Getting a diagnosis of alopecia is difficult at any stage of your life, as adults we can look for triggers and what solutions we feel comfortable with.
But what happens when it is a child?
We get to meet so many incredible young people who are battling alopecia and we know the devastating consequences and confusion this diagnosis can bring – both to the child and also the family.
Recently we met an inspirational young lady called Ursula. Ursula was recently diagnosed with Alopecia Areata and, wanting to raise awareness of this condition, Ursula and her amazing family wanted to share their story.
Ursula had never had “normal” hair, it just didn’t seem to grow in the same way that we see other young girls hair. This was enough to raise it with the GP and we were referred to a dermatologist at Milton Keynes Hospital who monitored Ursula for 3 years.
The last year Ursula’s hair fell out and, despite brushing her teeth every day, we noticed staining on her teeth. It was agreed that this was not normal for a healthy young girl and so Ursula had some blood tests and was referred to Oxford University Hospital.
Unfortunately, our appointment was due when Covid struck and so it had to change to a video consultation. During that short video chat, we were told that Ursula had Alopecia Areata, we knew something wasn’t right and to be given this diagnosis without anyone actually looking at her felt very cold. We were offered steroid cream and a wig – there were so many unanswered questions and it left us feeling angry and struggling to accept this quick diagnosis.
Unwilling to accept this we looked for a second opinion and some answers on why and what could be done. The GP and some foreign doctors we consulted all said the same thing – Ursula had Alopecia Areata and there is no cure. That was it – our little girl, our princess would have to rely on wigs and steroid cream.
As parents this was such a difficult time, you are always worried about what could be the cause, is there something we could change in her diet that could help, what happens when she starts to ask questions about why all her friends have hair and she doesn’t, how will the other children treat her? Desperate to find something that could help, we started trawling the internet. Through Alopecia UK we met a family who was also experiencing childhood alopecia and the suggested we get in touch with The Little Princess Trust.
They were great and offered Ursula a wig and gave us the referral to Christos.
From the very first visit we were all treated with respect and there was such a desire to help from all the team. Tina was an instant hit with Ursula – she is so kind, caring and beautiful inside and out. Not only did they fit the wig, they showed us how to take care of it, how to look after Ursula's scalp correctly to encourage hair growth and even arranged for us to see their pharmacist that specialises in nutritional medicine.
If I could offer one piece of advice to parents going through a similar journey it would be to speak to Christos, Tina has given us hope and we are mentally so much stronger now we know what to expect and what we can do to help Ursula. If your child needs a wig – get in touch with The Little Princess Trust. Seeing Ursula in her wig gives us the biggest lift, she is so happy and stays in it all day. Do not give up, love what you have today and look with hope to the future.
Ursula’s thoughts on her wig…
"I think it’s beautiful. And my friends like it. I feel so comfortable with it and its super cute. It's a little bit itchy but if you try and try it will get comfortable. If it will not work just snip off the uncomfortable edges. And you will feel princessy with your wig."
Becoming a fundraising champion
Ursula is so thrilled with her wig that she wants to help support The Little Princess Trust who made this possible. Sadly the Covid pandemic has had a massive impact on this wonderful charity, through both a lack of fundraising opportunities and also fewer hair donations as people have not been able to get to salons through the lockdown periods.
Ursula would now like to raise £1000 to help other children who have lost their hair. You can donate directly on Ursula's JustGiving page.
If you would like to donate your hair to The Little Princess Trust please do get in touch. We will offer you a cut and restyle free of charge in recognition of your amazing donation as well as a discount on services such as colouring and styling products. Please note that hair needs to be 16" minimum in order to donate.
Wig fitting is just a part of the service we offer. We know that hair loss, in both children and adults, requires an ongoing consultative approach.
We work with our clients to help determine any underlying causes of hair loss, set up a plan for scalp and hair care that works in harmony with their body and any ongoing medical treatments, providing nutrition and wellbeing support through our expert team - and of course,
offering hair loss solutions from wig fitting through to Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy.
If you are struggling with hair loss or hair thinning please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our hair loss clinic team will be happy to arrange a free initial consultation.