The bald truth on Velodrome gold

As Team Great Britain’s ‘super Saturday’ came to a close on Saturday night, the nation was left to savour our greatest Olympic day since 1908, with gold medals being picked up Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford during the closing proceedings in the evening.

However, earlier in the day, people around Britain were already seeing their emotions reach fever pitch with the heart-warming tale of female cyclist Joanna Rowsell who bagged gold together with her teammates Laura Trott and Dani King. The Trio managed to beat the United States in front of a jam-packed Velodrome audience captivated by their enthralling 3000m race.

After finishing her emotional lap of honour, Joanna jubilantly roared and showed absolutely no hesitation in pulling off her cycling helmet, to reveal her almost completely bald head due to the hair loss condition alopecia.

The 23-year-old from Cheam near Sutton, was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 10 after first losing one of her eyebrows. Months later saw chunks of her hair begin to fall out and then shortly after this Joanna lost her eyelashes. Despite the best attempts of doctors to treat her, she was given the news that her condition was not curable.

The specific cause of alopecia is still open to debate, although many experts are in agreement that it is a disease of the immune system, whereby the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Others agree that the hair loss can also be attributed to stress, and Gail Porter is one celebrity who is suspected to suffer from stress-induced alopecia areata, following the collapse of her marriage to Toploader guitarist Dan Hipgrave in 2005.

Yesterday morning, Joanna spoke to the television show Daybreak regarding her Olympic experiences, and said, “I’ve always had the opinion that you only live once, I’m not going to let having alopecia hold me back. It has been great being a cyclist; it has given me so much more confidence in myself. Being an Olympic medal winner can’t help but give you even more confidence and I think if I can help raise awareness too that will help. I was over the moon to win. The crowd were going crazy and I was just trying to soak up the atmosphere. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity: home games, a gold medal and a world record. I’ve been so excited ever since it was announced that it was going to be in London. The crowd and their support definitely helped spur us on.”

Joanna’s gold medal happened to coincidentally fall on International Alopecia Day, an event which aims to raise awareness of the condition, and her story of success in the Olympics will prove an inspiration to the 8 million women in the UK who are believed to be suffering from some type of hair loss.

One effective treatment for alopecia areata in women is Minoxidil, which is dispensed by Medical Specialists as Regaine treatment for women, containing 2% Minoxidil. When asked, David Bailey, a UK leading Trichologist said, “2% Minoxidil is likely to give a cosmetically acceptable regrowth in those with patchy alopecia areata, but, using 5% Minoxidil in clinical trials gave an 81% response (1). It would appear that an occlusion of the treated area appears to be necessary to achieve and maintain maximum results.”

In addition, women can obtain Florisene from the Medical Specialists Pharmacy chemist shop, at just £13.95 for 90 tablets. Florisene has been developed by one of Britain’s leading hair experts following 10 years of clinical research, and is particularly effective for women between the ages of 18 to 50.

(1)     Fiedler-Weiss VC. (1987) “Topical minoxidil solution (1% and 5%) in the treatment of alopecia areata..” J Am Acad Dermatol. 16(3 Pt 2):745-8.


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