Elline Surianello: First-Hand Hair Loss
“When you’re a hair professional and you walk around with no hair, people assume you’re having chemotherapy,” says Elline Surianello, a makeup artist and hair pro who knows from personal experience that chemotherapy isn’t the only cause of hair loss. Surianello’s hair loss issues are due to androgenetic alopecia, a condition that causes partial hair loss.
“I’ve been wearing hair off and on since I was nine, and I’ve been in hair my entire adult life,” Surianello continues. When her sister was killed in 1984, the stress aggravated her condition and her hair began coming out in chunks. She was only 28 years old. In finding her way through this, Surianello founded her company, Lemetric, to import, design and manufacturer women’s hair pieces. She researched, learned and tried to bring hair loss out of the shadows. As a hair industry professional, she had the perfect platform.
“Hairdressers have a very personal relationship with their clients,” Surinello observes. “You know everything about each other; you’re each other’s advocate. But sometimes you don’t talk about all of the options for dealing with hair loss. Talking about it and engaging your clients in this conversation has everyone feeling more comfortable. Sometimes it surfaces when the client has a special occasion coming up and is concerned about how her hair is going to make her feel. Together, you find solutions, and people retain their confidence despite their hair loss.”
According to Surianello, 8% of North Americans have an autoimmune disorder, and nearly half of them have chronic conditions. In addition, more people are living with cancer or with cancer in remission and may be undergoing chemotherapy. You may be taking care of some of these clients, and for your own health you should be educating yourself on the topic.
“Chemicals are a bigger issue than ever,” Surinello says. “We need a lot of education; you can’t learn everything on YouTube. For a variety of reasons, more hairdressers are absorbing the chemicals and not taking care of themselves. If you’re putting glue on the bare head and using hair extensions, all in a room with no ventilation, you’re putting yourself in danger. Know what you need to know.”