Saturday, 31 January 2015

A scientific cure for #baldness and #hairloss? New Stem Cell research paves the way...

You may or may not have seen the breaking news which came out a few days ago, showcasing work by scientists to grow hair on bald rats using Stem Cell research...

Researchers in Orlando have successfully grown individual hairs, coaxing stem cells to become dermal papilla cells which are vital to follicle formation. These cells make up the top two layers of our skin and trigger nearby cells to produce hair follicles; if they stop working, it will lead to baldness. One of the challenges which has faced researchers previously is how to multiply dermal papilla cells, which lose their potency and ability to stimulate hair growth when multiplied; this has left every previous experiment with more, but less effective cells! Now, by using stem cells, scientists have been able to create an almost unlimited supply of these cells whilst still retaining their natural ability to stimulate healthy hair growth - a phenomenal breakthrough in hairloss research. 

Associate Professor at Sanford-Burnham who conducted some of the research said 'Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn't limited by the availability of existing hair follicles. Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects.'

It is estimated that 1.5billion men and women suffer from hairloss worldwide and whilst not necessarily a cure, this breakthrough could be vital to understanding hairloss and could potentially pave the way for affordable, long-lasting hair transplants and more research. 

Speaking to Mark Blake, Trichologist he said “Scientists have taken the next step in unravelling the mystery of growing new hair. They have successfully grown hair on Nude mice using blank slate cells. The next step of the journey is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from stem cells back into humans. The final step of the journey could be just round the corner"

Mark Blake Trichology: Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 30 January 2015

Meet Miss January #PrettyBald #Calendar #NudeAndBald

Before we run out of days in January, we should probably take a minute to introduce Miss January from our Calendar...

Miss January is a gorgeous Scottish lady called Hannah! Hannah is gorgeous in every sense of the word and is an absolute inspiration! She's a single mum of one and has Alopecia Areata!

For Hannah, Halloween is a key time for her as it is the first time she made the decision to shave her head! Now it's a regular part of her beauty regime and we think she carries it off brilliantly! #BaldHeadedBeauty #BaldBeauty

More can be read on Hannah here...

Here's Hannah's profile picture from the calendar and one of my favourite pictures of her...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

The step up to wigs....

So I'm gonna talk wigs. Not so much what wig to buy or how to get one as that's a whole different area.

This is about my personal view on making the step up from headscarves and hats to wigs.

It's a huge one to make and i found it took me ages. When my hair fell out it was mid November so it was hat weather. I had a couple but remember the Monday after I'd shaved what little hair i had left off, I went to my local high street and went to Claires accessories and got a blue beret type hat ( to this day it's my favorite) . I then bought around 10 from primark. But i was still really paranoid people knew i had no hair. I then dabbled in headscarves that are designed for hairloss but after a few comments That they made me look like i had cancer which,  although i am more than confident to shake them off now, really upset me and i wasn't ready to go without a wig yet.

So a few weeks later i decided to get a wig. I live in East London and there are a good few afro carribean cosmetic places that sell wigs. Now they are synthetic hair and around 20-30 pounds but at that point i was happy with that.

I still remember standing in the shop with my fiancĂ© (always take someone with you- moral support)  and not knowing where to start. When i lost my hair it was short but ended up with a long brown tumbling curls number which i adored. I remember having tears in my eyes as i tried it on. It felt like my hair.

I was petrified about going to pick my son up as couldn't face people's comments but i decided if i was going to wear it i had to own it. I didn't play with it or mention it and everyone mentioned how lovely it looked. After a while i got used to it and i bought several in different colours. I remember i graduated uni that year and had to keep changing my cap size beacause i kept changing my wig!.

Now i have around 4 or five all in the same style and no one ever says anything. I have one friend who forgets it's even a wig.
One way I've found to help me is to tell myself as long as it's on my head it's my hair. And be daring! Just think you can be any colour or style you've ever dreamed of and you get to change as you please! 

And remember,  it's your choice. It is a huge step to wear a wig. Make sure you feel comfortable. There are services around that offer consultations and have wigs in all sorts of styles. But do it when you are ready.

But whenever you do make the step i promise you you'll get there and no matter if you do or don't wear a wig you're still gorgeous!

Jenny x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Absolutely love this! Had to share! #RealityCheck #Disney #Hair

Yesterday, I discovered this article on Buzzfeed and absolutely HAD to share it! Awesome #RealityCheck and well done to the talented photoshoppers who made it happen!

If #Disney Princesses had normal #hair...

(Original article on Buzzfeed here...)

Ariel with actual wet hair:
Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios/Loryn Brantz/BuzzFeed
Belle’s hair getting all up in her lip gloss:
Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios/Loryn Brantz/BuzzFeed

Cinderella waking up with actual bed head:

Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios/Loryn Brantz/BuzzFeed

There's more images on the actual article!

Victoria x
Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A bit about me... #bald #hairloss #alopecia

I've had an email from one of our new readers to say there wasn't very much about me! Ooops! I thought the simplest thing to do was to write a profile about myself, but then it dawned on me how hard it is to write about yourself AND keep it interesting! Well, here goes nothing...

My name is Victoria (obvs) and I am an Alopecian! I have Alopecia Universalis and have had for four years! My hair started falling out on the 4th Feb 2011; I was sat in a client meeting and ran my fingers through my hair, stumbling across a bald patch on the left hand side of my head. It was no bigger than a five pence piece, but still my breath caught and I couldn't wait to be out the meeting to check it out. 

At first, I chatted with mum and we agreed to keep an eye on it and monitor what was happening, rather than go into all out panic! A few weeks later the patch had doubled in size and had been joined by three more. Five more patches later and we decided it was probably time to visit the doctor who diagnosed suspected Alopecia Areata and referred me to a Dermatologist! From there, my story is probably very similar to others; I was advised there was little they could do, although I was prescribed some steroid injections into the patches; for a short time it worked and I did experience some re-growth around those specific areas, but alas the rest of my hair fell out faster than those patches grew! As an aside, I'd advise people to very carefully consider those injections; it's safe to say they are incredibly painful and only really help if the rest of your hair stays put! Don't be put off them, but do think carefully before jumping in feet first! 

Anyway, it took nine months for the hair on my head to fall out and a further six for the hair on my body! Now all that remains is a patch on one leg, a few underarm hairs and of course the one stubborn hair that used to live between my eyebrows! *Sighs*

I have definitely come to terms with my Alopecia, am the proud owner of a huge wig collection and general lover of life! Of course I still have my bad days, but when I do, these two beauties keep me going...! Mostly that's because I have to walk and feed them and they simply won't take no for an answer! ;-) 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Why getting my hair back terrifies me! #hairloss #alopecia

I may be alone in this assertion, but one thing that terrifies me is getting my hair back! For many, be it cancer patients or fellow alopecians, getting their hair back can be a dream and potentially a life-long ambition! There are immuno-support pills, supplements that promise faster hair growth or thicker locks, and medicines prescribed by Doctors which seem to have at least temporary effect! Yet I don't touch them myself!

When I was thirteen years old, I lost my first patch to Alopecia! I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but it was the size if a 50p piece right on my crown! I remember then that all I wanted was for it to grow back; if nothing else so I didn't have to spend half an hour perfecting a ponytail and living in fear of sitting at the front of the classroom and someone spotting it! Thankfully then it grew back and I made it to the grand old age of 21 before it hit again! 

Now, having lived with the condition for nearly four years and having wept, argued, shouted and denied my way through it, I've come to accept it for what it is! In fact, odd as it may sound, in many ways I'm grateful to it! I am aware I may be alone in this sentiment too, but having Alopecia has pushed me out of my comfort zone, ensured I know my limits and most importantly has given me friends I treasure and experiences I wouldn't have had otherwise! 

So I guess for me, I fear my hair coming back for two reasons...

First, it's the uncertainty! I have AU, so I KNOW I can't lose anymore! I'm stuck with my Alopecia, but at least this way I'm certain of what I need to deal with! Talking to a number of alopecia buddies with AA, one of the hardest things they tolerate is not knowing whether or not they'll have hair tomorrow! In that respect I'm lucky, I've had time to grieve, to acclimatise and to make my peace with it; and I guess it's that, that I fear the most; return to uncertainty, to a time when my inner peace will be shattered and I'll not know what to expect one day from the next! 

Second, it's become a part of who I am! Again, this may sound really odd, but it's true! One thing I decided (which is personal choice folks) is that I would be open and honest about my Alopecia and that I would use it as a chance to educate and support others! As a result I own wigs in every style, I'll quite happily chat about it, I'm regularly bare-headed, and I welcome questions! Looking long and hard at myself I'll happily admit it's become part of who I am and mostly in a good way; it's helped me develop certain aspects of my personality, given me a charity I feel passionate about, prompted me to launch a business (Pretty Bald) for the purpose of fundraising and many other things besides! For me fear here comes from 'if not Alopecian, who am I' which is stupid and irrational, but nonetheless true! 

It's really odd both writing and re-reading this, but as I've hopefully adequately explained Alopecia is part of me and the idea of changing that is pretty scary! 

What about you guys? Am I alone in this? The answer is probably yes ;-) 

Victoria x

Monday, 26 January 2015

hello from jenny!

So as Victoria has already said I'm Jenny :-).

I've had alopecia for almost three years and hopefully in my posts I can give my advice and experiences.

Let me start with a little more background. When I first started with alopecia it was incredibly tough. I didn't know what was happening and no one seemed to be able to give me an answer. After being referred to a dermatologist and undergoing tests it was discovered it was alopecia and within months I had lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.

I didn't know how to cope with it all. I felt like a different person and had to learn beauty routines all over again. I started off by wearing hats (it was November) and that was ok with me after a while. I then moved on to scarves and eventually wigs.

It does feel very surreal that all of that was almost 4 years ago! Back then I didn't know what alopecia really was or didn't know where to get any support from. Alopecia uk has been amazing from providing really helpful information to giving much needed support.

I was involved in the alopecia uncovered project and was photographed without my wig and that picture has been in various exhibitions and even a book!.

I wouldn't say I'm completely comfortable with my alopecia even now. I have never left the house without something covering my head and don't know if I ever will. But I am a long way away from where I was with it all 4 years ago.

And this brings me to why I wanted to be involved with the blog. It's a place for people to come to, just to read comforting words from people who really get what alopecia is, find out answers to questions and just know they are not alone. But also to raise awareness. It is so important that more and more is done to raise awareness to make people see it is a real condition that affects people in so many ways.

So keep checking back for more posts from time to time from me and everyone else :-)


Saturday, 24 January 2015

"Today I felt like getting my hair done.."

This really made me chuckle; logging on to Facebook the other day, I spotted a status from one of my fellow alopecians saying "Today I felt like getting my hair done... Oh well!" My first reaction was to laugh and my second was to fondly reminisce about the days of being able to visit a hairdresser!

Now in comparison to my age, I've not really had alopecia that long! I'm 25 and I've only had the condition for four years! Believe it or not, when I had hair I was very reserved with it; I didn't dye it or perm it or anything damaging, but I still loved my six-weekly trip to the hairdressers! My hair was pretty perfect (if I say so myself); it wasn't straight and it wasn't curly and it behaved itself beautifully! The hairdresser would shape it nicely, and away I'd go - a quick wash in the shower, a brush and I'd leave it to dry naturally. Anyway I digress - back to the hairdresser! My hairdresser was always my hairdresser - from my first haircut at 18 months to my last at 21, he's the only person to touch my hair! Weird huh!

Going to the hairdresser was one of my favourite things - the relaxing head massage, the gorgeous smelling products, the combing, snipping and shaping, the blow-dry, the glamorous style and the walk out the door feeling a shinier, more fetching version of myself! In fact, oddly, now I have become fully-accustomed to being a baldie, it's one of those things I really, truly miss! It's irreplaceable! Nothing can fake that feeling!

I guess it is what it is, and if my only moan is that I can't go to the hairdresser, then I guess I am doing pretty well! Who know's one day, if my hair comes back, I'll be straight to the hairdresser for that missing feeling, but if it doesn't, I'm pretty sure I'll survive and I guess this really is a #FirstWorldProblem...

Victoria x
Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 23 January 2015

Welcoming our first regular blogger... Jen

As you might well have read in our previous post on our plans, we're working to create a volunteer blogging collective who will share tips, ideas, experiences etc. that hopefully you'll love to read! Now really, we can't be a collective until we have a number of bloggers regularly contributing, but we have to start somewhere!

On that note, we're really pleased to introduce our very first volunteer... Jen

After undergoing medical treatment, Jen developed Alopecia in November 2011 as a result of the stress on her body! It took her a month to lose the hair on her head, followed by her eyebrows and eyelashes a month later. At the moment, Jen wears wigs or hats as she hasn't quite got to the stage of being a #BareHeadedBeauty, but she says she really admires those that don't!

She has a son who thinks nothing of her alopecia and simply takes it in his stride! She's also lucky enough to have a support network of friends and family as well as a fiancé who has been her rock! It's worth a mention that Jen is a huge fan of body art and currently has 13 tattoos; she's hoping her next one will be on her head!

Jen is the first blogger to join her ranks and is happy to answer any specific questions you may have! She'll be posting her first blog too and we'll be sure to let you know when she does! In the meantime, here's a picture of herself she really loves, just so you can put a face to the name!

Victoria x
Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A sneaky peek at some of our plans...

Last year we started Pretty Bald with a 'small', calendar project to raise awareness of Alopecia...

This year, we have some slightly more large-scale plans; ones which we hope will help build on what we've already established and also raise copious funds for Alopecia UK! Now, we're not going to let you in on all our top-secret plans (that'll spoil half the fun and the excitement when it happens), however we will let you in on one or two things happening now...

Our brand new blog...

There are plenty of people writing excellent blogs about their hair loss, their experiences and how they deal with it, but we're hoping to do it slightly differently! Rather than one individual (aka, me) telling one story, we've decided to bring together a collective group of volunteer bloggers to tell lots of stories. Lots of opinions, on lots of things (all related to hairloss or personal experience), creating a valuable library of things you can relate to! We're starting small, but in the next few days we'll introduce our very first volunteer blogger to break up the monotony of my ramblings ;-) If you like the idea and would be interested in participating, you can email us to express your interest

A new range of products...

Starting next month (hopefully), we're going to be offering a range of unique, quirky or useful products that we all either covet or need. Basically, our plan is to add the products at their Recommended Retail Price (as requested by the suppliers), but commit that all profit made will go to Alopecia UK to help fund their vital work! It's no secret, we all buy many of the same products, but we buy them from companies that profit! Now that isn't inherently a bad thing, but this way, you can still buy what you need through Pretty Bald, but in doing so, also donate money! Now we can't get everything straight away and we're being pretty picky about who we work with, but we're also interested in ideas on what you'd like us to include! Please email us your favourites, must-haves, can't live without's, really love etc. etc. and we'll do our best to include them!

Now, it might not sound like much, but we're hoping to raise at least £10,000 each year for Alopecia UK (more if we can) so they can really keep doing what they need to do!

Fingers crossed and we hope you like it!

Victoria x
Twitter: @PrettyBald 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Too Ugly for Love? I think not!

Now if you've not already heard, there's currently a television programme airing on TLC (a channel belonging to Discovery) called 'Too Ugly For Love?'. Airing on Wednesday's at 9pm (that's tonight folks), the programme focuses on singles with a physical affliction, and follows their search for love! What you may or may not know is that one of the people being followed is Alopecia UK Charity Manager Jen; Jen spent a few months last year being followed by video cameras as they tracked her progress in dating and her need to 'overcome' her fear of dating with Alopecia...

Starting at the beginning, it is important to note that understandably not everyone likes the title of the show. Dubbed by many as controversial, it's amazing just how important a question mark can be! In fact, following the trailers for the programme, many took to Twitter to express their disgust at the title. Cue the first episode however and the tide turned... comments switched from disgust at the TV company for selecting such a title, to unanimous support for the gorgeous ladies and gents included! It was absolutely lovely to see!

Now anyone who has met Jen will be right to tell you her fears are unfounded! She is absolutely stunning and to top it off has the longest legs ever! She's incredibly gorgeous and despite her own fears about dating, any man would be lucky to have her!

The first episode, which aired on Wednesday 14th January followed Jen as she embarked on her first date! The next one (today - 21st January) sees the story unfold and you'll also get a peak at some of 'the making of' our calendar! It truly is a must see!

For those of you interested in finding out more about the show and Jen's experience, we suggest you give this news article on the Alopecia UK website a read! For those of you who want to give it a watch, you can check it out on TLC which can be found on the following channels: Sky 125, Virgin 167, BT TV 413 & Talk Talk 413.

In the meantime, here's some of pictures from the programme...

Jen in Too Ugly For Love?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Our 2014 calendar...

OK, so I know we're halfway through January 2015, but I think it's important for us to look back at our 2014 calendar and take a peek at how it all started! Some of our readers may already know about it, but for a few of you, it will be new and interesting!

Not to be arrogant, but it all starts with me! I lost my hair a few years ago and although it was really tough, I had a fantastic support network in my friends and family! I worked through it and over time came to terms with it, and then I took part in the Alopecia UK flashmob! While there, I learned a lot about who they are and what they do, and came to appreciate just how much they have to offer! They also inspired me to help where I can and to raise much-needed funds if I'm able!

Now, I'd probably collapse after 5m, let alone running 5km, so doing a run, swim or anything sporty is pretty much out of the question! I'm terrified of bungee jumping and go weak at the knees at the thought of jumping out of a plane! Basically, I'm not much use at doing something worthwhile, and thereby inspiring my friends, neighbours and relatives to dig deep! I could put in a cheeky request for a hand-out, but I'm pretty sure they'd tell me where to go and if it worked, would only work once! So... what to do?

I work for a PR & Marketing agency and wanted to ensure that whatever I did, it would make a big impact, raise awareness and most importantly, raise funds. I'm not sure quite when I thought of the idea to recreate calendar girls (nude and bald), but once I'd had it, I couldn't stop thinking about it! I got together a crack production team and a group of fabulous sponsors (who I couldn't have managed without), borrowed a venue and convinced twelve ladies to get involved, some with the promise of gin!

A few months later, and we had a fabulous, finished calendar! Next step was to prep a press release, elicit the promise of a few real-life stories and send it out. We expected a little bit of exposure and potentially a few interviews near to where the ladies lived, but we couldn't anticipate what happened next! The press loved it and it went around the world - twice; publications everywhere from Brazil to China, Hungary to Russia picked up the story and before we knew it, our faces were popping up on 180 websites / newspapers / magazines, in more than 50 countries! Not only that, but the orders started coming in from around the world and it's fair to say we had more orders through the website from as far away as Jamaica and Australia than we did from the UK! It couldn't have been better! It's also worth a mention that some of us enjoyed a trip to London to appear on Good Morning Britain (video below). So far we think we've raised about £4,000, but despite it being January, we're still getting a couple of orders a day! Amazing!

On to 2015, and we're hoping to do the same, albeit with a completely different theme! Watch this space!

In the meantime, here's some of my favourite pictures (all copyright Pretty Bald Limited of course)...

February: The gorgeous Kate and Amy

December: With all the girls

Phew! I think that's probably plenty for now, but watch out for interesting and exclusive updates over the coming months...

Victoria x
Twitter: @PrettyBald

Here's the promised video of our appearance on Good Morning Britain... (More about that later!)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Hello & welcome...

Welcome to the new Pretty Bald Blog! Hope you like it!

In 2014, Pretty Bald was established to help raise money for Alopecia UK; our first project was a recreation of 'calendar girls' with one difference - we were all bald! Raising over £4,000 and gaining press coverage in more than 50 countries and 180 publications, the project was a great success and we're hoping to do something similar in 2015! Not only that, but we have other plans, bigger and better ones, that will hopefully take our fundraising to the next level!

As we grow this blog, you'll be able to read posts from a number of contributors, including hair loss experts, real people, big brands and anyone else we can think of! Between us, we'll be covering everything we can on hairloss related topics including wig reviews, industry updates, interviews with experts, personal stories and much more!

To be involved and contribute to the blog, please email

In the meantime, happy reading!

Victoria x