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Alopecia refers to hair loss that occurs as a result of a persons immune system mistakenly attacking hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. Therese Hansson from Malmo, Sweden, discovered that she had the condition aged just 14 and was understandably a little freaked out.

”I was young at the time so I was mostly worried that it was cancer, since that’s normally the first thing you think of when you see hair loss. Little did I know that this hair loss only happens after chemotherapy,” she told the Daily Mail.

Having learned the true cause of her hair loss, she struggled to come to terms with it. Being a teenager at the time, a time already fraught with insecurities about appearance and wanting to fit in, this is a pretty normal reaction. ”Only my family knew about it at first and after about a year I started to tell my closest friends. It was a big secret to me and I was very sensitive if anyone noticed or asked me something about my hair. I was good at hiding it.”

Eventually though, with the support and encouragement of her best friends, she began to embrace her bald head and let her beauty shine through. ”Now I feel like I can be myself and that I don’t need to hide it anymore. Going out in public with my alopecia is something that I regret not doing earlier but I guess I just wasn’t ready before.”

The decision to drop the wig (although she still wears them from time to time) has been liberating personally as well as professionally. She has become a model and as you can see in the pictures below she looks absolutely stunning.

Hoping to use her experience to encourage others with the condition to free themselves from shame and to just be themselves, Therese says: ”Don’t hide. It will only make you feel worse. A big stone of relief will leave your body if you can just be yourself. Anyone that won’t accept it is not someone you need in your life anyway.”

Great positive advice! We at Bored Panda think Therese looks amazing and her new-found confidence in herself after embracing her alopecia only adds to her attractiveness. Grattis, Theresa!

This is Therese Hansson from Malmo, Sweden

She has Alopecia, an immune condition that causes hair loss

Finding out about the condition aged just 14, she struggled to come to terms with it at first

“It was a big secret to me and I was very sensitive if anyone noticed or asked me something about my hair. I was good at hiding it”

Eventually though, with the support and encouragement of her best friends, she began to embrace her bald head and let her beauty shine through

“Now I feel like I can be myself and that I don’t need to hide it anymore”

“Going out in public with my alopecia is something that I regret not doing earlier but I guess I just wasn’t ready before”

The decision to drop the wig has been liberating personally, as well as professionally

Now 26, Theresa is a model and she hopes to encourage others with alopecia to have the confidence to be themselves

“Don’t hide. It will only make you feel worse. A big stone of relief will leave your body if you can just be yourself”

“Anyone that won’t accept it is not someone you need in your life anyway.”

Like us, the internet thinks she looks just beautiful

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/alopecia-model-therese-hansson/