A Kirkcaldy mum has had her head tattooed to raise awareness for alopecia.
Sam Cummins (28) had a butterfly with the symbol for alopecia tattooed on the left side of her head last week to highlight alopecia awareness month this September.
Alopecia areata is the general term for hair loss and is a common cause of non-scarring hair loss that can occur at any age.
It usually causes small, coin-sized patches of baldness on the scalp, although hair elsewhere on the body can be affected.
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In some people larger areas are affected and can result in hair loss of the whole scalp (alopecia totalis) or even the entire body (alopecia universalis).
The mother of four has suffered from alopecia universalis since 2011 and has embraced the condition.
Sam said: “For the first few years’ after I was diagnosed it did affect me, I never really left the house.
“I was called baldy in the street and people would judge me.”
Sam explained how it was not just people in the street that would judge her but medical professionals also.
“When I was pregnant I had to go to the hospital because I couldn’t keep anything down, the doctor that seen to me had asked me if my bald head was a phase that I was going through, insinuating that I had shaved my head, I had to inform him that I suffered from alopecia.
“Since I have become more aware of alopecia and what it actually is and what it does I have been able to explain to people and try to educate them about it.”
“I do wear a wig sometimes as it comforts me, even though I am confident enough to go outside without one.
“It is a cycle of grieving that you go through when you lose your hair, you really don’t appreciate it until it’s gone.”
Sam attributes her confidence to her excellent support system of family and friends, she said: “My husband has been so supportive and my friends have been amazing.
“Not a lot of people understand that alopecia can happen at any age, it can happen to anyone, kids as well as adults.
“Alopecia UK is trying to raise awareness to this, with kids books, you can even get Barbie toys that have alopecia that include wigs,
“I think all this is great as it helps children understand what alopecia is."