After struggling to get an initial diagnosis, Gina Atinuke Knight found out she had alopecia from post-traumatic stress. Here, she discusses her journey.
Experiencing hair loss can be a stressful time for anybody – especially when you don’t know the sole cause for it. After noticing a small bald spot and experiencing frustrating appointments with doctors, Gina Aintuke Knight was eventually diagnosed with alopecia.
Here, she discusses her path to discovering the causes, understanding her hair loss and how it led to a new career as a wig designer…
The journey to a diagnosis
“It took a long time to be officially diagnosed with alopecia. After finding a small bald spot, I initially went to see my GP but I didn’t have the greatest experience with my GP.
“I really didn’t know what the reason for my hair loss was in the beginning. My assumed hair practices were blamed by several doctors, along with post-partum shedding. My concerns were dismissed so often I actually gave up for a while and just suffered in silence.
“Persistence and a lot of my own research led to me finally being diagnosed with alopecia caused by post-traumatic stress (PTS). I first started losing my hair when I had my first baby. I was dealing with a lot of trauma at this time.
“My hair would just fall out and grow back less and less overtime, meaning other factors such as lack of iron and auto immune diseases were ruled out. I’m still not 100% sure what the issue is. Not a lot of research has been done when it comes to black women’s hair loss. But stress was a huge factor.”
“I tried a lot of ointments, lotions and potions but I didn’t want to take steroids, which is a common way people treat hair loss.
“Interestingly, changing my diet was a huge factor in treating my hair and helped with lessening the bouts of hair loss. It didn’t help with the long-term damage but I concentrated on eating clean and drinking more water, which helped a lot. I felt better within myself.
“I didn’t seek emotional help for the hair loss solely but I did for my post natal depression. It helped me with understanding how stress and trauma can manifest, which helped with my hair loss journey.”
Embracing hair loss
“Wigs have also helped to boost my confidence and give me back the feeling of being ‘me’ when my hair loss was at its worst. I was very self-conscious and stressed out about my hair, which only caused it to fall out more.
“As well as helping me build my confidence back up, wigs also led me to a major career change as I now make wigs for women like myself.
“My hair is still very thin – I’ve now shaved my hair completely off. I’m embracing being a bald woman. Unfortunately sometimes hair follicles die and the hair may never grown back. Mine will never be the way it was so I’ve embraced my alopecia.”
Gina Knight specialises in textured wigs for hair replacement. Find out more at ginaknightwigdesign.co.uk.
Images: Gina Knight