It’s August, which means it’s also Hair Loss Awareness Month!
Wait— record scratch— what is Hair Loss Awareness Month?!
Hair Loss Awareness Month is dedicated to the millions of men, women, and children who are currently experiencing hair loss and navigating the social stigmas associated with it. Reasons why people might lose their hair include styling techniques and practices, health conditions, trauma, genetics, aging, medication. The list goes on.
When most people think about hair loss, they picture a balding man. But women experience thinning hair, too. In fact, did you know that it’s estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss in their lifetime? So, why is no one talking about it?
The one thing that all women with hair loss share in common is that we are all in this together to break down the stigma — and we look good doing it, too! For Hair Loss Awareness Month, we asked five women with hair loss what this month means to them. Keep reading to see what they said!
Kate, in a Lu’s Wig purchased from Resell: Silk or Lace
Kate Resler @katerspie
While my hair loss started around 2012, I wasn’t diagnosed [with Androgenic Alopecia] until late February 2020. I’d only started to dip a toe into the hair loss community online a few weeks before.
I’m still figuring out where hair loss figures into my identity—as someone who had incredible bio hair for most of my life, that was a huge part of my personal vision of myself, and giving that up has been… Odd? Hard? It sucks, but it’s also fine?
Hair Loss Awareness Month is not just about raising awareness for hair loss, but about redefining and expanding concepts of womanhood, girlhood, and beauty. Examining hair loss, talking about it, working out how we feel in a public forum helps redirect the way we value people for how they look and the choices they make around how to look in the world. I think, and hope, it’s a time to help us be a little kinder to each other.
I was born in Mexico, but as of now I’m considered a Mexican-American. I am 37 years old and I have lived in America for 11 years. I have been suffering from hair loss for 13 years and five years ago, I decided to go get checked by a professional and was diagnosed with Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) and Scarring Alopecia.
When I first noticed I was losing hair, I was attending college. At that time, I was under a lot of stress because it was my last year at the university and I had a lot of worries and responsibilities on me. I had organized my wedding and was adapting to living here in the United States. There were many changes in my life I had to get used to. Living in a different country from where I was born was both an emotional and cultural shock. I had to adjust to a new life in a country that I had never known before; a new language, a new culture, and I was under a lot of stress, which caused my hair loss to start once again.
After my diagnosis, I was devastated to learn that my hair wouldn’t grow back again. I felt hopeless and ashamed. In the Latinx community, hair loss is a taboo. This taboo shows how hard it is for women to talk about hair loss because people can be very critical or opinionated on this sensitive topic. Not to mention the extremely high beauty standards that put an immense pressure on the idea of having beautiful and perfect hair.
It hasn’t been easy for me to accept my journey; I still have my ups and downs, but I’m at a point in life where I feel so much more at peace with myself. I love my new me and I'm happy to know that I’ve become the strong woman I am today.
Hair loss awareness month in my opinion is a reminder that we are beautiful, strong, and powerful, with or without hair. This is a reminder that experiencing hair loss doesn’t mean you have lost your femininity. It’s also a reminder that we are more than just hair. Although there is still a long way to go to break down the stigma attached to female hair loss, we are on the right path. The more we talk about it, the more awareness we are creating and the closer we are to breaking down this stigma. One of my personal goals is to normalize female hair loss in the Latinx community.
A hairdresser told me I had thin hair in high school. I was more self-conscious of my excessive dandruff than my thin hair at the time. Fast-forward to my early thirties, and after bouts of major stress and taking birth control for many years, it had become a real insecurity that affected my confidence immensely. I remember looking into the mirror and seeing an ever-widening parting, so I would change my part over and over again. I would talk about it constantly and bring it up during social events, like how you would if you had a giant pimple. I cut my hair shorter, which helped. But then it got so thin that I only felt comfortable wearing my hair in a ponytail. I tried extensions, but they didn’t work since the thinning was diffuse. I cared for volume, not length.
It wasn’t until I discovered Suran’s Instagram, @the_strandie, that I felt there was relief coming my way in the form of a topper. I was amazed by how natural it looked and how easy it was to put on. I participated in a meet-up hosted by Suran in Dallas in February of 2020 and purchased my first topper from Serenity Wigs and Toppers. I finally felt relaxed during social events when I wore my topper. And most importantly, I met people in the community that understood everything without explanation. Thank you to @the_strandie, @alliesalopecia, @thebrondeblonde, @lossknotlost, and @dorinazerad for helping me on this journey. I’m so happy to celebrate Hair Loss Awareness Month with you all, and many more!
YoMo Castellano @hairlossbonita
I've lived with Androgenic Alopecia since 2013. I wholeheartedly believe that Hair Loss Awareness Month should be 12 months out of the year. Dealing with hair loss sucks and what makes it worse is that, while it's something that affects millions of us all over the world, it isn't a topic that is talked about due to the associated stigma. Not talking about something that is so normal and common not only isolates us, but keeps us in the dark about facts related to hair loss. The lack of awareness and education can lead to negative psychological and emotional effects on an individual, such as depression, lack of confidence, social isolation, millions of dollars wasted on hair growth treatments/solutions that may not work, and the possibility of being taken advantage of by scammers who are looking to make money off of folks who desperately want to grow their hair. The biggest missed opportunity is not knowing that there is an amazing hair loss community on social media who can help make the hair loss journey a lot less lonely.
When I first joined the hair loss community on Instagram at the end of 2019/early 2020, I didn't find Latinas talking about this topic, which didn't surprise me. Hair loss is a major taboo subject in our community. It is because of this that I created HAIRLOSSBONITA to raise awareness about Alopecia, in English and Spanish, and to show that one can live a fab and full life with hair loss. The lack of chatter about hair loss in the Latinx community (and all communities for that matter) must change and I vow to do what I can to help change this narrative. It's because of this that I have made it my mission to shed light on Alopecia to break the stigma and normalize wearing alternative hair. Celebrities shouldn't be the only ones having fun with wigs and toppers!
Hola, soy YoMo y vivo con alopecia androgénica desde 2013. Creo firmemente que el Mes de la Conciencia sobre la Pérdida del Cabello debería ser 12 meses al año. Lidiar con la caída del cabello apesta y lo que lo empeora es que, si bien es algo que nos afecta a millones de personas en todo el mundo, no es un tema del que se hable por el estigma asociado. No hablar de algo que es tan normal / común no solo nos aísla sino que nos mantiene en la oscuridad sobre los hechos relacionados con la caída del cabello. La falta de conciencia / educación puede provocar efectos psicológicos y emocionales negativos en un individuo, como depresión, falta de confianza y aislamiento social, millones de dólares desperdiciados en tratamientos / soluciones para el crecimiento del cabello y la posibilidad de que los estafadores se aprovechen de las personas que desesperadamente quieren que le crezca el cabello. La mayor oportunidad perdida es no saber que existe una increíble comunidad de pérdida de cabello en las redes sociales que puede ayudar a que el proceso de pérdida de cabello sea mucho menos solitario.
Cuando me uní por primera vez a la comunidad de pérdida de cabello en Instagram a fines de 2019 / principios de 2020, no encontré a latinas hablando sobre este tema, lo cual no me sorprendió. La caída del cabello es un tema tabú en nuestra comunidad. Es por esto que creé mi página IG llamada HAIRLOSSBONITA para crear conciencia sobre la alopecia en inglés y español y también para mostrar que uno puede vivir una vida fabulosa y plena con la caída del cabello. La falta de charla sobre la pérdida del cabello en la comunidad Latinx (y en todas las comunidades) tiene que cambiar y prometo hacer lo que pueda para ayudar a cambiar esta narrativa. Es por esto que me he propuesto crear conciencia sobre la alopecia para romper el estigma, pero también para normalizar el uso de cabello alternativo. Las celebridades no deberían ser las únicas que se diviertan con pelucas y toppers.]
Leah B. @falloutgiirl
Hair Loss Awareness Month is such an important time for me to actively educate others on hair loss and its causes. I was 16 years old when my hair started falling out in clumps in the shower and I had no idea what was happening to me. I was scared because I didn’t know anything about hair loss or anyone who was going through the same thing as me. I felt alone.
I hope to help other girls who feel isolated in their experience by showing them that so many women have hair loss for a multitude of reasons, that lacking hair does not equate to lacking beauty, and sharing how there are so many different alternatives for hair (wigs, toppers, turbans, etc.).
I think it’s amazing that there is an entire month dedicated to hair loss awareness and I hope that this month and onward, we can empower each other through this experience that has taken so many women’s confidence.
What does Hair Loss Awareness Month mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!
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