It’s our favourite month of the year. The one that is dedicated to spreading the word about alopecia, and what it is like to live with hair loss.

September is Alopecia Awareness Month and whilst at Alopecia UK we firmly believe that alopecia awareness is a 365-day-a-year activity, it is fantastic to have a whole month focused on bringing attention to alopecia.

This year our hashtag for our social media posts is #AUKHEADUCATION. Expect lots of informative content across our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn channels, including some images and quotes from men, women and children in our community.

We will also have a several new blogs on our website and will be encouraging our community to get involved in some fundraising too.

Alopecia UK CEO Sue Schilling says:

“It is exciting that another Alopecia Awareness Month has come around. In previous Septembers, I have loved seeing our community engage in awareness and fundraising activities and I hope 2023 will be no different. With challenges continuing for those with alopecia, such as unacceptably long waiting times for dermatology appointments in some areas, continued struggles with NHS wig provision and new alopecia treatments yet to be approved by NICE, Alopecia Awareness Month has never been more important. 

September is an opportunity to show that many in our community live well with alopecia. I believe that people should be able to live the life they want to with alopecia free of stigma and discrimination.  Wigs, toppers, root sprays, patchy heads, receding hairlines, shaved heads, half eyebrows, eyebrow transfers, patchy beards, permanent make up, tattoos…hair…or no hair. All can be celebrated because being visibly different to your neighbour should not impact your life. This is why Alopecia UK continue to advocate for living well, and you will see many positive stories this month.

But I also remember how it felt when I wanted treatment and there was none. And we see your comments and hear anecdotal stories every day that align with the research; for many people the psychological impact of alopecia is debilitating and life-altering.  That is why Alopecia UK also advocates for patients with partners in the healthcare sector and with researchers who are trying to understand more about alopecia. Much of this work is behind the scenes, and made harder because we are seeing funding cuts everywhere. This is immensely worrying. And, as a small charity it is impossible for us to fight everywhere, so right now our immediate advocacy work is with NICE fighting for the new JAK inhibitor treatments for alopecia areata. There are two more meetings this month. Each meeting comes with weeks of preparation and the impact of the decisions, and sometimes even criticism from those within and outside of our community – it is hard. But we have grown our impact with the support of a handful of expert volunteers who have advised us and delivered meaningful content throughout, we are immensely grateful to them. And, if we are to do more of this work we will need a bigger team.  If we are to tackle the health inequalities, the lack of formal treatment pathway, the reducing provision in dermatology, and so on….we will need more funding. 

For this reason, September feels different for me this year.  It is a time to reflect on how far Alopecia UK has come in raising the patient voice and how far the healthcare sector still has to go to truly support people with alopecia.  But, I am celebrating all the people who have overcome difficulty this year and I am celebrating the ways that alopecia has positively enriched some of us.  I am looking forward to seeing the inspirational social media posts from members of our community and will enjoy reading new blogs this month too! I have written my own blog reflecting on how I built my own narrative, allowing me to accept my alopecia and empower me to move forward. Writing my blog has reminded me how far I have come with my own alopecia since I lost my hair in 2016. I hope my words might help others. 

Alopecia Awareness Month will mean different things for different people. Whatever it means to you, I hope you have a good September. A HUGE thank you to anyone who gets involved in any awareness and fundraising activities this month. If you are not getting involved in awareness or fundraising but would like to help Alopecia UK with a one-off donation this September, or perhaps you would be willing to show your support via a regular monthly donation, you can do that here".

Check out our Alopecia Awareness Month webpage for details of all the ways you can get involved!

You can read Sue’s blog, ‘Building My Narrative’ here.