Awareness Month, one woman has taken to social media to share her experiences of living with the condition to educate others.
Brittany Myers, a photographer who is now 33, was diagnosed with alopecia – a condition that causes the hair to fall out – when she was just seven years old, and since then has had to face her biggest fear of losing all her hair.
Sharing a self portrait to her photography Instagram account, she captioned the post: ‘I’ve never been too vocal about #alopecia. Those that know me know why I am bald, but I don’t often talk about it in a public forum. I guess the reason, really, is that I have never wanted it to define me, and I still don’t, but sometimes talking about it can be cathartic for me, and maybe someone else out there too.’
‘Alopecia is hair loss caused by an immune system mix-up. Simple as that. It’s not a sickness. It’s not caused by stress. It’s simply a function of the body that we have no control over. We’ve all got something, alopecia just happens to be more obvious because it’s on the outside.’
Speaking to Yahoo Beauty, Brittany explained that finally losing all of hair at the age of 26 has redefined her idea of what is beautiful.
‘Back then, I never imagined it wouldn’t grow back,’ she says, ‘but I’ve been bald ever since.’
‘It helped me begin to see the complex beauty in the baldness, in the challenge of it all, and finding that comfort over time helped me to shift focus away from alopecia and baldness.’
And Brittany isn’t the only one who’s used the month to share her story and raise awareness; many other women are also taking to the photo-sharing site to proudly show off their bald heads and detail their inspiring stories in the captions.
One woman, from the National Alopecia Areata Foundation in St Vincent, USA, wrote: ‘Being bald hasn’t always been easy. I’ve questioned my self-worth and fixated on other people’s opinions way more than I should’ve.’
She continued: ‘I’ve learned that not everyone is as accepting and that not all people are able to look past the fact that I have no hair – but that’s okay. As I look back on the last 14 months, I think about how lucky I am to have such loving and supportive family, friends, and boyfriend by my side the past two years. Thank you for putting up with my endless bald jokes and for having my back always.’
Another shared an image of her little girl in an adorable ballet tutu, admiring her reflection in a mirror.
‘This little ballerina is my reason for this alopecia awareness journey. What an inspiration she is!!’ she wrote.
‘Let’s create a world we’re there’s more understanding and acceptance of everyone! Preschool age children are so busy exploring the world, learning new skills, and becoming more independent, that they don’t pay much attention to their own physical appearance, or the differences they may have from others their age.’