July of 2014 my beautiful daughter Bailey suddenly got a bald patch on her head. We thought it may have been a freak occurrence, or maybe she had twisted her hair too much(she was a habitual hair twister and hair chewer). At the time she was 7 years old, so she was at the age where she was dressing cute and really trying to mirror her older sister. At this point is wasn’t too hard to cover the spot by pulling her hair in a ponytail and hiding it.
Soon another spot appeared. When my wife, Natalie, brought it to my attention I freaked out on the inside. “What the Fuck?” I mouthed to my wife so Bailey couldn’t see? The look on her face said it all. I was suddenly very worried and sick. Natalie pointed out that Tyler, our youngest son, had it for a time and developed a bald patch on the back of his head, she said it went away eventually.
It took some skills but we were able to still cover the bald patches by carefully placing the hair so it covered it. But it only lasted so long, she was 7 and hardly sat still. Her hair was often a hot mess, and the patches were fully exposed. I hated that she may go to school and kids might mention it.
One night she stood in the mirror and looked at her bald spots and said “Hey DaDa! Soon I will look just like you!”(I shave my head bald) I assured her that she wouldn’t look like me and not to worry. She smiled “It’s OK, I want to look like you!” This was so cute and nice but I couldn’t stop worrying about her hair loss and when it would stop, if it would stop.
Researching online just made me more anxious because all the sites really had no cure and it seems to be so different for different people. Here is the online official definition:
Alopecia areata is a prevalent autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and can progress to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or complete body hair loss (alopecia universalis). The scalp is the most commonly affected area, but the beard or any hair-bearing site can be affected alone or together with the scalp. Alopecia areata occurs in males and females of all ages, but onset often occurs in childhood. Over 6.6 million people in the United States and 147 million worldwide have, had or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives.
Alopecia areata is a highly unpredictable and cyclical condition. The affected hair follicles become very small and produce no visible hair above the skin’s surface. Hair can grow back in or fall out again at any time, and the disease course is different for each person. No matter how widespread the hair loss, most hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.
I thought about a woman we used to work with at Food 4 Less in California named Stephanie. She was one of the funnest people we had the pleasure of knowing. I didn’t see her for a couple of years and suddenly I saw her one day and she was completely bald. If I’m not mistaken she had a version of this disease and it completely made her bald. I hated the idea of my 7 year old having to wear hats or wigs, or just try and fit in like this.
I took her to a dermatologist and they told us what we already knew, she had alopecia areata. There was really nothing he could do. He told me he could prescribe a cream to apply that may help to promote hair growth and if that didn’t help I could come back and he could inject it. I told him that I probably wouldn’t put her through that. So we went home and we just put the cream on nightly.
Here are pictures of Bailey’s hair loss during this time:
Over time the hair just started to come back. Not only that, Bailey’s hair in these areas has grown back really light and looks like beautiful blonde highlights.
Here she is last month, the hair came back real nice! She is the one on the left.
So I wrote this post for anyone out there who feels as helpless as I did when my kid’s hair started falling out for no reason. I searched websites and really didn’t find much information that was promising. I wish I had found a posting like this one to ease my mind.