Model Jonah Adefay had a promising career, modeling for fashion retailers ASOS and Very. But when the 24-year-old from Stockport was a year into the career, he discovered a coin-sized hairless patch on his head. Assuming that it was temporary and the hair would grow back, Jonah didn’t think anything of it. A few months later Jonah was diagnosed with alopecia areata, which was a bittersweet relief as he was finally able to understand what was happening to him.
Two years since seeing that small patch, Jonah lost 70% of his hair, leaving him in a ‘vulnerable place’. Since then though, the model has had different treatments and has seen his hair grow back. Now he says he’s glad it happened because it made him take his health seriously
Jonah, who doesn’t understand what triggered the condition, has a twin brother Jordan who has a full head of hair. ‘After being diagnosed with alopecia, the doctor suggested I see a dermatologist, however, I was put on a waiting list and I was waiting for about eight months,’ explained Jonah. ‘By the time I got an appointment in, I’d lost much more hair and at this point, I wasn’t in a great place. ‘Once I saw the dermatologist, he suggested several different treatments and one of the treatments that stood out for me was the steroid injections, straight into the scalp. ‘So, I went for my first treatment when he injected 100 needles into my scalp to promote hair growth.
But the treatment didn’t promote any growth after a few months. Jonah then started a DPC treatment, which is a chemical that’s applied to the scalp to create rashes to distract the immune system from focusing on the hair follicles, so it focuses on the rash instead (this treatment comes with some risks). He claims that after three months of DPC, he started seeing growth. ‘I was in a really vulnerable position mentally and physically,’ he said.
‘My alopecia did affect my modelling career massively as it stopped me from getting really big jobs. When I lost a lot of hair, I was using black sprays and black follicles to cover the bald patches. ‘Casting clients could clearly see there was something wrong with my hair however I was too scared to tell them my situation. ‘I knew that they knew that there was something wrong, so I just felt awkward and self-conscious on every casting. ‘When I was losing my hair, someone commented on one of my pictures saying that my hairline was dead, which really affected me because they didn’t know the actual reason behind it.
The comments affected Jonah’s self-esteem, making it difficult for him to leave his house. But he has words of encouragement for anyone who may be going through a similar thing.
‘For anybody suffering with alopecia, I know it’s hard but try and have faith and don’t let it take over your life,’ he said. ‘Staying positive is a key factor. Always speak to people close to you if you ever feel down.’ If you want more information, advice and support on alopecia, you can contact Alopecia UK.
Follow Jonah on Instagram: @jonahadefay