Frenshe | How I’m Dealing With Alopecia

Ashley has written a new article on about how she is dealing with alopecia.

A couple of months ago, while simultaneously moving, starting a home renovation, and kicking off a TV project, I noticed that a patch of my hair was starting to fall out. Nothing major—just a small section behind my ear—but still, it was happening, and not for the first time. A few years ago, the same thing happened when I was overly stressed, so I knew exactly what I was experiencing: alopecia.

Alopecia and hair loss are fairly common, but a lot of people feel embarrassed to talk about these issues. Any type of hair loss can affect your self-esteem, especially if you feel like you’re the only one going through it. That’s why I want to talk about it openly—because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes it’s connected to hormones, other times to heredity, and for me, it’s connected to stress overload. Here’s what I’ve learned about my alopecia.

1. Don’t let worry take over
Any type of hair loss, from alopecia to postpartum hair loss, can feel surprising—even shocking. When I had alopecia a few years ago, my worries began to spiral; I was scared that it would get much worse. That anxiety only added to my stress cycle. When I focused on the present and accepted what was happening, I was then ready to make a plan to address my hair loss.

2. Seek treatment (if you want to)
If you notice hair loss, a dermatologist can help you find the most effective treatment for you. Personally, I saw results from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. It’s expensive and it is certainly not the most pleasant experience—it involves microneedling the scalp, after all—but it made my hair grow back amazingly fast, and research shows that it works. And on the recommendation of a hairstylist, I’m using the Hairmax Laserband three times a week to stimulate my hair follicles. My hair is starting to grow back already.

And if you prefer to wear a wig or be hairless, do it with confidence! I’m so inspired by Congresswoman Ayanna Presley, who has alopecia and has introduced a bill to have wigs covered by Medicare for people experiencing medical hair loss. It’s all about creating more options for people.

3. Manage stress
Hair loss is one of my body’s ways of signaling stress overload—and a sign to prioritize my self-care rituals. Meditation is a powerful practice for me, since it takes only 5 or 10 minutes to lower my stress level. Eating with a focus on gut health also helps me thrive. This time, I followed the autoimmune paleo diet for 30 days. I like it because it’s full of vegetables, fruit, fermented foods, seafood, poultry, and herbs. I loved the way I felt, and I also felt great about eating fresh food instead of reaching for random convenient snacks. Whatever your self-care plan may be, embrace it.