What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles of the scalp and body causing hair loss. Scientists have found that there are seven types of alopecia but the most common types are alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. These types vary by the amount of hair that is lost, some just a few patches on the scalp while others remove haircompletely from the entire body. The most common type of alopecia is areata which causes patchy hair loss on the scalp. Alopecia totalis is a little more extreme and results in total hair loss on the scalp.  The most advanced form is alopecia universalis which results in complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body.

Alopecia can affect any gender at any age and affects as many as 6.8 million people in the United States. Depending on the type of alopecia, person’s age and the extent of hair loss, there are a variety of treatment options available. The main goals of treatment are to block the immune system attack and/or stimulate the regrowth of hair. There is no single option that will work for everyone and even if there is hair regrowth, there is no guarantee that it won’t fall out again once treatment is stopped. Doctors are working diligently to find a cure for this unpredictable condition.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss.  Many of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to alopecia. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. The prostheses we offer help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

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Mariah’s Story

After having Alopecia for 7 years now, I have become quite accustomed to life as being bald. I have learned to love this condition and embrace it’s unique perks. Especially as a fan of the outdoors, being bald really isn’t so bad. The wind can’t blow hair in my face, it’s easier to camouflage myself, and I don’t have to worry about bed head in the morning after camping. Plus, when you are deep in the back country of the mountains, there are very few people around to judge your looks. However, going out into public is a whole different story as you might expect. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just fit in, rather than stick out like a sore thumb. This is where Locks of Love comes in. With the beautiful, realistic hairpieces they provide, I can now avoid the sympathizing stares, the cancer questions, and the unnecessary comments handed out by strangers.

With these hairpieces, Locks of Love gives young Alopecia sufferers relief from the unfortunate judgments and assumptions of society. Although I often choose to go bald now it’s reassuring to know my hairpiece is there when I need it. Thanks to all at Locks of Love for enhancing the lives of all us baldies!

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