Monday, 18 January 2016

Own it.

Welcome!!! I hope you are all well.

If you haven't seen any of my other blogs, this is the last one which you can follow to the beginning: 

Many apologies for being absent for the last few months, I have been fairly busy with moving and starting university. I have had a busy first semester.

Starting university is a daunting thing; new place, new people and new things to do. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. But I am being honest in saying that, alopecia was one of the last things on my mind. I am lucky in that respect as I can imagine that some people, in a similar situation may be a little more concerned about it.

I suddenly realised that at a place like a university, there is much more diversity and there’s such a wide variety of people from a range of backgrounds that seeing someone with alopecia is not a big deal. Because usually, they would have experienced it already. 

I am by no means saying that people will not mention it or it will not be noticed- but accepted, yes.

Of course when you go ‘out-out’ people will try to touch your head-- if you don’t want them to, do not let them- you deserve the same respect that they they want. (Most guys I see on a night out look like they’d flip if you touched their carefully crafted keratin). Of course drunk people will ask about it from time to time but don’t let it upset you… Just because they don’t have manners/too drunk to care doesn’t mean you don’t look bitchin’.

I truly do feel that having alopecia has helped me become who I am today, who knows, I may not even be at the university I wanted or not have been confident enough to make the friends I have. And this would be a great shame, I really am happy how I am and if offered the choice to undo my hair falling out, I wouldn’t go for it… It’s not worth the risk because what I have now is not something I want to lose.

My key piece of advice to anyone who has recently shaved their head, is to own it. This is far easier said than done but what I mean by this is: embrace it, love it. People respect you owning it- you may feel like you are playing with a handicap but in all honesty (sorry for the major cliché) personality is still key.

If I am honest with myself, I do enjoy receiving attention in general- it is not always a good thing but it is definitely a personality trait of mine. Perhaps that is why I managed to get on with my alopecia so quickly. Personally, I loved freshers’ week and having no hair created the perfect blank canvas for dressing up. Each night I sported a different coloured face paint eye brow, fake tattoos and world flags spanning my scalp also featured. It was a nice way to really express who I am and what I am about. 

Although standing out wasn’t my intention I feel it is helpful when coming somewhere new, as you are more easily recognised. Additionally, for Halloween I capitalised on my ‘strength’ to become Bane from DC’s Batman. It was something I had wanted to do since shaving my head and well it was a popular costume when out- I think the realistic bald head made the costume seem very real. And of course I very much enjoyed people enjoying the costume.

Of course me saying ‘own it’ and telling you what I have done will not make you get over your hair loss- that’s not what I am saying. I am not over my hair loss entirely but what I am encouraging you to do is to make the best of what you have. CLICHÉ WARNING- loving yourself is a big step towards others loving you.

I would like to finish with my analogy:

A wall has several coats of paint on it, to access the bare wall and actually see what it truly looks like and what it's made of- the paint has to be sanded off. If we replace the wall for ‘YOU’ and the paint for ‘HAIR’ and the sand paper for ‘ALOPECIA’, you can see what I mean about it helping you to find yourself.

Keep strong, you are all amazing- this is not an easy journey :) 

Alopecia doesn't define you

Friday, 13 November 2015

Support Network

From my own experience with alopecia I find the biggest help and the best way to deal with the condition is to have an amazing support network around you.

Since the beginning of my journey, I've accumulated an ever growing network of family, friends and acquaintances (those I haven't met in person but speak to online) who help me through my dark days, encourage me when I'm about to take my next step and congratulate me when I've done something I'm proud of.

There is no worse feeling when you're going through a tough time than loneliness. It doesn't have to be that way, however. Confiding your feelings in someone you trust can bring an immediate sense of relief. Even sitting in the company of somebody who understands your struggle can be a break from your own thoughts.

Discovering Be Bold, Alopecia UK, my local alopecia support group meeting and Pretty Bald has encouraged my self confidence, introduced me to new friends and given me information I can take forward and apply in my own life.

Last night, I attended my local Newcastle support group. I've attended this group since it first began back in 2014 when there were just a handful of us having cups of tea, eating biscuits (LOVE biscuits!) and sharing our stories. Since that time I've seen the group grow in numbers and it's been fantastic to be involved with that.

I must admit, when I heard the phrase "support group", I did groan. I didn't want to be sat in a room full of sad people, crying and bringing me down. I have my down days now and again but generally I'm pretty OK with my condition. I wanted to be around like minded people.

I was an idiot.

These support groups are vital in some people's acceptance of themselves. I can see, especially in the cases of those who are currently losing their hair, that their self esteem is at an all time low. They feel alone. Attending group meetings is a massive step to anyone suffering any kind of condition and they do it to progress. We help each other, offer information, advice, assistance and support - obviously!

If you're in need of a sympathetic ear or want to gather information of services near you I would definitely say, attend a meeting. Alopecia UK have a handy section on their website showing all groups that currently meet in the UK, check them out here:

We're here to help each other.

Much love, Kay x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 23 October 2015



I hope you're all good? I've been AWOL from this blog over the last few months - my apologies! But a lot has happened...

So, as most of you will be aware, September is Alopecia Awareness Month! A time to speak openly about the condition, raise awareness and show support to those going through tough times. I relish it!  I also thought it was a prime opportunity to grow as a person, push my boundaries and spend the whole month hair free!

This decision was inspired by other fantastic people who spend each day being themselves, completely true to who they are. Embracing that they're "different" and accepting their condition. I've briefly spoken before about how I've learned to become comfortable in my own skin (see Love Is In the Air? but I don't think that was wholly true...  because while I'd share pictures of myself online via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter of me being hair free, I spent the vast majority of my time in public with the shield of my wig. As at 31 August, the only time I'd gone au natural was at the gym and while attending Alopecia UK events (which you guys should go to!). So, I took a vow to spend the whole of September wig free and "Pretty Bald".

This was no easy feat. However, when Tuesday 1 September came around...I completely rocked it! For the first time EVER, I went to work wig free. I had spoken to my team the day before to let them know my plans - this was my way of controlling the situation and their reactions, I didn't want the "oh, you're not wearing your wig" comments, I just wanted everything to be as normal as possible - and it really was. I need not have worried in the slightest as everyone was extremely supportive and I received some quite lovely words of encouragement from colleagues in the wider firm, who I don't see every day, that wanted to let their support known.

That day, in fact, I received two free tickets to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Sunderland Royal Theatre so threw myself right in to the opportunity of spending the evening in a very public forum bearing all! The whole day and evening was fantastic, I instantly wished I'd done it sooner!
The whole of Alopecia Awareness Month was an exciting, eye opening and ultimately life changing time for me. I went wig free, I attended the Alopecia UK Big Weekend in Manchester, had my first night out hair free and I ran the Great North Run! Each event brought with it a slight anxiety but I overcame each obstacle. I couldn't have done that without the support of loved ones, friends, colleagues and even strangers! These are the people that can help you too, should you need it.

I implore anybody who is holding back to just go for it! Live your life the way you want to. Don't feel pressured to look a certain way. The work of alopecia charities and individuals raising awareness of the condition is fantastic and it brings us closer every day to having the condition "out there". There is no such thing as "normal" now. We're all unique and that should be celebrated and appreciated.

Much Love, Kay x
At work (Pretty Bald calendar in the background!)
AUK Big Weekend
Great North Run

Night out with friends
Out for dinner before the Theatre
AUK Big Weekend Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A #100HairFreeDays recap for the lovely @Chelt52 followers

As part of my week on @Chelt52 and my drive for Alopecia Awareness, I am sharing some things that have gone before that I feel help provide an insight. Here's a recap of my #100HairFreeDays project...

Inspired by the #100HappyDays trend, in February I put a little bald spin on the game and took part in my very own #100HairFreeDays challenge, or as I’d like to call it – ‘The Silver-Lining Game’. For 100 days straight, I posted one benefit of losing my hair (which was more than a little difficult!). Initially, I wasn’t sure I’d manage to find 100, but with the help of some of my fellow baldies, I actually realised that there are so many advantages to having no hair!

Here are my personal favourites:

Losing my hair for the first time was devastating and I felt so alone as I didn’t know anyone who had been through it. I struggled to cope with the emotional and psychological impacts of hairloss because let’s face it, how do you handle losing something which seems so much a part of your identity? For me, the Silver Lining Game was just one technique that got me back on track and was a huge part of ‘accepting’ my condition.

You can check out my #100hairfreedays on my Twitter which is @PrettyBald or search ‘#100hairfreedays’ on my blog as I did a quick round up each week and also collated them in one safe place.

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

E is for... A-Z of hairloss

Continuing on from D, because apparently this letter comes after that(!), we welcome E to the A-Z of hairloss... As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if I’ve forgotten anything!

E is for...

Eggheads – Last month, I got onto a 6-hour train all the way to Glasgow with the Alopecia team for the filming of Eggheads! The whole idea was to raise awareness for Alopecia sufferers as we would be on the show completely bald. It was a fabulous experience and you can read all about it in detail here...

Endurance – Trying to come to terms with my condition was extremely difficult; not only physically, learning wig maintenance, getting to grips with my bodily changes, but also mentally. It took drained all the mental endurance I had as I would often get angry not only at myself but other people.

Explanation – As there is no definite cause or trigger for Alopecia, it’s kind of hard to accept. I wanted an explanation as to why it was happening to me and no one else; I had no one to turn to for advice. That’s when I found Alopecia UK and all the wonderful men and women with the same condition as me and I felt relieved... united. I grew to just accept it and if they do discover a treatment for it, I don’t think I’m ready to get my hair back yet!

Entertainment – To see a bald woman walk down the street isn’t all too common these days, so I did become the punch line of some people’s jokes. Sometimes they were hurtful, other times it was just annoying but I just kept thinking... bald is beautiful, and I got through it.

Engaged – One morning, my boyfriend of four years surprised me in bed after waking up by turning over and asking “Oh, will you marry me?” and my initial reaction was “Are you serious?!” There’s always a stigmatism around people with no hair that they’re not being as beautiful as those with hair and I thought that I wouldn’t get that same level of romance - but I was wrong! My boyfriend, now fiancé, is absolutely lovely and I couldn’t imagine my life without him and same goes for my hair (or lack of!). He loves me for me and I’m so thankful...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

D is for... A-Z of hairloss

Continuing on from C, here is the A-Z of hairloss for the letter D!

Don’t forget to let me know if I missed something out!

D is for...

Devastating – Understandably, losing your hair can come as a devastating endeavour for any man or women as it pretty much defines who we are and what we look like. As for me, I got very angry and often took out my own confusion with my condition as anger on other people, which was not good I tell you!

Damn right embarrassing –When I first lost my hair, I was terrified of going out without covering up my bonce and there were negative thoughts constantly swirling through my head such as “What will that person think of me?” Of course, I did manage to pluck up the courage to freely walk outside wigless and I have to say, it’s oddly liberating!

Dogs – If you don’t know by now, I’m a massive dog-lover and have two very loyal doggies myself called Ceefer and Zotti. They are very clever, and when I would get upset they would just cheer me right up.

Disbelief – As of today, there still isn’t a definite cause of Alopecia. Of course there are contributing factors to other types of hairloss such as genetic disorders, drugs and chemotherapy, but it came to quite a shock to me when I started losing chunks of my hair and I thought “What have I done?” I was perfectly healthy, albeit I did like my bags of crisps, so why has this started? Over time I have learned to accept my baldness and I’ve realised that I shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks!

Dismorphia – When you lose all of your hair you do begin to see yourself differently. You start to question the standards of beauty and how your hair actually defines a lot of people and how they are perceived. However, even though it took me some time, I managed to accept my balness and I love it now! Bald is beautiful!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hairloss perks when being a bridesmaid...

This Saturday I have the privilege of being a bridesmaid for my 'Godsister' Megan and to say I’m excited is an understatement! With things being a little hectic recently due to my engagement, this wedding, Chelt 52 and work, I cannot wait for a time where I can unwind (at least a little).

Thanks to my hairloss, I'll have a perk that none of the other bridesmaids can claim; I don’t have to spend hours choosing what to do with my hair. I can have a lie-in* whilst everyone else attending the wedding is frantically trying to do a sophisticated up-do or have perfect curls. Then I can ‘casually’ saunter over to meet the other bridesmaids after having chosen what wig I want to wear. I could have long hair, short hair, curly or straight hair! It just depends on what mood I’m in on the day.

That’s all I’ve got for you so far folks, I’ll let you know how the wedding goes soon!

Victoria x

*Please note, I do not honestly believe I will have ANY time for a lie-in; no doubt there will be lots to do and I'll simply be grateful for the extra few minutes I can save by wearing a wig ;-) Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 7 September 2015

Who is Pretty Bald...?

For my regular followers, I apologise for this blog post as it may seem like I am teaching granny to suck eggs... BUT, this week, I have taken over the @Chelt52 Twitter Account and will be sharing my story with more than 10,000 twitter followers.

When planning my week on @Chelt52, it seemed that the best place to start is at the very beginning (cue Julie Andrews here), and tell the @Chelt52 followers about who we are and what we do...

My name is Victoria Petkovic-Short and I have alopecia; an auto-immune condition where my own immune system attacks my healthy skin, hair and nail cells. There is no known cause of the condition (although many Doctors irritatingly ticked the 'stressed' box) and definitely no known cure. There are things which can help, but as they are either topical steroids or immunosuppressants, pursuit of flowing locks can often result in some nasty, terrifying and in many cases life-threatening side-effects! No thanks!

Losing your hair is often plonked in the 'who cares' box; people don't mean to sound harsh, but as I am so often told 'it's only hair'. While to an extent that is true - it is only hair and doesn't have a specific biological function - at the same time psychologically, this condition is debilitating, humiliating and all manner of other 'ting' words. In today's society, hair is inextricably linked to your femininity and masculinity and is given so much importance to who we are and what we do, that roughly 1 in 4 adverts on TV are for shampoo and 1 in 2 are for haircare products in general. In fact, haircare adverts outstrip make-up adverts by roughly 50%! Add to that the fact that one brand who shall remain nameless tells us we are 'worth it' when we have glossy, flowing locks and another tells us 'Greys, what greys' and suddenly that 'just hair' doesn't seem so trivial any more.

Losing my hair was difficult - in fact that is a huge understatement - and the whole time I was torn between feeling devastated and berating myself for getting so upset. It is the same (and yet so personal and different) for everyone, and is not to be underestimated, even though many of us are grateful to be alive and generally fairly healthy!

For me, one of the biggest challenges we face is a lack of awareness and even more so, a lack of money. Alopecia isn't 'fashionable' and couple that with the fact it is not life-threatening, and people give barely any money, if at all. In fact, what charities like Alopecia UK achieve on the relatively little they earn is phenomenal and something that they should be exceptionally proud of!

Pretty Bald was therefore an initiative that I set up to change perceptions of hairloss, fundraise for charity, build body-confidence and give something back. It may be a national rather than local initiative, but it is one that I am proud of and want to share with others in the community where I live!

I hope you enjoy my week and truly are not bored rigid!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 6 September 2015

My plans for @Chelt52...

So as you may have spotted, we're appearing on the @Chelt52 Twitter Handle this week! @Chelt52 is pitched as a 'rotation curation' social media account, with a different Twitter user taking the reins each week and giving an insight into those who live and work in Gloucestershire. Some keep it local and some share more topic-specific stuff, but every single week is different! It's great!

Although I am local (based in Cheltenham), much of what I do, follow and care about has a national footing! Hopefully, the organisers (and you gorgeous @Chelt52 followers) will let me off for giving things a subject / national twist along the way...!

Pretty Bald was launched to raise awareness of Alopecia, change society perceptions of hairloss and importantly, fundraise for charity including Alopecia UK and the Little Princess Trust.

This week, I'll be working to give @Chelt52 followers an insight into what it's like to be a girl without hair, how you can help, what needs to change and importantly what we want to happen. We'll also throw in a sprinkling of the things I love locally and of course other accounts I love to follow!

I hope you enjoy! I'm certainly going to!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

BBC Radio Gloucestershire... A week of fabulous stories!

Last week, I answered the BBC Radio Gloucestershire #PhoneWithNoHome and spoke with the lovely Mark Cummings, telling him a bit about myself, my hairloss and my ambitions. To my delight (and without any bribery on my part), Mark asked me to come back on the show and even better, he selected the 1st September breakfast show to coincide with the start of Alopecia Awareness Month.

After a ridiculously early start yesterday, I hesitantly strolled into the studio and awaited my turn in front of a mildly daunting microphone. Mark was a delight and asked me intelligent questions about life in the bald lane, giving me plenty of air time to talk Alopecia, Alopecia UK and Alopecia Awareness month.

Even better, my story started the ball rolling and the rest of this week will feature more people who have overcome adversity and made something of themselves! Listening to the trailers for the shows, I must say I'm once again humbled and feel truly lucky to be dealing with hairloss rather than a life-threatening condition, and really hope that this local feature will help remind others just how lucky we all are!

Thank you very much to Mark Cummings and BBC Radio Gloucestershire for having me on the show and for those of you who would like to listen, you can do so here...

(I'm at about 1hr21 and again at 1hr43)

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It's the first of September and that can only mean...

...that's it's time to flip over the page of your Pretty Bald Calendar! Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been that great this year to enjoy many firepits and marshmallows, but one can still dream!

Victoria Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 31 August 2015

BBC Radio Gloucestershire tomorrow...

On the morning drivetime show on our local radio station BBC Radio Gloucetershire, Presenter Mark Cummings has created an ingenious feature called 'The Phone With No Home'. It is as you might have guessed, a mobile phone that passes from person to person around the County. Started a few months ago, the phone is given to someone, who answers it at about 8.40am, chats about themselves, then passes it on to the next person and so on and so forth. The process is designed to be organic, and so you get a whole range of individual characters on the show, from local Business People to the owner of a Village shop, a retired person to a young adult. Anyone could answer the phone and what they say really might surprise you!

This feature is one of my faves and I listen to it nearly every morning! I've loved the personal and interesting stories which have been shared along the way and think it is a great way to get to know more about the County!

To my surprise, just over a week ago my friend Glyn text me on Sunday evening, letting me know he'd been given #ThePhoneWithNoHome by his brother and would be appearing on air on Monday morning. He wanted to pass it on to me if I was willing, to be on air on Tuesday! Of course I was! I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity for a little more Alopecia Awareness.

So last Tuesday, I proudly answered #ThePhoneWithNoHome (a dream come true for me) and had a quick chat with Mark Cummings. Aside from one or two technical difficulties with signal, and a bit of muddling of words, it went pretty well I think! At least well enough that I can now announce that tomorrow morning, at around 7.15am I will actually be in the BBC Radio Gloucestershire studio sharing more of my story and importantly talking about Alopecia Awareness Month! A perfect way to kick off a month of awareness!

Please tune in tomorrow from about 7am (if you are up) and listen live to the show. If you aren't in Gloucestershire, then you can listen online here.

In the meantime, there are just two things left to do. The first is to thank Glyn from Collett and Holder for giving me the phone, and Gill Parker Sculptor for taking it from me, and the second is to point you in the direction of my stint with #ThePhoneWithNoHome on BBC iPlayer at about 2hr53!

Thanks folks and wish me luck!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Apologies for the Technical problems...

Lately, I’ve been writing many of my blogs on the go on my iPad, uploading them onto the blog from the app; well at least I thought I had been! A number of you have been in touch to point out that I haven't blogged at all in August and wondering if I've given up?!

The good news is, no I haven't given up! The bad news is that unfortunately, my posts haven't been uploading and so you've been missing out! The even more bad news for me is it seems I cannot fix it and so I've spent much of the Bank Holiday copying out and back-dating all the posts I'd written! The good news for you is that they are all now up and you can scroll back and read them! What's more, redownloading the blog app seems to have fixed the upload problem, so it shouldn't happen again! I will be keeper a closer eye on things from now on though! 

At the time of writing (31st August), I have about 4-5 more blog posts still to retype, so please bear with me and there will be a few more posts appearing with August dates on *sighs*!

For those of you who have missed me thanks, and very sorry for all the problems! Happy reading of the old ones and there are lots of new to come too!

I’ll keep you posted! (And hopefully my blogs will too!)

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Taking over Chelt52; hairloss awareness in my local area...

As you know, for me, awareness of alopecia and other hairloss conditions is crucial to helping change perceptions, and ensuring body confidence for those who are going through hairloss difficulties! 
Well, I have some exciting news for you - next week, (commencing 7th September) Pretty Bald is taking over the @Chelt52 account on Twitter. We are very excited to be undertaking such a big project and we’d really appreciate it if every one of you guys could support us. It’s really easy, all you have to do is follow @Chelt52 on Twitter and retweet us!

@Chelt52 was set up at the beginning of 2014 as an innovative initiative to create a 'unique voice' in the local area; the idea behind it is a central Twitter Handle (@Chelt52) which is handed over and run by a different company, organisation or individual each week. You can find out more here...

There any many reasons why Pretty Bald is taking over @Chelt52 but the main one is of course to raise awareness. The account has nearly 10,500 followers, which is a pretty big audience for our Alopecia message! Even better, we asked for (and were granted) a week in September, taking advantage of the fact that September is National Alopecia Awareness month. How fitting! 

Running Pretty Bald as a business, my ambition is to provide a useful service, with products that we all need (at least baldies do), at the same time raising as much money as possible for charity. The whole business is running not-for-profit, which means when you buy a product from us, any profit that would normally go to the staff and Directors of a business instead go to charity! A win-win! 

Just as important for me, is our ambition to empower women (and men) locally and nationally who are suffering from hairloss and other circumstances and conditions which affect their confidence. Our first project of course was the Pretty Bald Calendar, and @Chelt52 is another example of this awareness campaign.

All you have to do to check out my week with @Chelt52 is to hop onto Twitter, click 'follow' on the account, then watch as I tweet and if you're feeling nice, Retweet or Favourite the things you like the most so that between us, we can make it go as far as possible!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 21 August 2015

C is for... A-Z of hairloss

I know it's been a while since my last A-Z of hairloss, but it's finally time for the letter 'C'...

Calendar: I can't let the letter 'C' go past without a little mention and plug for our 2015 calendar - great awareness and working to change opinions. Read more at 

Calm: in the early days, feelings of bring 'calm' seemed few and far between and I was in a semi-agitated state most of the time. Difficult as it will be, try your best to stay calm for two reasons; first, it helps you think more rationally and second, in things some cases e.g. Alopecia, feelings of stress can exacerbate the issue.

Cancer: Possibly the most obvious one when it comes to hairloss is cancer. Whilst the disease itself does not affect the growth of the hair, treatment in the form of chemotherapy causes partial or total hairloss. As treatments improve however, the rate and finality of hairloss is diminishing and there is hope that in the future, the hair won't be affected at all. Fingers crossed!

Caps / Coverings: other words for Bandanas as covered in our 'B' post, caps and coverings can be a great go-to for keeping things hidden. Even if you are used to your hairloss and are happy to expose it, caps and coverings are a great way of keeping toasty warm, accessorising and outfit or keeping the sun off your head!

Caring: if you let them, in my experience people will be really caring about you and your hairloss. A mistake I frequently made was feeling guilty about being upset and so I kept shutting people out and bottling it up which wasn't good for me, or for those around me! People will be caring, you just have to decide to let them! 

Cause: fairly self-explanatory this one, but cause is a huge factor in any hairloss experience! I remember thinking 'but I don't understand what causes it!' A large part of your experience will centre on causes and of course then the cure. What you may have to accept is that the cause may be unclear - they can give you a label e.g. Alopecia Areata or Trichotillomania, but that doesn't necessarily mean the 'cause' will be clear. 

Challenge: Losing my hair was probably the single biggest challenge I have ever had to face, but on the plus side it's a challenge that I won! Now I am working to challenge perceptions and help others beat that challenge!

Changes: Inevitably, if you are losing your hair - via whatever means - then you will be going through some changes. From physical changes to your appearance to changes to your general health and wellbeing, to adjustments in your emotional and mental state, changes are inevitable. It is definitely worth highlighting here that not all changes are for the worse - I and many others I know have had positives come out of their hairloss and definite changes for the better! 

Charity: If you are having difficulty handling your hairloss, seek out a Charity. National charities exist to support sufferers for example Alopecia UK, Macmillan etc. who can provide advice and support and signpost to experts to give you the help you need. They also appreciate people fundraising for them if you get a chance! 😉

Cheated: This was a huge 'problem' for me and many others I know. As your hair falls out and you struggle to deal with it, many people highlight how they feel 'cheated' by their body and struggle not to feel angry with themselves. The good news is that this feeling passes and hopefully will be a temporary status rather than a permanent reality! 

Chemotherapy: one of the most common treatments for cancer, chemotherapy uses chemicals to permanently damage cancerous cells so that they can't reproduce. Unfortunately, side-effects include damage to other healthy tissues, including hair follicles, resulting in hairloss.

Children: Children is included for two reasons:

First, people often fear telling or showing children their hairloss, more so than showing an adult. Children are known for getting to the heart of things, saying it like it is and not censoring what comes out of their mouths. Somehow, that makes them scarier than adults, somehow increasing the likelihood that our fears we are less attractive, less valuable or something else entirely. We hope that their adult counterparts will be less honest and better at hiding negative feelings, leaving us intact. I can't speak about all children, but you can read about one of my experiences here...

Second, whilst hairloss is terrifying and somewhat devastating at every stage of life, but somehow, despite their resilience, it seems ten times worse when a child goes through it. It breaks my heart every time I see it, but I admire there general acceptance of it too!

Cicatricial Alopecia: the scientific name for scarring Alopecia, it includes traction Alopecia and Alopecia from any scarring. 

Cold-Cap / Scalp-Cooling / Cryotherapy: a relatively new treatment, the cold-cap is one of the aforementioned ways do reducing the likelihood of total hairloss from the scalp. It involves the patient encasing their scalp in a cooling ice-pack, reducing the size of the blood vessels and therefore the amount of chemotherapy drugs which reach the hair follicles. As a result, less hair falls out and many cancer patients are managing to keep large amounts of hair. The downsides are that it doesn't work with all chemotherapy drugs and it only works where applied, so eyelashes, eyebrows and body hair will still shed. Macmillan has more details on it here...

Comments: when you are bald or balding, comments can be expected and often unappreciated. From stating the obvious to striking up a conversation, to frankly being downright hurtful, there's not a baldie I know who has been completely without commentary! There's not much to say here - it's on a case by case basis and you'll have to handle it as best you can when it happens. Not everything will be bad though; just remember that!

Confidence: I'd love to say hairloss has no significant effects, but it's likely that it will impact your confidence in some way. It could be a little or a lot depending on your personality, support network, attitude and general attachment to your hair. You need to accept that this will happen; you are not weak, worthless, shallow or anything else negative you might think about yourself - it is completely understandable and acceptable. Work through this, deal with it your way and try to remember not to let your hairloss beat you - don't let it change who you are or what you do. I really and truly appreciate this is easier said than done, however it's something I worked hard at and now if anything, I am more, not less confident than I was before!

Corticosteroids: more commonly referred to as steroids, corticosteroids are often used in the treatment of a number of hairloss and / or auto-immune conditions. They can be taken orally, injected or applied as a topical cream or lotion and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are used to help suppress the immuno-response, thereby enabling short-term and sometimes permanent regrowth.

Cure: A natural progression from 'cause', cures are one of the primary things that people pursue, providing a focus for anxiety, mental challenges or even an end point. Cures are a good thing to understand and appreciate, but pursue with caution; sometimes the side-effects can be as bad or worse than the hairloss and many have limited or questionable results. Pursuit of them can also become an obsession so take care that this doesn't become more damaging to your psyche. Sit down with a trained expert  question what they tell you so you fully understand the implications, then give yourself time to consider everything - is it really what you want? 

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald