Anna Oldfield We've done it...!!! 18 inches of hair cut off...

My sister Kate and I have been growing our hair for the past 18 months or so in order to do a Sponsored Hair Cut. It won't be as dramatic as 'Braving the Shave' but we will be donating our cut hair to 'The Little Princess Trust' who provides real hair wigs to children with hair loss, while the money raised will be going to Alopecia Uk. Both of these charities are close to our hearts, as they have supported a family member who has been affected by alopecia.

Alopecia UK is a small charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia. The charity has aims around Support, Awareness and Research, replying upon the support of fundraisers and donors to continue the fantastic work it does.

Hair loss is usually thought of as something men start worrying about as they get older. But there are various forms of hair loss, often extensive and sudden, which can impact on anyone – male or female – at any time and at any age.

Alopecia is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the hair follicles and although it is not life-threatening, it most certainly is LIFE-ALTERING.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition that affects a lot of people in many different ways and it can totally change your life. Hair loss can result in a variety of psychological and emotional issues associated with how we perceive ourselves, and how we think we believe other people perceive us. When you lose your hair, it’s a loss! It’s a loss of your identity, which also has the power to make you lose confidence, feel worthless, suffer from depression, anxiety and even lose friends.

There are three main forms, distinguished largely by the extent of the loss: alopecia areata [AA], referring to the partial loss of hair from the head, usually patchy rather than general thinning; alopecia totalis [AT], which is the loss of all head hair; and alopecia universalis [AU], the loss of all head and body hair.

The immune system which normally protects the body from foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, which is what leads to hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed, therefore the hair does have the possibility to re-grow and many people with Alopecia Areata do experience full regrowth. However once the condition has developed to Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, the chances of full regrowth become smaller. It is also quite common for people with Alopecia Areata to experience hair loss on and off throughout their life.

Alopecia Areata typically starts as one or more small, smooth bald patches on the scalp. The hair loss can remain as patchy hair loss or can continue until all hair on the scalp is lost or complete loss of hair from the body.

Treatments may be offered by a Dermatologist but unfortunately none are guaranteed to work.

Alopecia is very unpredictable and therefore everyones experience is very different.

We would like to ‘Thank you’ for supporting us with our fundraising efforts. We really appreciate your support and so does Alopecia UK! Anna Oldfield