A woman has described how her hair that was once her "crowning glory" started falling out in clumps and obliterated her self-confidence.
In a recent column for YOU Magazine writer Liz Jones spoke openly about how her hair suddenly started falling out in what seemed like a traumatic overnight experience.
She described it as being like "something out of a horror film" where she suddenly felt like she had aged within seconds.
Recalling the day she noticed that her luscious locks were falling out, she said she had returned from taking the dog for a walk when she realised she had two clumps of knotted dreadlocks.
The weather wasn't windy, so she began to wonder how it had become knotted. Then – the dreaded happened – and it literally fell out into her hands.
Liz wrote: "I ran in panic to peer in the bathroom mirror, light on full beam: something I never do. I could barely believe my eyes.
"There, at each temple, was scalp. Pink, bare skin.
"I gathered my hair in my fist: it wasn’t the usual thick, healthy horsetail: it was a few strands.
"My head looked small, like a pea. Light bounced off my scalp. I was ravaged. Ruined. A crone.
"My hair is so important to me – reliably long, strong and thick…
"People often forgot me, but always, even 30 years later, would say, ‘Wasn’t she the one with the storm-dark hair?’"
When she was a student Liz said she always splurged on the best products, and she still does to this day.
Philip Kingsley, Aesop and Louise Galvin are some of her key go-to products.
She said she also spent years going back and fore the Long Hair Clinic – on top of Harrods – to learn how to look after her hair properly.
It was here she was told her hair should always be one length, should be parted at the centre and experts also taught her about the importance of Moroccan oil.
The "introverted" writer admitted she "hid behind" her locks and often viewed them as her "armour".
So when it fell out, she found it hard to talk about initially.
She said: "At first, I went into denial that I’d lost 70 per cent (a guess) of my hair: it must be because spring is on the way. Or that I haven’t washed it for a week. But the loss became horrifyingly undeniable."
As Liz shed her locks, she stopped wearing makeup and feared she'd never be able to find a date again.
But it wasn't until she started writing about her hair that she received "overwhelming" support from the public.
The writer later found out that she didn't have the most common form of hair loss – androgenetic alopecia.
Neither did she have female pattern hair loss (FPHL), which is a gradual thinning caused by hormonal changes, genetics and ageing.
Instead it was proposed that Liz has telogen effluvium, which is when a traumatic or stressful experience can lead to shedding.
Liz said she knows worrying about hair seems "silly", as there are many other problems in the world, but she said mourning the loss was neither a sign of vanity.
"It truly is our armour, an outward sign that we’re suffering," she said.
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