In September of 2014, blogger and musical theatre actor, Jackie Nguyen openly shared her struggle with hair loss on Huffington Post. “Hiding this issue has only made me more insecure,” she explains. When her hair loss began, she went to the ER for extensive tests when the doctor finally diagnosed her with new-onset Alopecia Areata as a result of high stress, anxiety, and/or depression.
Alopecia Areata is one of many hair loss conditions that affect women in the U.S. today. In fact, many websites report that up to 21 million American women have, or are currently experiencing some form of serious hair loss.
But many women suffer in shame and silence. Nope— baldness isn’t the kind of conversation women feel they can have over a cup of coffee.
At De Novo Hair, we decided to reach out to our social network to open the door to honest dialogue about real women’s experiences with hair loss.
Someone shared that they,“felt helpless,” during chemo treatment, when the hair she had kept long her entire life started, “falling out in handfuls.” Her hair felt like “her security blanket,” and now she had no way to hide.
Another woman shared of how she lost all the hair on her face and sides of her head. At first, it came as a shock, but though the doctors can’t explain her hair loss, it has benefited her marriage. Why? Because her husband says he loves her “no matter what, even if she’s bald.”
One mom of young children shared how she ordered a custom quality wig to wear to church and other social events, but prefers to wear a baseball cap for quick errands or running her kids to school.
A 40-year-old middle school teacher said she stocked up on different human hair wigs before chemo knowing the “inevitable would happen.” She went with one that was natural, and another in a more daring color and style to see how she felt most comfortable. But when she first wore her wig, she couldn’t shake the feeling she was, “wearing a disguise.”
Another mom suffering from eczema shaved her head and outfitted herself with professional wigs. She said she loved, “the full of head of hair, and it was fun to get different styles.”
An Ovarian Cancer survivor who has lost her hair three different times from chemo said, “But all three times I decided I was going to take control of the situation and not let it control me. And of course, #1 thing is prayer. It is to the point now that hair isn't the most important thing. My focus has changed.”
Everybody’s hair loss journey is different. These brave women teach us that it is truly a journey. As our appearance alters in the mirror, we need to come to grips with a new reality of ourselves. This is a road through shame, self-doubt, fear, courage, risk, self-love, and passion. The struggle is one side of the coin, but sometimes struggling to find beauty can make things appear more beautiful in the end.
We want to honor you, wherever you’re at in your hair loss journey. We want you to know you aren’t alone out there. And whether you wear a scarf, a hat, a hair topper, a wig, or nothing at all—you are lovely.