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'bald is beautiful' Cork influencer tells of how losing her hair has made her a better person

Chloe Sheehan (27) suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which causes circular bald patches to form.

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Chloe Sheehan (27) suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which causes circular bald patches to form.

Chloe Sheehan (27) suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which causes circular bald patches to form.

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Chloe Sheehan (27) suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which causes circular bald patches to form.

"Bald is beautiful."

That’s the message from a young Cork woman who says losing her hair has made her a better person.

Chloe Sheehan (27) suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which causes circular bald patches to form.

The social media influencer first began experiencing symptoms in 2017 when she discovered bald spots on her head.

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The social media influencer first began experiencing symptoms in 2017 when she discovered bald spots on her head.

The social media influencer first began experiencing symptoms in 2017 when she discovered bald spots on her head.

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The social media influencer first began experiencing symptoms in 2017 when she discovered bald spots on her head.

“I was getting my hair done when a small coin size bald patch was spotted by my hairdresser on the back of my head. This felt like the end of the world to me. I was undergoing medical tests and my body was under a lot of stress.

"My hair began to fall out in patches as the tests continued but I was always able to hide it and by September it had all grown back."

By November Chloe’s condition began to deteriorate further.

“My hair was everywhere, all over the house, my pillow, in my hands – it felt terrifying.

"Time stands still when you’re holding clumps of your hair intertwined in your fingers – it feels nauseating and I felt I had totally lost control. I was so afraid to fall asleep at night because of how much hair would be on my pillow in the morning.

“By Christmas I had lost 80pc of my hair and it was only getting worse. I would look in the mirror at my balding head and I could no longer see myself, I would put my wig on and couldn’t see myself either, I would try everything but I couldn’t find my identity, so I resorted to not looking in the mirror and eventually not going to work or leaving the house for over a month. I thought I would never be able to recover or feel beautiful ever again."

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Deciding to share her story on her Instagram page, @Chloeshairaffair the Corkonian has become a poster girl for the hairloss condition with fellow sufferers taking courage from her honest and uplifting posts.

“With Alopecia it’s the unknown that kills me the most. I have no control and the uncertainty is overwhelming. I have tried everything from creams and shampoos to clinical trial drugs, multiple types of scalp injections and I have even rubbed cabbage stalks on my bald head every day for seven weeks. You name it I’ve tried it."

Hoping to break down the stigma surrounding hair loss and redefine beauty standards, the breve influencer said: “Telling people about this was something I never ever wanted to do as I was so ashamed. I wanted to pretend forever that this wasn’t happening but I am so glad I opened up to people.

“I’m 27 and even though my story doesn’t yet have a happy ending, I know it will as I want to make sure I can make some good out of this situation by doing all I can to help others. I set up my Instagram page in May 2020 and it’s the best thing I could have ever done. I meet incredible people daily and we can help and support each other.

"Society is wrong in what it has thought us - being different does not make you ugly it makes you beautiful in your own right because the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.

"I believe this is my something good that came out of my struggle and everything happens for a reason. I love helping people who know I understand exactly how they feel. I want to try beat the stigma against hairloss, redefine beauty standards and spread positivity.

“Yes of course I’m hurt, angry and confused but I no longer spend my day acting like that, in fact from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep I smile, simply because there is nothing I can do so I might as well enjoy my life and keep spreading the positivity I’ve always tried to spread hair or no hair.”

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