Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss. It’s an autoimmune condition that damages hair follicles. Alopecia can affect hair on your scalp, eyebrows, or anywhere on your body. Hair may come out in small or large patches.
It’s estimated to affect 6.8 million people in the United States. Anyone can develop alopecia, but it often starts in childhood.
September is Alopecia Awareness Month. Since it started in 1986 as a week to recognize alopecia, it has grown into a national movement.
Alopecia Awareness Month is supported by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). It marks a time to learn more about alopecia and support people living with it.
Maybe you or a loved one live with alopecia. Maybe you know nothing about it and want to learn more. Either way, read on to find out how you can get involved.
Alopecia Awareness Month is a great time to learn about the condition. If you’re not familiar with alopecia, start with the basics. You can educate yourself on what alopecia is and how someone with alopecia is affected.
If you or a loved one lives with alopecia, you probably already know quite a bit about it. September may be an opportunity to learn about new and upcoming treatments or share your knowledge about it with others.
As with any health condition, there may be clinical trials to get involved in. By participating in clinical trials, you contribute to the overall knowledge about alopecia areata. You can find out about current clinical trials for alopecia on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Many other accounts share personal stories about living with alopecia on Instagram, including:
These accounts share real-life stories and experiences about life with alopecia.
If you feel like sharing something you’ve learned on your own pages, you can use the hashtag #alopeciaawarenessmonth.
If you live with alopecia, Alopecia Awareness Month could be a time to share your story with others. There’s a lot of power in sharing your personal experience with others.
If you’re not ready to share, that’s OK, too. It’s your month. Feel free to participate as much or as little as you like.
If you want to connect with others living with alopecia, consider joining a support group. Some areas have in-person meetups. If yours doesn’t, there may be virtual meetings you can attend.
It can be comforting to know that you’re not alone. Support groups give you the chance to share stories about treatments or everyday challenges with people who can relate.
Every year, the NAAF hosts a conference in a different city in the United States.
The NAAF has a scholarship fund to help people affected by alopecia attend. This fund allows people to join the conference who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend due to the cost.
The conference is a wonderful time for people with alopecia and families to connect. It’s a powerful reminder that nobody is alone in this journey. Consider making a donation to this fund so more people can attend the annual conference.
Get creative! Whatever you enjoy doing can probably be turned into a way to raise money for alopecia support and research:
- Do you love sports? Organize some friends to play in a casual tournament.
- Enjoy time in the kitchen? Raise money with a bake sale.
- Too much clutter? Get some neighbors together to have a garage sale.
There’s no limit to the ideas you can come up with to raise money for this important cause.
Blue is the official color of alopecia awareness. Consider wearing blue and tell others why you’re wearing it.
Look out for landmarks turning blue for the occasion, too. In 2021, several bridges across the United States were lit up blue for alopecia awareness. Your city or town might also be participating depending on where you live.
Check out the NAAF event page. In 2022, several different MLB teams are hosting special fundraising games.
If you’re able, you can attend one of these games. Cheer on your favorite team while raising money and awareness for alopecia.
Not everybody who loses their hair from alopecia chooses to wear a wig. For those who do, cost shouldn’t be a barrier.
Some private insurance companies will cover the cost of wigs. Others don’t. There’s an ongoing push for Medicaid and Medicare to cover wigs, but it’s not universal yet.
Consider contacting your elected representatives to help change that. Tell them you think that the cost of wigs should be covered. Let them know that wigs can be an important part of healthcare for those with alopecia.
Hair donation or wig funding
If you have several inches of hair that you’re looking to cut off, you can donate your hair to be made into a wig for people with medical hair loss, such as alopecia areata. Just be sure to research and choose a reputable organization.
If you have the means, you can also sponsor the creation of a wig.
September is officially recognized as Alopecia Awareness Month, though anytime is a good time to support those living with alopecia areata.
There are many ways to get involved in Alopecia Awareness Month. It’s a chance to learn more, share knowledge with others, attend events, or organize your own fundraiser.
Money raised from events goes toward supporting people with alopecia, including funding research into treatments for alopecia.