September is Alopecia Areata Awareness Month, a one-month celebration to increase public awareness of alopecia areata in local communities across the United States. This is near and dear to my heart, since my daughter has this condition. I feel it’s always important to share with others information on topics that they might not otherwise learn about, so that we can all be more open and share kindness with one another.
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss. It affects roughly 6.8 million people in the United States. In the majority of cases, hair falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter. For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it can be more extreme. Sometimes, it can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or, in extreme cases, the entire body (alopecia universalis).
The condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30. Alopecia can lead to social anxiety as well as depression. It’s especially difficult for teens.
It’s been a journey for us in understanding this disease and how to help our kiddo grow up with a healthy self image. While it’s been difficult at times, I think she has learned what true beauty is about. And that the people who love her, love her for who she is. We love the person she is! Beautiful from the inside out. I believe it’s possible to help our kids be confident in themselves if we start with unconditional love.
Netali Chopra-Sanghvi is a Naperville mother and works in behavioral health services, early intervention.