It is up to your dermatologist to decide if you qualify for an NHS prescription for a wig. What you may be offered varies depending on whereabouts you live in the UK. There are different policies for the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Alway ask your GP or dermatologist about whether you are able to receive any assistance with wigs. Further details can be found here.
Can I dye my hair if I have alopecia?
Yes, dyeing your hair will have no impact on your alopecia. You should, of course, carry out the usual sensitivity tests to ensure you dye your hair safely. Even if you have previously used a hair dye product before, remember that skin sensitivity can change over time and you should always carry out any recommended patch test.
Is it normal for my scalp to hurt?
It is not unusual for people with alopecia areata to notice some scalp discomfort. Symptoms may include soreness, itching and tingling sensations, with many describing a sensation similar to that of a very tight ponytail. In cases of alopecia areata, hair loss is caused by inflammation around the hair roots. There are a lot of nerves around the hair follicles so it is not surprising that the inflammation can cause discomfort. In cases of androgenetic alopecia, hair loss is usually without sensation. In cases of scarring alopecias, burning & itching sensations are quite common but not in every case.
I have alopecia areata and have experienced patchy regrowth. Will the rest of my hair grow back?
In alopecia areata, the hair follicles are not destroyed. This means that hair can regrow anywhere, even after several years. It doesn't mean it will happen but the possibility is there. It's not possible to predict if people will experience full regrowth. Unfortunately it's just a case of 'wait and see'.
Following alopecia areata I have experienced regrowth but it is white. Is this normal?
In most cases of regrowth in alopecia areata, the hair regrows the same colour as it was before. In some people the regrowing hair is initially lighter in colour but then recovers its normal pigmentation. Occasionally, however, the regrowing hair remains white permanently. Some scientists have suggested that alopecia areata specifically affects pigment cells (melanocytes) in the hair root and this may be true in some cases. More commonly it affects the ability of hair cells to take up pigment from melanocytes. Very occasionally the regrowing hair is darker than normal. Regardless, a change in colour of any regrowth is nothing to be concerned about.
What are the alternatives to treatments?
Some people wear bandanas or wigs (some of which can stay on for swimming and in the shower) - visit appearance tips for further suggestions. These can be combined with treatments too of course. Some people with alopecia are happy to do nothing.
Does Alopecia UK provide grants/funding towards wigs, hair systems, transplants or treatments?
No. Alopecia UK is a small charity that does not have sufficient resources to provide funding to individuals seeking financial support. Support with wigs may be available through your GP or dermatologist. Further information regarding wigs and the NHS can be found here.
I am not coping very well with my hair loss. What can I do?
Firstly, you are not alone. There are millions of people with alopecia in all corners of the world. Reading their stories or comments online, on discussion boards and in chat rooms (see our links page for suggested sites) will show you how other people cope in various ways throughout the world. That is not to say it isnít an upsetting condition or that you wonít have times when you find it difficult. On the positive side it is not contagious, not life threatening, and there is no reason why, even though you have alopecia, you canít do all the things you did before its onset. People with alopecia continue to go to school or work, fall in love and have healthy, happy families of their own. We do recognise that it can be a 'life changing' condition.
It can take a while to adjust to your new appearance. Some people take longer than others.
If you want to wear a bandana, a scarf, a hat or a wig, or go 'au naturale', go ahead and do whatever makes you feel better. Visit our appearance tips section to find out more. Or there are organisations on our links page that have other suggestions, or you might like professional help and advice.
Join a support group - or start your own! Put your feelings up on adiscussion board or our Facebook group. It helps to say how you really feel to other people in the same situation, who will understand exactly what youíre saying. This can sometimes be the best free therapy available!
Visit our coping tips for more suggestions but, in the meantime, try to keep smiling and release some feel-good endorphins. Laughter will probably have a positive effect on your health.
Will wearing a wig have affect my chances of regrowth or impact on any remaining hair?
No, wearing a wig should not affect any new regrowth of your hair or any remaining hair you have.
Does Alopecia UK accept hair donations?
Currently Alopecia UK does not accept hair donations. There is another UK charity (Little Princess Trust) which accepts hair donations and provides wigs to children with cancer and alopecia. The Little Princess Trust will provide one wig per child with alopecia. If you were thinking of asking family and friends to sponsor you to cut your hair prior to your donation, you could ask for sponsorship monies for Alopecia UK and donate your hair to the Little Princess Trust A number of individuals have done this for us in the past.
How can I get involved in fundraising for Alopecia UK?
There are lots of ways that you can raise money for Alopecia UK and as a small charity, we'd be very grateful if you would 'get involved'. Please check out our Fundraising A-Z guide for some ideas or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help.
How can I get more information?
If you can't find what you need after browsing through our site, then you can email us your question at email@example.com, or go to our links page to find other organisations and websites that may be able to help. You could also take a look at our research section of the website.