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Home > Articles > 9 Year-Old Florida Girl Overcomes Hair Loss

9 Year-Old Florida Girl Overcomes Hair Loss

by Alexandra Kilpatrick

Orlando doctors successfully treated a 9-year-old girl suffering from alopecia areata after years of mysterious hair loss.

Gabby Ruiz was bullied at school after the rare disease caused her hair to fall out. Her peers picked on her so much, in fact, that her mom, Emilia Ruiz, decided to home school her to spare her from being bullied.

“The kids didn’t understand what was happening, so she would come home crying, and as a mom the worst that you want to do is see your child upset,” the Tampa-based mother told Orlando’s News 13.

Gabby’s Mysterious Condition

Gabby’s hair fall was a mystery for years and doctors couldn’t figure out a treatment that worked. Her mom claims that she lost 70 percent of her hair, her eyebrows and her eyelashes.

The hair loss affected Gabby emotionally as well as physically. According to her mother, Gabby became extremely reserved, to the extent that she did not even want to leave the house, until she began receiving treatment at Orlando’s Florida Hospital.

“She has a condition called alopecia areata,” Florida Hospital’s Dr. Tace Rico told Orlando’s News 13. “It’s almost like an auto-immune disorder where for whatever reason, her immune system starts to attack her own hair.”

Rather than using a topical cream to treat the disease, Gabby’s doctors began to inject medicine into her scalp. The injections did, in fact, help her hair grow back.

“I think it was exciting for the whole office when she started back at school, because she came back and the teacher had a welcome home party for her and it was really special for us,” Dr. Rico told Orlando’s News 13.

“They helped me get my hair back,” Gabby told News 13.

Gabby started the 4th grade back at school with her peers in late August.

Treating Alopecia Areata

An acquired skin disease, alopecia areata can affect all hair-bearing skin and causes non-scarring hair loss in localized areas. The skin condition is rarely associated with external or internal medical problems and bald areas tend to spontaneously regrow their hair.

According to recent studies, an abnormality in the immune system causes the skin disease. The abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that attacks its own body, including certain tissues like hair follicles. Attacking the follicles tends to disrupt normal hair formation.

While there is a diverse array of treatments for alopecia areata, there is no guarantee than any one of these treatments will effectively cause hair to regrow. Steroid injections, creams and scalp shampoos are among the most common treatments for the skin disease.

Keep up with Gabby’s remarkable story and other hair restoration advancements at If you are curious about your own hair loss, please contact our team today. We will work with you to locate a doctor in your area!

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