Mind body & soul
I don't have to worry about my wig falling off'
SUE SCARF, 46, from Benfleet, Essex, was shocked when her hair came out in handfuls 18 months go. Three weeks later, she was bald. Sue faced the party season wearing a wig, but this year her hair's returned, thicker than ever. Sue says: 'In the middle of last year, my scalp was flaking and sore, and I was embarrassed about all the dandruff on my collar. Then one day I noticed the drain was blocked with my hair after I showered, and I was startled to see clumps come out when I combed it. My GP diagnosed psoriasis and gave me Cocois ointment to use. I felt self-conscious and tried to find ways to cover up the bald patches. It was devastating, but as my hair was shoulder length, I could style it to cover my scalp. A couple of weeks later, my partner, Richard, 44, and I went to the Dominican Republic on holiday. Instead of enjoying what should have been a romantic holiday, I spent a lot of the time constantly aware of how thin my hair was. I tried desperately to style it, especially when we went out for the evening. But, every day, more hair fell out. By the time we flew home, to my shame, I was bald. When I got back, I looked for a trichologist in the Yellow Pages and came across Peter Bannister at his Natural Trichology Clinic. I was attracted by the fact that the treatment didn't use chemicals, but involved applying essential oils to the scalp and using acupressure points to encourage hair regrowth. In the meantime, I bought a blonde, shoulder-length wig. Richard was great and took me to lunch straightaway, so I could gauge people's reactions. The wig seemed really obvious to me, but no one else noticed and I felt a lot better. I couldn't wear it for long though, as it hurt my scalp. I've always taken care of my appearance, so I went through some dark times. I felt unattractive and sometimes, in bed, I didn't feel like a woman, with all my hair missing. Richard was wonderful, though. He said I was beautiful with or without my hair, and wouldn't let me hide away. I'm a civil servant and have never missed a day's work in 28 years, but because of the state of my hair and scalp, I was constantly going to the clinic for treatment, and had to take three months off.
Christmas was coming and I longed for the feeling of my own hair on my face. I was also nervous about the reaction of relatives I hadn't seen for a long time. I was far quieter than usual. Richard and I celebrated last New Year by going jiving, which I usually love, but this time I was terrified that my wig would slip or fall off. I envied the other women for not having to worry about their hair. Over the next few months, my hair started to grow back, thicker and darker. Now it's all back, but short, which has given me the confidence to dress more fashionably. I can't wait for the party season as not only will I have the fantastic feeling of my own hair, I'll have a brand new look. My hair falling out was a message to look after myself. I was forced to look at my life and make changes. We've now bought a caravan that overlooks the beach where we go at weekends to unwind. It's also where I'll be spending this Christmas - relaxed and happy.' With many thanks to Sue Scarf. Photos courtesy of Primamagazine.co.uk