I look again.’
Donna was treated by Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.LTTS at the Cotswold Trichology Centre.