Everyone remembers their first time. There is no statement truer when it comes to alopecia. We all remember the moment we spot the first panic inducing bald spot playing peek-a-boo through an otherwise undisturbed sea of hair. 

Me? I was in a crisp French mountain range, in a chalet style apartment on Route d’Avoriaz in Morzine. It was January 2017 and I was spending the winter working as a Chef during a Ski Season. In the midst of a rather uneventful day off I’d opted to get my hair cut, this is when I noticed it.

Now, I’ve always had a ridiculously thick head of here; so no one was more shocked than me when the hairdresser quietly leaned in and said “Vous avez une tache sans cheveux ici, on dirait de l'alopécie. Vous voudrez peut-être voir un médecin” – Politely informing me that I had a small, alopecia type patch on the back of my head that is should see a doctor about. Fast forward 17 months, numerous cities and a whole lot less hair and I’m in Glasgow, writing this blog and continuing on the journey that is Alopecia Universalis. Although the way I look, my lifestyle, coping mechanisms, outlook and goals have all changed – I couldn’t be happier.

Coming to terms with my alopecia was a long, difficult process with many highs and lows. Alopecia Universalis, for me, is the by-product of a rather complex medical issue but it is the one I found most difficult to come to terms with. The process of accepting the situation and eventually taking control of it took its toll. The mental health aspect of handling the condition cost me a relationship, friends and most importantly – my self-confidence.

You see, there is a common misconception amongst people that men with alopecia have an easy time of it and when I began this journey, I found very little in the way of support for young males going with the condition. I found very little explaining the pitfalls of coming to terms with the condition; the mental health aspects, hating yourself when you look in the mirror, the stigma from the public and numerous comments on nights out asking if ‘you have cancer’ and that is merely naming a few. 

Ultimately, I’m not 100% sure of what shape this blog will take. I will be as brutally honest about my personal experiences and share the ways in which I managed to take control and address the plethora of issues. This will by no means be a ‘How-To’ blog or a quick fix for those who are struggling; the help is out there and hopefully in sharing my experiences and signposting you in the right direction then you can join the thousands of people in the UK that live a happy life with alopecia.

I’m hoping that by documenting my journey in some way that it will help others cope with alopecia and aid them in taking control to live with it confidently and happily. I went through a number of phases, including the hair replacement system phase that I thought would be the right option but, as it turns out, they were merely coping mechanisms.

Life without hair can be a difficult one to get your head around (I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere) but after adjusting, accepting and taking control, life can be a hell of a lot ‘smoother.’

Iain will be writing a number of blog posts on Alopecia UK's website. You can also follow him on Instagram: @silkyiain