As Shelly Lauzon grew older, she went from losing a few clumps of hair (which mainly grew back) to most of the hair on her head, legs, arms and armpits.
In an emotion-filled Facebook post, Lauzon explained that her difficult journey left her with low self-esteem, but she has finally come to terms with her new look and feels brave enough to go out without a wig.
She wrote: “I never thought I would be bald... But I am, and I am so proud of myself and the challenges I have overcome and continue to overcome daily.
“If you have alopecia (or are doubting your beauty in any way) know you ARE beautiful no matter what and it gets easier, much easier.”
Her post was shared by Love What Matters where it has accrued more than 25,000 reactions. It inspired other women with alopecia and hair loss conditions to share their stories, accompanied by selfies.
Lauzon said that growing up she would lie about her bald spots to her friends.
When she was a child, her bald patches would always grow back, until December 2015 when she discovered a “quarter-sized bald spot” on her head.
She thought the hair would grow back, but it didn’t, and in November 2016, she started rapidly losing her hair. She believes the condition was triggered by stress.
“I was horrified as any female would be, I was sad, depressed, and I felt UGLY,” she recalled.
“I wore my first wig in December of 2016. It got so bad I could not hide my spots anymore, I had to wear wigs.
“I would brush my hair and clumps would fall out. CLUMPS. I cried every time. I balled my face off, I would cry so hard my eyes would almost be closed shut.”
On December 2016, she decided to shave her head completely.
“I was tired of false hope and holding onto literally strands of hair I had left,” she said.
“I have alopecia totalis. I do not grow hair on my head, my legs, my arms, armpits, and I am slowly losing my eyebrows.”
At first she was incredibly self-conscious, but over time she grew to love her new look.
“I never thought I would be brave enough to post a picture of me being bald. I never thought I would be bald,” she said.
“But I am, and I am so proud of myself and the challenges I have overcome and continue to overcome daily.”
Her inspiring post has encouraged other women and young girls to share their stories and photos without wigs.
Jana Gail Leverette shared a selfie and explained she lost her hair to cancer.
“I sported the bald look proudly for a while until it started growing back. Wigs were too hot,” she said. “Embrace it! Beauty comes from within and radiates out of us! We don’t need hair to be beautiful.”
Charlie Crisp said she was diagnosed with alopecia areata in July 2016, aged 36.
“It was the end of my world, given how much I LOVE hair and have always had super thick, healthy hair,” she said.
“10 months of scalp injections, vitamins and trying to be mindful of stress and it’s slowly coming back. However, it took shaving my head for me to really accept the reality and stop freaking out every time I looked in the mirror.
“I wish I had shaved it months earlier. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it’s been a cursed blessing, forcing me to stop obsessing on my external shell and embracing the good that I can’t see.
“You are beautiful and it makes a statement of confidence when you can rock a bald head.”
Erica Kemerer-Pittenger added “I too share a VERY similar story. I’ve had alopecia all my life, after three pregnancies my body was completely depleted and compounded with stress all my hair has fallen out and I’m losing my eyebrows and lashes.
“You are beautiful and strong and never forget it!”