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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

My Alopecia Story

By Jamie Elmore

I have been a licensed hairstylist for over 25 years.

Jamie Elmore

Styling hair is my passion. I am in the business of making men and women look good and feel amazing.

In December 1993, I experienced a life threatening, stressful situation after the birth of my daughter. I encountered something that would affect my own personal beauty – a condition called Alopecia.

Alopecia Areata is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system — which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria — mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, the tiny cup shaped structures from which hairs grow. This can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere on the body.

I first noticed my hair shedding in 1993. In 1998, I found my first bald spot at the nape of my neck which would “grow in and fall out.” My hair loss would move to different areas of my head and scalp.

From 2000-2003, I lost more hair and I found bigger bald spots throughout my head. I would wake up in the morning and my scalp felt and looked like someone took an eraser and erased the hair off of my head. Even my eyebrows had bald spots. I was in shock and devastated. For the most part, I was uncomfortable going places or being seen. Out in public I would stay away from large crowds, I would think people were staring and looking just at my bald spots. I would constantly look in to my mirror to make sure that I had not accidently wiped off my “drawn on eyebrows.”

When I would get dressed in the morning I would put my makeup on while keeping my headscarf on my head, so I would not have to look at myself or the bald patches in my head as it scared me. I would walk around my house “day in and day out” feeling like a prisoner in my own home. Neither my family nor my clients knew what I was going through. I always felt nervous, ashamed and unattractive.

I struggled with the condition for years. I went through major depression, weight gain and weight loss. I was put on all types of medication for my depression and self-induced panic attacks.

All the wigs, scarves and hats were uncomfortable for me to wear. I felt like I had no control of my hair or my styling options. It was a roller coaster ride! I was living my own “masquerade.” I would say to myself “Jamie you are a hairstylist and you can’t fix yourself.”

I shied away from men saying to myself “no man would want a bald-headed woman.”

I finally went to the Doctor and in 2004 I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata.

I was tired of hiding from myself and those who knew me. In 2006, I gained the courage to shave the remaining hair from my head. Currently, I am able to embrace my bald head and understand that my value and self-worth is not in my hair or lack thereof.

I am on a personal quest for internal health and wellness. I work with men, women and children all over the world to build their own self- esteem and how to overcome the pressure from society about hair-loss. I am also a Life coach, I educate individuals on proper nutrition, financial freedom and a holistic way of beauty starting from the inside out.

My purpose in life is to empower, support and encourage individuals living with Alopecia and hair-loss.

To the men and women going through this experience, I say to you, that you are not alone. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God. I would say to YOU, do not allow others; the world, the videos, social media etc. to define you or tell you what beauty is supposed to look like. Please know that you are unique and valuable, and there is no one else like you.

Jamie Elmore is licensed hairstylist and the founder of the Alopecia Support Group, which helps empower, support and encourage individuals living with Alopecia and hair loss.

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