September marks National Alopecia Awareness Month, a month dedicated to bringing awareness to the condition of hair loss, which affects over six million people in the U.S. each yDEear.
Alopecia is more than just hair loss, it is an autoimmune condition in which sudden hair loss occurs due to the body's failure to recognize its own cells, resulting in the destruction of tissue. Though in most cases hair loss is only confined to one or two bald patches, extreme cases can see complete hair loss on the scalp and other parts the body, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Linda Darville, a Prairieville resident who has suffered with Alopecia for over a year, said she first noticed her hair loss around the crown of her head, but with treatment at a local hair loss clinic, Anointed Hands Trichology Center for Hair Loss, she was able to see improvements.
"Within a three month time span I noticed that the crown of my head, all the hair had fell out, and I was practically bald," Darville said. "A woman's hair is her glory, but when you start going bald it's very stressful. I didn't understand why I was going bald all of a sudden."
Though Darville has only been going to treatments once a month over the past year, she has seen a noticeably significant change through various treatments, changes in her hair care and through laser light therapy that rejuvenations hair growth.
"This month, October, is a year that I have been going to the hair loss center and we have actually seen some result," the Ascension resident added. "My hair is gradually growing- there were some dead follicles. It's a work in progress, but we are seeing results."
There are a number of underlying reasons attributed to Alopecia such as stress, health problems, chemicals used in your hair, hereditary or improper hair care, said Ynohtna "Tona" Tureaud, owner of Gonzales-based clinic Anointed Hands Trichology Center for Hair Loss.
Tureaud, a trichologist who has specialized in hair loss issues and scalp disorders for the past five years, encourages people to seek help as soon as they notice unusual hair loss or shedding, as hair loss is generally thing first symptom that people notice when there is a health problem or side effect from medications.
"Most of the time, sometimes, it is a health condition," Tureaud said. "Anytime your body is out of whack, any type of imbalance, it can affect your hair. With hair being a dead cell, whatever is going in your body from an internal standpoint will show in your hair first."
If there is are no health problems, the salon owner recommends learning proper hair grooming tips in order to prevent unnecessary hair loss. For example, brushing your hair from the ends to the roots in small sections with a fine tooth comb helps prevent hair loss and sleeping with a satin bonnet or cap at night holds the moisture in hair. Also, many sleep with cotton or rayon sheets, which severely dries out hair.
"The first thing you notice about someone is their hair. For a lady, her hair is her glory. [Alopecia] has no respect for a person. It's a really, really sensitive subject. People are embarrassed to let someone know the don't have any hair."