A BOURNEMOUTH woman, who suffers from Alopecia, is sporting a striking new look in a bid to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

The heartbreak of hair loss can have a devastating effect on sufferers of the condition.

It can destroy confidence and self-esteem. But far from hiding her baldness, 28-year-old Vicki Sampson has had her head tattooed and is asking for donations to Alopecia UK. She has already secured sponsorship of hundreds of pounds.

Vicki was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in June last year and was told it is an auto immune disease where the body rejects its own hair follicles, leading to partial or complete baldness. It has no known cause or cure.

Her aim is to urge the government to fund the charity and to take the condition more seriously.

So with that in mind she settled down for a four-hour tattoo session which left her with images of a cherry blossom tree, a butterfly and a Chinese geisha on her head.

Vicki, a former pupil of St Luke’s Primary and Avonbourne in Bournemouth is no stranger to tattoos and was grateful when the work was offered free of charge at Marques of the Wolf in Christchurch.

She said: “The pain wasn’t too bad because I’m used to it. I’ve got tattoos on my ribs and on the palms of my hands.

“It was horrible to be diagnosed with Alopecia. At first I noticed one or two bald patches but never expected that I was going to lose all my hair.

“I hit rock bottom and didn’t even want to leave the house. I spent a lot of money on wigs because I wouldn’t go out with bald patches.”

Vicki said friends tried to convince her that she still looked beautiful.

She added: “One day I just decided to go for it. “As soon as I completely shaved my head and went public I felt better about it. This disease nearly gave me a breakdown but I have come through the other side and now want to help others.”

Vicki, who lives in Southbourne, has also done some modelling to raise awareness of the condition.

Anyone who wants to support her with a donation can do so at justgiving.com/vicki-sampson1