A WOMAN was so embarrassed by her alopecia she hid her bald head from her boyfriend for six months by sleeping in her wig.
Abby Andrew, 24, started losing her hair when she was toddler, and by age three her mum had shaved her head after her bald patches covered most of her scalp.
She said: “I don’t remember my hair falling out. In a way, I feel lucky that I lost my hair at such a young age because I wasn’t aware of what was going on, nor did I care.
“My parents were initially concerned that my hair falling out meant that I had other health issues, so they took me to doctors and tried a few different treatments.
“Once they realised that it wasn’t a sign of a more serious health problem, they treated it like no big deal.”
Abby got her first proper wig at seven, and soon refused to leave the house without it.
She said: “I built up a hard exterior and kept to myself. I treated it like it was a big secret and it made me feel like an outcast, but in a way, I brought it upon myself.”
Growing up she hid her baldness from her peers, quitting the swimming team and refusing to go on rollercoasters for fear of her wig falling off.
Abby, from New York, was so self-conscious about people finding out she would only change wigs during the school holidays.
Abby, a YouTuber, said: “By the age of 10 I started to treat my wig like it was my real hair.
“I never switched up hairstyles or hair colours unless I could believably tell people I dyed or cut it.
“The only time I changed to a really different wig was over summer, so it was more believable that my hair changed over the holiday.”
As she got older Abby wanted to be honest about her alopecia, but was worried about how people would react.
She said: “I always wanted to be open about it but was too scared.
“I loved the idea of being someone who changed wigs and tried out new styles, but the thought of facing all the questions about it made me so scared to go through with it.
“Moving to university at 18 was a turning point because I knew it was a chance to start again where no one knew me yet.
“I told my roommates straight away, but it took me a few months to tell my other friends.
“I didn’t accomplish the level of confidence I truly desired.”
Abby didn’t start dating her first boyfriend until she was 19, as she feared how she would tell potential dates about her alopecia.
After she began seeing him, Abby didn’t know how to reveal her baldness, so she kept it a secret for six months.
She kept up the ruse by sleeping in her wig and always making sure he saw her in same one.
Abby said: “I kept it a secret by wearing the same wig every day.
“I started hanging out with him in March 2014 and I was too scared for him to see me without a wig for six months.
“It usually meant sleeping with my wig on if I stayed over at his!”
In the end her boyfriend found out about the alopecia at the same time as everyone else – after Abby made a Facebook post about it.
She had enough of hiding from the world, so decided to share her baldness with as many people as possible.
Abby said: “In August 2014, I had enough of the secret and made a Facebook post announcing that I had alopecia and that was how my boyfriend at the time found out.
“I was afraid of how he’d react then next time I saw him, but he told me it was cool that I opened up.
“For a long time, I avoided dating because I knew that if I started dating someone, I would have to open up to them.
“When my boyfriend saw my Facebook post about my alopecia he really didn’t care, and I realised that being bald didn’t make me ‘undateable’.”
Buoyed by his reaction, the following year she started a YouTube page opening up about alopecia and her experience with wigs.
She said: “I started my YouTube channel talking about alopecia and wigs which helped me become more comfortable.
“I felt nervous talking to people in person but YouTube was a starting point.”
She now has more than 5,000 subscribers, and shares photos of herself without her wig or make-up on Instagram, saying it act as a ‘natural filter’ against shallow people – including men.
Abby said: “I learned that most guys don’t care, and I even tried out dating apps and included pictures of myself in different wigs and a picture without a wig.
“I got plenty of matches, and for most guys, it turned out to be a conversation starter.
“Some guys said it was inspiring to them and they thought it was cool.
“Having alopecia almost works as a filter to get guys that are going to be shallow about it out of the way.
“If a guy thinks it’s weird that I have alopecia, I wouldn’t be interested in him anyway.
Despite opening up about her alopecia, Abby said her journey wasn’t over yet.
Abby said: “I’m still working on getting comfortable being out and about without a wig, but I have made a lot of progress over the years.
“The biggest thing that scares me about going out without a wig now is people staring or asking questions.
“All alopecia does is make us lose our hair, which we can’t control, but we can control how much we allow it to affect us emotionally.
“Life’s too short to stress about hair. I wish I had been open about alopecia sooner, I can’t believe all those years I missed out on switching up wigs and letting myself have fun with it.”
And a hairdresser has revealed women are scrubbing their hair with shampoo too hard, causing breakages.
Plus these women are sharing their jaw-dropping transformations from gawky teens into gorgeous adults.
Meanwhile, this mum broke down in tears after her boyfriend shaved their baby daughter’s head as a joke.