My eyebrows have always been something I have struggled with. Having dark hair, as soon as puberty hit I was self-conscious of my very thick, dark eyebrows. I never seemed to be able to get them right. I would either over-pluck them and they would look too thin or I would leave them alone and very quickly end up with a mono-brow. 

I found my eyebrows to be a lot of hard work. However, I didn't appreciate the difference those couple of lines of hair made to my face. Not until I developed alopecia and lost them. 

It was a challenge coming to terms with being bald but what hit me hardest was when my eyelashes and eyebrows fell out too. I hadn't recognised just how much of an impact this would have on my face. Without the hair on my head, I still looked like me; just a smoother version! Without my eyebrows, I no longer recognised the face staring back at me in the mirror. I felt as though my face had been wiped out. The face that i'd known for the past 27 years, suddenly, was gone. 

I struggled for about a year to get to grips with my new appearance. I felt really low and self-conscious of the way I looked. As i'd never been particularly skilled with applying make-up, it didn't even cross my mind to attempt to draw eyebrows on.

I lacked any confidence to try, believing that if I did I would either have a permanently startled or puzzled expression!        

A colleague at work suggested I might want to look into permanent make-up. It wasn't something I had ever heard of but I did some searching online and found that it was a popular option for people with alopecia. 

I found a reputable technician and booked myself an appointment to get some eyebrows put back on my face. I was incredibly nervous beforehand. What if they looked terrible? What if it really hurt? What if I hated them? What if this was a big mistake?!

The treatment is similar to a tattoo but the pigmentation does not go as deep. It felt a little uncomfortable, a scratching of the skin. The numbing cream helped a lot. 

When I looked in the mirror, I could not believe what a difference the  treatment had made to my face. After a year of having no eyebrows, it  took me the best part of a week to get used to the new ones. Initially, I  didn't like them. They felt too dark and a bit like imposters on my face!   

There was also another shock of having another 'new me' to get used to.  But once i'd become accustomed to yet another new look, I loved them. 

I identified with my reflection in the mirror once more and my new brows  really helped to boost my confidence. 

And, if i'm being honest, my professionally manufactured eyebrows look  much better than my original ones ever did!

Having permanent make up isn't for everyone but it certainly helped me in my own journey with alopecia. 

Amy is Alopecia UK's Communications & Fundraising Manager.