Look at Me Now! I’m Not Allowing my Hair Loss to Define Me

Most of us take our healthy heads of hair for granted. For Shatina Smith her hair loss started when she was very young. Here Shatina shares her story in the hope that she can help other hair loss sufferers

My hair loss started when I was two years old. I was starting to have issues with my skin and hair. I went from dermatologist to dermatologist and was eventually diagnosed as suffering from eczema. UNC Chapel Hill Hospital told me how to manage my skin and scalp using medicated ointments and shampoos.

When it was at its worst stage the eczema had spread all over my body. From all the itching and scratching I developed a scalp infection, which took most of my hair out. My hair and scalp always seemed to be dry. I used many products to add softness and moisture and there was one product that really worked for me. It was call T Gel Shampoo which helped soothe my scalp.

Using weaves and extensions to cover up hair loss

I remember wearing my short hair to school when I was younger and coming home crying from all the name-calling I received. It broke my confidence. My mother thought she could fix the issue by adding extensions and weave to my hair, which I wore until I was an adult. At that time I thought I was saved and accepted. At least to us we thought I was presentable and I fit in. For over 20 years I never really wore my hair short again. My grandmother and mother both suffer from hair loss too, so it was normal for us to always wear weaves.

Some of the braids and weave styles have been damaging to my hair, mostly from being too tight. As a result, I lost even more hair. It seemed that hair loss had taken over my life. I tried using so many products and vitamins for hair growth but nothing seemed to work. Being a licensed hairstylist for 10 years, I knew some of my hair follicles were dead. That’s the moment that I knew I had Alopecia areata (where hair loss forms in patches) and it was time to make another visit to the dermatologist.

Cutting my hair

By the time I was 29 I knew I was tired of the weaves and wigs. I decided to make a conscious decision and cut my hair short and wear it in certain styles to cover up the hair loss.

I couldn’t wait to go out in public or to work to show them the true me. That’s when all the negative thoughts and insecurities came flooding back to the surface. I felt scared of what others would think and that I would appear less attractive.

Shatina decide to do the big chop in her late twenties

After a while I decided to let my hair grow a little, so I wore hats and scarves. I was confident at first but also felt incomplete because I knew at that time, I had a condition which I needed to learn more about. I didn’t accept that I had hair loss. Some days were depressing but not every day. For almost a year I kept my natural hair short. I tried comb-overs fades and colour dyes to make my hair appear thicker.

I finally shaved off all my hair when I was 33. When I cut my hair, I felt a great sense of relief and felt confident when I looked in the mirror. Seeing Jada Pinkett Smith opening up about her hair loss encouraged me to open up about mine too.

I wouldn’t actually say I didn’t live a normal life, but I had limited myself from things I could have done or achieved. I did everything to fit in or what I thought was acceptable in everyone else’s eyes. I barely went swimming or took part in sports activities because I always wore wigs and didn’t want my weaves to get wet. I was covering up and not being true to myself.

Just because you have flaws you still can do anything you want to do and inspire others. We all are beautifully made.

Shatina Smith

I’ve had relationships and have dated, but only told a few of my partners about my hair loss. I felt that they wouldn’t see me as attractive. I had a partner who also suffered from hair loss. It was hard for him at first to accept it and the reason why I was hiding behind my wigs. He always encouraged me not to wear wigs and bought me hair products and even encouraged me to go back to the dermatologist.

Despite doing all those things, on some days I still felt less attractive. All I wanted to know was that I am beautiful with or without my flaws. It is OK to be different and not fit in. Now that I’m in my 30’s some days I feel confident and other days I don’t. I believe everyone can relate.

Recently in June I was seen and diagnosed with Traction alopecia and Cicatricial alopecia (or scarring alopecia, an inflammatory condition that destroys hair follicles, causing scarring and permanent hair loss). I’m currently using topical ointment on my scalp twice a day.

I’ve decided to take one day at a time and learn to love me, regardless of where I am in life. I’m building my confidence up and I’m stronger than I ever been. Hair loss is a topic that needs to be talked about, but no one wants to bring up. Just because you have flaws you still can do anything you want to do and inspire others. We all are beautifully made.


  1. by Shatina S Smith on 02/08/2022  1:26 PM Reply

    I know you probably forgot my name. But I know you were meant to put Shatina Smith. I do have a cousin married to a Sharon. You're Tish's mother! Thanks love.

  2. by Kerry Gerald on 22/07/2022  3:23 PM Reply

    Bravo!!! Shatina you are and have always been beautiful! No hair , don’t care! I to suffer from hair loss due to alopecia for many years and I finally cut it all off a few years ago. Thank you for loving yourself enough to share your experiences with us.

    • by Shatina Smith on 30/07/2022  9:17 PM Reply

      Thanks a lot for being you and embracing yourself also. Yes, it takes a lot of self confidence and acceptance. I really appreciate you reading the article and sharing your experience also. :)

  3. by mardashia smith on 21/07/2022  2:37 PM Reply

    I'm so proud of you sis!! You are so bold and courageous; & you are beautiful inside and out!! Speaking your truth will be an inspiration to many. God will continue to order your footsteps because this is just the beginning of your journey.

    • by Shatina Smith on 21/07/2022  11:47 PM Reply

      Thanks alot sis!! Im glad that my article inspire others. It not only help them but it help me also. You are amazing. Thanks for the encouraging words and love you sis. I hope God continue to overflow in your life!!!

  4. by Shatina Smith on 21/07/2022  2:05 PM Reply

    Aww thanks you're so sweet and always have been....yes a lot of women suffer from hair loss. It's a topic that a lot people can relate to and a topic people are scared to talk about. Yes, you are not in this alone. Thanks for taking the time out to read my article. Love ya'll.

  5. by Smith Charlotte on 20/07/2022  10:42 PM Reply

    So proud of you Tina for being yourself. I suffer from hair loss too, even though I am older. This is your uncle Walter's wife. You are so brave.

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