Stress has been known to cause many different types of disease in the body, but one that many people don’t know can be stress induced is Alopecia Areata. Normally Alopecia is just thought of as a genetic abnormality in the immune system which can cause a hair-loss condition which usually affects the scalp. But there are other times when Alopecia comes about due to highly stressful situations. My friend Brandi Pettijohn (Photographer Extrodinare !)experienced this stress induced Alopecia and suggested that I do an article on the subject. Below is her story and what she went through;
About a year and a half ago I had a series of stressful events happen in my life. My father passed away, my love relationship was dying, my home was burglarized and other small things added to my level of stress. On a whim I decided that it was once again time to cut my hair short in an effort to simplify things. While in the chair the stylist pointed out something that shocked and disturbed me – a bald spot. The stylist wanted me to see the spot and didn’t want me to think that she did it and she further explained that it was alopecia, “yep you can see it – that’s alopecia,” she exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it, there was a half dollar size bald spot in my head and I later discovered more hair loss at the base of my neckline. In my life, if I have been able to count on one thing it was my hair. I stood by it and it stood by me. If I wanted to cut it, it was cute, if I wanted to grow it long – it grew long and thick. My hair was so great that I became a hair model. I could do anything to it (except for bleach) and it would hold up and be strong. So when I was faced with my hair falling out of my head and I didn’t even notice it – I got scared.
On a recent trip home to Los Angeles, I also realized that I wasn’t alone. I ran into women who had no idea about my bout with alopecia that also expressed that they were so stressed out that they have or had hair loss. I’m no stranger to holistic healing and also know about stress and how it affects the body – so when I learned that I had alopecia I knew that it was stress induced. So I tried to take the steps in reducing my stress as well as giving my hair a break. The bald spot has since grown back and I am on the constant pursuit to have less stress and to stress less. I’m writing this article in conjunction with Healthy Locs in hopes that we can take hair loss as a sign to other issues that are affecting our bodies. Below are some tips and things that I did;
#1 Leave your hair alone…for some it will be harder than others…but really I had to stop touching my hair and the spot. I don’t really recommend braids cause they can pull the hair too but if you want just make sure that the braider doesn’t do more damage to your scalp by pulling too tight. Whatever it is to that doesn’t add stress to you and makes you feel comfortable. I wore wigs for a hot second.
#2 Make sure your on the up & up with your vitamins. I take vitamin E as well as Omega #3
#3 Reduce your stress level. I can’t tell you how to do this. I took a yoga class. The point is however to make a real effort to get the stress off of you… trust…if it’s making your hair fall out Goddess only knows what happening inside of your body.
#4 Get your joy back…whatever it is that gives you real joy – do it. For me it was my photography series Doc the Artist. Being around other artists who were doing their thing made me happy, and the accomplishment of every post made me feel like I made a step in the right direction, regardless on how not perfect it was, I am doing it.
If you have questions that you’d like to ask Brandi about her Alopicia experience you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also be sure to check out some of her photography by visiting http://brandisthephotographer.blogspot.com
Also please don’t hesitate to share your Alopecia story with us by leaving a comment and letting us know what you did to cure your Alopecia.
Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs
Nyesha Samuel – Master Loctician