Most moms can attest to the fact that pregnancy equals awesome hair and postpartum equals panic attack mode questioning whether or not you’ll ever have hair again. 40% of women experience visible hair loss by the age of 40.

6 weeks ago I shared on the Austin Moms Instagram “People aren’t what they post to be”. And holy crap, people came out of the wood works with empathy, their own hair loss struggles, tips & tricks, and just general, LOVE! I never felt so good about sharing something so vulnerable.

This is my journey to living with Alopecia Areata.

I won’t go into the entire journey of stress that was encroached upon me 5 years ago, because ain’t nobody got time to listen to my belly aching; however, the short story is that our family had a lot going on and I was juggling entirely too much. We truly can only handle so much before our bodies crap out.

5 years ago I noticed a thinning spot when I went to pull my hair back. Not thinking too much about it, I made an appointment with my dermatologist thinking maybe I had some weird scalp fungus or something. After what felt like a very short appointment, my doctor told me in a super peppy voice “oh! you have alopecia areata!”. “Great!” I replied… “what can you prescribe me to make it go away?” That’s when I learned that alopecia is an autoimmune disorder and nothing really makes it go away. You can treat the symptoms of alopecia, but ultimately your hair follicles are mistakenly attacking your own immune system (white blood cells), resulting in the arrest of the hair growth stage. Nifty, right?

For the longest time I felt so ashamed and embarrassed about my hair loss. Not knowing how much hair I was going to lose during this process, I left my family here in Austin and embarked on a journey to Washington D.C. for a custom wig. After 2 separate trips to D.C. I’m now the proud owner of who/what I like to call “Shakira”. Shakira is my wig. She’s a she. She gave me so much confidence for a solid year and honestly, nobody really knew I even wore a wig. The trick was to never let a soul see me without her… so I wore Shakira to workout, to dinners, to preschool, you name it! She only came off at home.

Throwback to my wig days!

As much as I loved her during the wig era, I’m happy to report that I haven’t worn Shakira in about 4 years; however, my first bout with alopecia was the absolute worst…. like I wasn’t sure if I was about to lose every damn hair on my head or not. And it’s funny, because whenever I talk openly about having alopecia areata for the first time, people either a. have no clue what it is or b. see this girl with all of this hair and think oh it must not be that big of a deal. Then I show them the pictures and they all have the exact same reaction… OH MY GOD, Allison, I had no idea.

WARNING: The following post contains images that may be disturbing to some readers. 🙂

This was taken from my mom’s bathroom while we were temporarily living with her during the construction of our new home.
This was taken from my mom’s bathroom while we were temporarily living with her during the construction of our new home.

Fast forward…

The same dermatologist that “diagnosed” me with alopecia also started offering PRP treatments and wanted to use me as a guinea pig before they started offering the treatment to patients. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is a three-step medical treatment in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp. PRP injections trigger natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft.

Y’all, IT WORKED! Check out my before and after featured on their website!

Alopecia is a funny thing. It comes and goes and just when you think, “yay, I’m cured!” a new spot pops up. I’ve had this guy for about 18 months.

About to endure steroid injections from my dermatologist.

I’m still trying to get to the root cause, because I struggle to believe that at the age of 32 that I just ALL of a sudden developed Alopecia. I’ve completely cut gluten out of my diet, but that hasn’t made a difference for my hair specifically. Recently I started seeing an acupuncturist who believes I have mold growing in my body causing gut issues, which over time has caused the alopecia. And there is science behind gut inflammation and autoimmune disorders. I’ve also started drinking green juice inspired by the Green Juice & Tequila podcast. At this point, who knows though? I’ll try just about anything, but the jury is still out on the acupuncture. I’ll report back after a few months of ridding my body of mold.

The intent of my original Instagram post was just to share that we’ve ALL got stuff going on and that who we are on social media isn’t really who we are underneath Shakira. Life is all relative and I fully recognize that my hair drama is just that. There are others out there that have it worse and for sure have it better. I just know that I’ve got my family, my faith, my friends, and overall, am blessed beyond measure. But just know… if you see me out and about and you tell me how pretty my hair looks, it literally makes my whole day!!

Give a compliment to a stranger… you never know what personal battle they might be fighting.

If you want to hear more about my hair loss, check out my amazing friend Melissa’s GREEN JUICE & TEQUILA podcast that we recently recorded on the topic of alopecia.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you SO much for sharing your story!!! My 6 yr old son has had it for 1.5 yrs and we are still in the middle of his roller coaster with it but new spots are hitting us less hard. We’ve got life to live right? I got tired of being so sad with every new spot. His comes and go and hasn’t taken over his scalp, but I always fear it will and almost wish it just would already so we can adjust to a bald new normal. On one hand I’m glad he got it as a child so it will be his normal, but on the other I fear he’ll lose it all during middle or high school and can’t bear the idea of the pain he could feel. I send an email out to each of his classes each year so parents can learn about it and hopefully he will have a supportive and inclusive elementary school experience. Your story out on such a public platform is such a big deal!!! Thank you again for raising awareness and helping our society to be informed (which helps lessen stigma)!!!

  2. I am so sorry you’re struggling with this. You are a brave and beautiful person! My husband has had bouts with this and from what he learned stress and trauma has a huge piece in it. He lost his mother in a traumatic way and months later in began. You are amazing, thanks for sharing the real real.

  3. I had alopecia triggered by stress due to a family death. I got 1 steroid shot that made the hair grow. However a series of other stressful events thereafter triggered telogen effluvium. I’m about to start PRP hoping it will help. It’s a vicious circle, stress causes hair loss, hair loss causes stress, which causes mooooore hair loss. Can’t wait for this to be over!

  4. I found this article after doing a search for Alopecia Areata. I have been suffering the same type of hair loss for 2 years and I can totally relate. I have seen dermatologists, been using Rogaine, supplements, steroid injections, etc. Its such a scary journey and I applaud you for being open about it. If you find something that truly helps, would you post it?

  5. I just wanted to say thank you to you and those who have posted their comments for sharing your experiences. I noticed a bald spot on my right side of my head near my ear and I have started to do my own research as I wait for my blood test results. I have always been so in love with my long hair and this has taken a huge hit to my confidence. Seeing everything you wrote has inspired me to not give up, and has reminded me to keep my faith strong. Thank you for sharing with us, it truly has helped!

  6. My daughter suffers from it and lost all of her hair. We were lucky to find Hair Club for Kids who provide free wigs or extensions for children under 18! It’s been a life saver. They can clip it in your hair or glue to scalp. You can swim in it, shower and you get free monthly haircuts, free replacement wigs…u name it, all services covered. It’s great for children of all ages with hair loss issues like alopecia or trichotillimania. It literally saved my daughter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here