Beautiful hair stylist reveals bald head for the first time in two decades – after cruel taunts destroyed her confidence
A stunning hair stylist with alopecia has revealed her bald head for the first time in two decades – after cruel taunts destroyed her confidence.
Hazel Harrison, 20, from Bideford, Devon, has suffered from alopecia since she was two – and has spent most of her life desperately trying to hide her condtion.
But finally, after years of abuse from bullies, she’s now embracing her bald head.
Inspirational Hazel has now found the courage to bare all after meeting hundreds of diverse and unique people while styling hair.
She is sharing her story in the hope to encourage other alopecia sufferers to embrace who they really are and raise awareness for the condition.
Hazel, a qualified theatrical hair stylist and media make-up artist said: “For as long as I can remember people would always be staring and mumbling to themselves.
“I was an easy target for bullies because I was different so I found myself denying that I had alopecia, I became too embarrassed and ashamed.
“It’s taken me a very long time to build my confidence up and I’ve gone through a lot of bullying to get there.
“But now I feel comfortable in my own skin, with or without my wig.
“Being a hair stylist, as well as a make-up artist, has allowed me to be surrounded by so many amazing and different people.
“It’s ironic really that I style other people’s hair when I don’t have any myself, but it’s always been something I’ve been passionate about.
“I meet new people every day and they have all been so understanding and supportive, no-one bats an eyelid.
“Now I’ve realised that just because your bald, it doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful.”
Hazel was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of two, after suffering since birth with patchy hair.
After ruling out stress and diet, doctors told Hazel she an autoimmune disorder, meaning her immune system attacks her hair follicles and prevents growth.
Hazel said: “Growing up I’d always have a bandana or hat to hand to cover up my head but it didn’t stop people knowing I was different.
“My main nickname was baldy and I heard daily chants of, ‘oi you over there what’s it like to have no hair…’ and it completely destroyed me.
“In desperation I tried everything to help my hair grow but then two years ago I lost it all completely.
“I got my first wig at the age of 11 and instantly fell in love with the idea of having hair, but it became an escape route for me to hide behind.
“In high school I would constantly have my hood up, but people would just pull it down.
“I was in class once and a boy ripped my wig off in front of everyone, I was mortified, and didn’t return to school for over two months.”
Despite finding secondary school tough Hazel tried dating but as soon as she revealed the truth for one reason or another things would fizzle out.
Hazel said: “I never thought anyone would accept me, but as soon as I left school I met my boyfriend Sam.
“I slept in wigs for months, terrified he would leave me if he discovered the truth.
“But finally when I built up enough confidence to tell him, he told me his mum knew me so he’d known all along.”
Hazel’s confidence has soared since she left high school as she now doesn’t feel like she’s always competing with someone else.
Hazel now looks back and feels sorry for the bullies who tormented her to make themselves feel better.
Hazel said: “My life is honestly just perfect as I have a wonderful supportive family, I have achieved so much through college and have an amazing boyfriend.
“I’ve loved doing hair and makeovers on my mum since I was little and now I love how after I do a makeover for a client, not only do they feel good, I do too.
“My mum has been my rock, she’s always made me feel confident and told me to be who I am and embrace everything about alopecia.
“She has never made me feel any different to anyone else and finally I’ve listened and couldn’t be happier.
“People with alopecia shouldn’t be treated any differently for having no hair, people are just too quick to judge by looks.
“But now I want to help and inspire others, even if my hair could grow back I’m not sure if I would want it too – I believe I am the beautiful person I am because of alopecia.”