Meet the beautiful bride who embraced alopecia by being bald on her big day – and is encouraging others with the disease to chuck out their wigs too.
Kylie Bamberger, from Los Angeles, was just 12 years old when she started to develop bald spots and lost clumps of hair, which later would be diagnosed as alopecia areata.
After discovering her first bald patch, Kylie and her mum Kerry tried numerous remedies, treatments, techniques and hats to keep her hair appearing "normal".
"I was taking vitamins, homeopathic methods, techniques – one of them was doing handstands and letting the blood rush to your head – and a range of different things," Kylie, 27, said.
"The first signs looked like too much hair had been cut from around my ears, then I lost my eyebrows and I couldn't hide the spots.
"I tried steroid injections into the bald spots too but they never worked for me, wherever they tried it would grow back and another hairless patch appeared elsewhere."
At 15, the hair loss intensified.
"When I was 15, my hair began to fall out all at once – I had showered and found large clumps of hair in my hand, I felt helpless," Kylie said.
"I ran my fingers through my hair, there was more hair coming out than expected, it was an excessive amount, like putting your hand through spaghetti."
That year, Kylie decided to shave her hair, which she believes was the first step to accepting that she had alopecia.
Instead of mourning the loss of her hair, her family turned it into a celebration by filming the event and letting each other try on her wig.
"We decided to film it, so instead of it being a sad experience we turned it into a celebration," Kylie said.
"It set a new focus for the rest of my hair loss and set the tone for a lot of other things in life, it taught me to embrace and accept it."
For several years, she wore wigs, one for work and another for school, only taking it off while playing sport.
"It took years to build the confidence, I wore a wig almost every day, the only time I took it off was when I played soccer because it was so hot," Kylie said.
"Then one day I forgot to wear my wig for school and I decided I would go to class without it, which led people to ask a lot of inappropriate questions."
From there, with the help of friends and future husband Cy VanSickle, 26, Kylie learned to embrace her baldness.
"When I started dating my husband I didn't have to wear my wig in front of him," Kylie explained.
"Before I was only putting it on to make others comfortable and stop them staring at me."
Now, she hasn't covered her head in five years, and even chose to walk down the aisle without a wig last October.
"Not having hair is who I am, it's me, when I wear a wig i'm not who I identify with, so I was never going to get married with one on," she said.
"It was never even a concern or thought that I wasn't going to have hair on my wedding day, besides if I wore a wig I don't think my husband would recognise me!
"The only problem I found was working out how to attach my veil, which in the end we connected to a headband."
With Caters News