Alopecia areata is a common autoim¬mune skin disease, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. In fact, it affects as many as 6.8 million people in the U.S. with a lifetime risk of 2.1%. People of all ages, both sexes and all ethnic groups can develop alopecia areata. With all forms of alopecia areata, your body’s own immune system attacks your healthy hair follicles, causing them to become much small¬er and drastically slow down production to the point that hair growth may stop. Depending on which type and severity of the disease you have, you might experience hair loss in differ¬ent areas and your hair loss and regrowth may be unpredictable and cyclical (happen over and over) for many years. Though for some people, hair may also regrow in a few months. There is no cure for alopecia areata and it is not contagious, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Mary Leicht, our makeover model for October, started with symptoms of alopecia about 15 years ago. After many medical tests, she was diagnosed with alopecia universalis, complete loss of hair on the scalp, face and body. Within two months she lost all her hair. She had a couple of options to consider – al¬low alopecia to take over her life or make the most of it. She reminds herself of the positives that alopecia universalis offers, she can change her hair style (color, length) to go with different outfits, or she may choose to not wear a wig, especially if it is hot or rainy. Step A-Head Styling in Waupun is Mary’s choice for wigs. Julie Patrouille gives great advice on the best style for her clients. Pictured are just three of the many wigs Julie has in stock.
Mary shares, “I have found that I have become a stronger person because of alopecia, it’s only hair. I am thankful that I am healthy and happy, there are way more worse things out there. You make choices everyday with what has been dealt and I always try to make the best of it.” The National Alopecia Areata Foundation is a reliable source of information and support. You can talk with and meet other individuals who have the same diagnosis and know exactly what you are feeling.