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Lucy's Story | @longingforlocks

My hair loss story hasn’t been straightforward. I’ve shared snippets of it online but never all at once so this was tougher to write than I’d expected. The causes of hair loss can be so different from one person to the next but they are all valid.

After being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism at age 27, following the birth of my first daughter, my hair gradually began to thin and it struggled to grow. Life was busy as a new mum and working as a teacher so I didn’t get a lot of time to think about my hair and would just throw it up in a little bun most days.  As time passed and I adjusted to my new normal, I did start to take a little more pride in my appearance so I would use clip in hair extensions from time to time to add volume and length. This worked for me until I was 39. This is the last photo I have of my bio hair before things went from bad to worse.

 On the 16th June 2022, my mum passed away and left me and my family devastated. My reaction to the loss of her was pretty severe; I barely ate and when I did, I just couldn’t/wouldn’t keep it down. I didn’t tell anyone what was happening and I didn’t seek support – I was so wrapped up in my grief and what I did or didn’t eat was the only thing I had control of. By October 2022, the impact of this behaviour was visible; Id lost a lot of weight and my hair was thinner than it had ever been. I’d lose clumps of it in the shower or in the brush, so much so that I feared washing and brushing my hair and tried to avoid it as much as I could. Some hair came straight out at the root but a lot of it was from breakage. I had so many different lengths to my hair, ranging from a centimetre to just below my shoulders, with the worst affected area being my front hairline as it seemed to be working its way backwards. No amount of styling or extensions could disguise it and I felt despair.


I remember the day I finally confided in my sister about what was happening and she said “you know why your hair is like this don’t you?” and only then did it click – my grief fuelled behaviour had made things so much worse – it was my fault. I felt guilt and anger at myself but I couldn’t just flick the switch and change my pattern right there and then, it took another 4 months to get back to a healthier place. I remind myself now that everyone’s reaction to grief is different and I accept that although unhealthy, I dealt with it in the only way I knew how to at the time.

In the November of 2022 I started doing a lot of research into wigs. I must’ve watched hundreds of YouTube videos with these inspiring women talking openly about their hair loss journeys and reviewing different wigs. I became obsessed with the idea of buying a wig and despite not knowing anyone else who wore one, I found strength and encouragement from all these incredible women online who were out there doing it already, rocking the most amazing hair. I finally took the plunge and bought my first wig in early December 2022. I wore it from the second I opened the box and I felt such relief and happiness that I could hide my bio hair from the world and have great hair everyday. Within a few weeks I’d bought my second and third wig and my quest to find the perfect hair was well underway.

 

 

 

A few weeks later (3 days before Christmas 2022) I was diagnosed with the same genetic disorder as my mum, which meant I had significantly higher chance of developing particular cancers (ovarian, endometrial & bowel). In a heartbeat I agreed to a total hysterectomy and in July 2023, I underwent that surgery. Menopause hits you immediately after the operation and aside from the more well-known symptoms associated with it, hair loss is experienced in over 40% of menopausal women. I soon became a member of that statistic as my front hairline continued to creep backwards, but it didn’t faze me this time because I knew it was coming and I was prepared for it. This will always be an issue for me now but I carry on armed with HRT, a wardrobe of wigs and toppers and the support of an incredible online community of women.

Something that has really surprised me is how open I am about my wig wearing. If someone compliments my hair, I’ll happily reply with ‘thank you, it’s a wig!’ I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words but I do remember that not once has anyone ever replied with anything negative or made me feel ashamed of my choice to wear hair. Admittedly, I find that some people who know I wear wigs, will stare at my hairline regularly but I put it down to curiosity and that’s okay with me. In February 2023 I started my Instagram account with the aim to provide support, hope and positivity for others who may be experiencing hair loss and to normalise women wearing wigs and toppers. There is a huge community of women on social platforms advocating female hair loss and they are amongst the bravest, kindest and most supportive women, and now friends, I have ever met. 

I’ve only recently spoken to my doctor about my hair loss and they’ve added ‘alopecia’ to my medical records. They couldn’t find any other underlying causes but we’ve discussed how all the above-mentioned things are likely to be contributing factors. I’m not expecting a magical cure or for my hair to ever fully recover. I’ve accepted my hair loss and although it’s not always easy, I’m genuinely happy wearing wigs and toppers. There have been some difficult and dark times along my journey but I also feel that hair loss has had many positive impacts on my life and opened up doors to new opportunities and experiences.

I am so grateful and thrilled to have been asked to be an ambassador for Peluka Salon and I hope I can continue to help others by showing them the incredible products that Peluka offer women suffering with hair loss 

 

 

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