A full head of hair is often a woman’s greatest accessory, but what about if you don’t have any hair? It was a sad childhood for one girl, but eventually she became strong and confident enough in herself that she could finally go without that wig she had been wearing for so long.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is caused by an autoimmune disease where the body turns against the hair follicles and attacks them.
Dakita Gaspaire has had alopecia since she was 9 years old, and over the years, she has worn a variety of wigs to hide her “secret.”
When she met her husband-to-be, Justin, he loved her regardless.
He was proud to tell the world about the first time they went out together bald, on Sept. 11, as he called the two of them “bald eagles,” being bald himself as well.
“My wife went out with me for the first time without a wig. She was diagnosed with scaring alopecia(hoping I spelled that correctly) years before I met her. I can remember the first time she showed me pics that she was bald.
“I remember the first time she showed me her bald head in real life. I remember the first pic we took together with her being bald. And now I will always remember the first time we went out together bald,” Justin shared on VictoryToday’s Facebook page.
It is clear the couple have a strong bond and love each other unconditionally, so a lack of hair is not something the couple take too seriously.
They are both an inspiration to others who feel self-conscious about some part of their body. It is what’s on the inside that counts.
Newly Gained Confidence
Dakita was not the only one who made the bold decision to let people know about her alopecia. Across the pond, 21-year-old Zoe Wright, from the United Kingdom, decided to shave her entire head after years of struggling with losing patches of hair.
Zoe’s symptom began as early as 2. During primary school, she once cried for ages after a boy laughed at her in front of a whole classroom because of a bald patch on her scalp.
As her alopecia worsened, it became more difficult to hide her condition. Finally, Zoe decided to shave her entire head, even if the idea petrified her.
“I felt the only way to gain power over this uncontrollable condition was to take control of it, so I like to say to myself that it’s my choice, I’m shaving it,” Zoe told the Daily Mail.
Months later after shaving her head, Zoe gained newfound confidence as her new look received compliments as a unique fashion choice.
“Even if it was to grow back tomorrow, I’d still keep it shaven because I’ve grown to love it and find it so liberating,” said Zoe. “I want to be a help to others with alopecia, as I wish I had someone to look up to when I was a teenager struggling with it.”
Sometimes, strangers would ask Zoe if she was battling cancer. Zoe said that she didn’t mind questions since she wants “to spread awareness of alopecia because many people are unaware of how bad it can be.”
Zoe’s mom, Lois, also tried to support children and young people dealing with alopecia by setting up a support group association with Alopecia UK.
A friendship group is important, according to Zoe. Her friends played an important role in making her realize that appearance isn’t everything.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia essentially means hair loss. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, there are 6.8 million people suffering from the disease in the United States, and 147 million people around the world. The lifetime risk of developing the disease is 2.1 percent.
Although alopecia often appears during childhood, people of all ages may develop the disease. The disease appears differently to people who have it. There are three main types of hair loss, which are hair loss of patches on the scalp or other areas of the body (alopecia areata patchy), complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis), and total loss of hair on the whole body (alopecia universalis).
Symptoms of alopecia include “small, round (or oval) patches of hair loss on the scalp, beard area of the face or other areas of the body with hair, hair loss and regrowth at the same time in different areas of the body, and significant hair loss in a very short period of time,” according to the NAAF.
Any form of alopecia is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the healthy hair follicles. The hair follicles then become smaller and slow down hair growth until eventually stopping growing hair altogether.
People with alopecia may still regrow their hair, even if after a long period of time, as the hair follicles are still alive. The disease is also polygenic, meaning that both parents need to contribute the specific genes before it can be passed on to their children. However, scientists believe the disease is not only inherited; other environmental factors can also cause its development.
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia, and scientists are still unsure of what triggers the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy cells. However, there are treatments available for people with the condition, especially for those with a less severe version of the disease (less than 50 percent of hair loss).
Photo courtesy of Dakita Gaspaire