A real-life Rapunzel whose tresses measured seven feet long has revealed how a devastating health battle is now causing her to go bald.
Rin Kambe was left devastated after her luscious locks began to disappear following a shock diagnosis of alopecia areata, with chunks of her hair dropping out.
The 43-year-old, who is a dancer, is well-known on Instagram for her glorious mane, where she has over 114,000 followers.
However, earlier this year, Rin fell ill and was sadly diagnosed with the autoimmune condition.
Her life would never be the same again.
“It was difficult to face reality,” the influencer, who is from Tokyo, told http://NeedToKnow.co.uk .
“When I woke up in the morning, I didn’t feel like myself.
“There were days when it was so hard that I didn’t even want to go to the supermarket.
“I was afraid and filled with fear.
“The anxiety eventually turned into despair and I felt as if I was watching myself breathing while struggling with anger and loss without any motivation.
“Now that I think about it, I think they were the days when I couldn’t fully accept what was happening to me.”
Rin first began growing her hair when she was 25 years old and says she used her locks as a “weapon of expression”.
At its longest, it measured a huge seven-and-a-half foot long, which is roughly the same size as a giraffe’s neck.
She was also known for having the longest hair in Japan.
Rin said: “I grew my long hair out as a weapon of expression, my hair grew more and more and I was able to work as a model for long hair.
“While I was unable to work on stage due to the coronavirus, my long hair supported my life.
“I’d spend three hours a day caring for my hair with shampoo, treatment and a hairdryer – and my hair was my treasure.
“I love my fans who love my long hair from the bottom of my heart, and I raised my long hair with the same feeling of loving and raising my children.”
Despite losing a huge part of her identity, Rin says she is learning to love her new look and her health battle has only made her stronger.
She said: “There are many things that this disease and my lost long hair has taught me.
“But one important thing is that anyone can be proud of who they are at any time.
“I felt ashamed or miserable when I got sick but now I feel proud of myself.
“That is because I learned that living itself is beautiful.
“No matter what happens, it is wonderful to live forward.
“I’m starting to find it fun to do my dancing with a shaved head now, it almost feels as though I have been reborn.
“It’s strange, I’m starting to like new myself.”
Rin is now on a mission to help raise awareness of alopecia and send courage to those who may be struggling.
She added: “I would be happy if I could bring courage to people with the same disease or who are suffering from hair loss due to side effects of drugs.
“People who are suffering from other diseases, people who are seeking healing, I would like to send courage, energy, and mental healing to everyone as I try my best to overcome the present.”