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HealthWatch: SF Salon Helps Women Suffering From Hair Loss

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A woman gets her hair done at the Face-To-Face salon. (CBS)

A woman gets her hair done at the Face-To-Face salon. (CBS)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSSanFrancisco.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSSanFrancisco.com/Health

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – It’s hard enough for a man. But imagine what it’s like for a woman to be bald.

40% of women suffer some form of hair loss. It can be devastating. But we found one place where women with hair loss go for help and comfort.

It looks and sounds like a hair salon. But for Debi Samii the Face to Face salon in San Francisco is a lot more.

“It’s a refuge here,” she said. She has a disease called andro-genetic alopecia, and lost all her hair in high school.

“I am sure the other kids joked about it, but it was hard,” she said.

Samii got a wig out of necessity. “There’s a lot of competition out there and who are they going to hire but the person they perceive to be would fit in the best and looks. I am afraid that is the reality of it,” she said.

Salon owner Kelli Simmons is part hairdresser, part therapist.

“Women are sort of unsure and unclear, and they are not sure of the relationship with me, and where they are at psychologically, so I sort of have to assess that part of it,” she said.

She offers expert advice on what kind of wig to get. But more importantly, privacy: customers can draw the curtain.

“A woman often feels sort of nude when they don’t have their hair on,” she said. “I have quite a few ladies that don’t even take their hair off at home in front of their husband.”

Samii admits, that’s her: “I have a boyfriend right now and he knows that I have hair loss but he hasn’t seen me without my hairpiece,” she said.

But not all women feel that way. Gina Thomson lost all her hair in her mid thirties. For her, it’s no problem going au naturel.

“You come to at least for me the realization that things could be worse,” Thompson said. Even with strangers she’s open. “I usually will let people know just so that they know I am not sick, that this is what is going on.”

She said the Face to Face salon has been a lifeline for her too: “She took the time to help me and to figure out what would be the best pieces for me, something that would look natural, and I think that is the big key, something that looks natural,” she said.

For more information on the salon, visit www.kellisimmonsfacetoface.com

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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