‘Within two months, I was completely bald’ Mum reveals how she overcame battle with alopecia

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  • Every woman knows a bad hair day can ruin your mood. For Karen Green losing her hair was worse than any bad-hair day - until she got her new 'do. She reveals how she refused to let alopecia take away her femininity.

    As I washed out the conditioner, I felt a few of my hairs come loose. Usually it was the odd one or two… But lately, it seemed I’d end up with several tangled around my hands. At first, I wasn’t worried. Then my brush started filling up with tufts of my dark-blonde hair. Before I knew it, I was cleaning it out daily.

    ‘I think my hair is thinning,’ I fretted.

    ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ my husband Viv, then 57, would say. ‘It looks fine to us,’ my sons Daniel, 31, and Robert, 29, shrugged.

    Karen with her husband Viv Green

    But I wasn’t convinced. Concerned, I eventually took myself to the GP. He worried I might be anaemic, which can cause hair loss. But a thyroid and blood test came back normal. So what was it?

    My hair still falling out, I paid to see a private GP. And as soon as she saw me, she knew what was wrong.

    ‘Karen, you have alopecia,’ she explained.

    In the UK, more than eight million women live with hair loss. It can range from patches of hair loss – alopecia areata – to the most severe type – alopecia universalis – the loss of all body hair. Sadly, my form of alopecia was the latter.

    Within two months, I was completely bald. It broke my heart. I no longer recognised the person in the mirror. My hair had been my crowning glory. Now I felt like my femininity and my identity had vanished.

    So I started to hide myself away. Even when I tried on wigs, I didn’t feel ‘normal’. It was only through counselling that I finally began to accept this condition for what it was. And thankfully, I had amazing support from Viv and my family.

    Credit: Fantastic Hair & Camelia Flitter of Avanti Photographics

    I wanted to get my confidence back for me. That’s when I heard about Freedom Wigs, which tailors bespoke hairpieces for people with hair loss. I could choose the style, length and colour. But, best of all, its caps are designed to withstand anything.

    Swimming, fitness…I could do what I wanted without worrying about my wig flying off. In April 2014, my dark-blonde wig arrived. I loved it, and my confidence returned.

    In November 2017, I became a trustee with Alopecia UK. I also became an independent agent for Freedom Wigs, with Viv, and I launched our own business Fantastic Hair as part of it. We’re supporting others with alopecia so they can get a second chance.

    I know full well how devastating the diagnosis can be. So I want others to know they aren’t alone.