Featured Client: Riley Nicholson

Riley is a longtime nonsurgical hair replacement client of Transitions Indy with a truly inspiring story. Despite being diagnosed with Lupus at a young age and suffering from dramatic hair loss, Riley remains positive. She's even a mental health advocate and she shares her story in hopes of helping others who have experienced similar struggles. We interviewed Riley recently to get her thoughts on everything. Keep reading to learn more about Riley, her experience with hair loss, and find out how she found a solution at Transitions Indy.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 23 years old and have been struggling with hair loss for 8 years. My hair loss stems from Lupus but it’s also a mix of alopecia. Being a woman, hair is something that makes us feel beautiful and safe. After losing clumps of hair and noticing bald spots on my head, I became very insecure. It took me years to fully accept it and know that I am beautiful regardless of if I have hair or not.

I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) in 2015. Lupus is an autoimmune disease meaning my immune system attacks healthy body tissue causing problems with my skin, joints, and extreme fatigue. My hair loss actually started before I got my diagnosis but it took doctors a long time to figure out what was going on in my body.

What is it like living with an auto-immune disease?

Living with an autoimmune disease has been challenging. The extreme fatigue, muscle and bone aches, and random flare-ups are things I’ve learned to deal with. It’s taken countless doctors, different medication, and some counseling to get me where I’m at now.

Hair loss has affected me in a negative and positive way (if that makes sense). At first, I was beyond insecure and really struggling with comparing my balding head to women who have beautiful, full hair. I have depression and anxiety on top of my Lupus so when I started losing my hair, my depression definitely worsened. Therapy, journaling, and positive self-talk have helped my mental illness immensely. I make my mental health a priority and try to be an advocate for myself as much as possible.

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What other solutions have you tried?

Before finding Transitions Indy, I wore wigs. My hair loss started at such a young age. I wore headbands and hats to cover it. I then found toppers, then wigs, and wore those for about 4 years. Transitions Indy is the best solution out there in my opinion. It’s so lightweight, natural-looking, and very easy to manage and style. My hair system has made me feel free again. After wearing wigs for so long, I got used to feeling something on my head all the time. I joked with my mom after I had my system put on that I felt naked because it was so light. It’s amazing to feel like my old self again. I’m the most confident and secure I’ve ever been thanks to Transitions Indy.

How has your life changed since you've come to Transitions Indy?

My life has changed in big ways since going to Transitions Indy. I’m able to look in the mirror and truly love my hair. I’m able to be in the car with the windows down without worrying that my wig will fly off. I can go on a run without wearing a hat or headband to cover my hair loss. I can put my hair up and style it like normal because of my hair system. It’s truly made me a happier person.

What would you say to other women struggling with hair loss?

To other women struggling with hair loss, an autoimmune disease, or a mental illness: Advocate for yourself. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member and talk about how you’re feeling. Bottled-up emotions are no good. Embrace and love who you are. I know that’s easier said than done because it does take time but practicing things like positive self-talk and being open about struggles have helped me. There are so many treatments, help, and options out there for those who struggle with the 3 things I have. Do research to find what will work best for you. I did and it changed my life!

You can learn more about Riley by visiting her blog, Reflections by Ri or follow her on Instagram.

Take the first step to a new you.

Schedule a complimentary hair and scalp analysis.

During this consultation, we will determine what solution is right for you. Your consultant will provide information regarding the causes of thinning hair and give you options tailored to your specific situation and lifestyle.


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