I was totally floored when I started losing my hair.

Carly Barratt

Carly Barratt

I cried, I worried about people’s reactions; I didn’t recognise myself and had totally lost my identity. Fast forward 3 years and now I’m completely bald, I love the person that Alopecia has helped me to become and I wouldn’t change it for the world! It has given me so many opportunities and experiences that wouldn’t have come my way had I not lost my hair. I have focused on the positives and spent my time helping others going through Hair loss. I volunteer for AlopeciaUK and after appearing on a Documentary, I rose over £1000 for them. They are a small charity that receives no government funding so every penny raised is vital in them being able to offer the support through groups, social media and events which are lifeline to many, me included in the early days. I got to meet the amazing Karen Betts when I was selected for her Gift of Confidence award. I’d always admired Karen greatly for her work and all that she does for charity. It was such an amazing day, I cried when I saw my new brows as I had a face again! I also got to meet the lovely Katie Piper and Alex Lewis and it was a dream come true to meet the lovely Gail Porter. My lack of hair has also given me the opportunity to be involved in the Portrait Positive project in collaboration with Stephen Bell, fashion designer Steven Tai and celebrity/fashion photographer Rankin which is challenging the fashion industry to be more inclusive of those with visible differences.

My life has gone crazy and is a far cry from what it used to be, I now love everything about me and I’m in the best place in life that I have ever been thanks to Alopecia!

Here are 10 things I didn’t know about Alopecia-:

What your body hair actually does! I feel the cold a lot more now and I can’t tolerate the heat like I used to. And nose hairs … they play such an important job. I’ve always got the sniffles or a drippy nose, and you can’t tell it’s dripping until it’s too late!

How much the wig industry has grown. There are some amazing wigs out there that look so natural. Manufacturers are following fashion trends with wigs so that we can feel on trend, too!

I didn’t know how beautiful I was. I used to think my hair and my clothes were what made me attractive to others, but I’ve realised that all those things (including my hair) were just accessories. I now know that my very being is the true beauty.

I didn’t realise how much eyebrows frame your face. Without them I had no expression but now I have my beautiful brows by Karen Betts I actually have a face!

I didn’t realise just how many people have Alopecia. It wasn’t until I joined the Alopeciauk Facebook group that I realised just how common it is.

I didn’t realise there were so many different types of Alopecia. From areata, totalis, Universalis, telogen effluvium, barbae trichotilomania to name just a few.

I didn’t realise how strong I actually was.

I didn’t know just how many amazing, beautiful and strong people were out there. I’ve met so many people with not just Alopecia, but other visible differences, and they all have inspired me so much.

I didn’t realise how little research is done in for Alopecia. There are no cures, successful treatment is limited, and most GP’s show little interest and sympathy towards the condition.

I thought my eyes and my legs were my best feature, but now I realise I AM MY BEST FEATURE! I wouldn’t change a thing!

The Gift of Confidence Day I was nominated for with Karen Betts: http://www.karenbetts.com/gift-of-confidence.php