Hair is the only accessory we wear everyday. It’s referred to as our crowning glory. It’s often the first thing someone notices about us. So what happens when our hair turns on us?
So many women deal with hormonal hair loss, postpartum hair loss, illness, and general female pattern baldness. Having been in the hair business for so long, I’ve seen my fair share of hair loss.
I always hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t happen to me. I’ve always had fine, thin hair and I couldn’t afford to lose what little I had. After the birth of my first child, I kept much of the new hair that pregnancy gave me. I had nice hair, probably for the first time since high school. I was thrilled! Even after stopping nursing, I didn’t really notice a big change. I had dodged a bullet.
When I got pregnant with my second child, my hair began to look and feel different. It was dull and limp. It was like the life had been sucked out of me. I actually cut it pretty short halfway through my pregnancy to give it a fresh start. It was a great cut. It grew out easily. I enjoyed the change and the ease of styling it, with a toddler and big pregnant belly.
Around the 4 month mark, postpartum, I noticed some thinning. Nothing crazy but it was definitely happening. Around the 9 month mark, it began again. This time it was worse. You could see through my hairline, to the scalp. I was losing hair in the shower, filling up hairbrushes with hair. I ignored it for almost a year because I know how normal postpartum hair loss is. I had enough length to get some hair extensions to hide it. Once my daughter was 18 months old, I knew it was time to do something about it. I had ignored it long enough.
I went to the dermatologist. Aside from hair loss I was having severe cystic acne. One cyst would heal and another would take its place. Between that and the hair, I felt so ugly. I’d lost a ton of weight for no apparent reason. I wasn’t dieting or working out. All of these symptoms were concerning. The dermatologist determined that my iron was really low and put me on medication (spironolactone) for the acne and hair loss. He used the words “female pattern baldness”. I was crushed, it was like a punch in the gut. I’ve been taking care of other people’s hair for my entire adult life. It seemed unfair.
I followed his orders for months. Nothing was improving. My skin was still broken out and my hair was still very thin. One day, it hit me. The only thing I had changed after the birth of my daughter was having an IUD placed. I had mentioned it to the dermatologist and he really didn’t want me to change my birth control method. He was certain that his plan would fix everything. Obviously, it wasn’t working. I called my OB/GYN and made an appointment to have the Mirena removed. The OB tried VERY HARD to get me to keep it. It was a hard decision to make. I was convinced that it was responsible for my weight loss and I was scared that removing it would immediately cause weight gain. Anytime you’re faced with a decision that means weight gain, you think hard on it. I couldn’t ignore the skin and hair issues, though. To be clear, this is in no way a Mirena bashing post, but it was a problem for me. I know most women love it and have no issues. I think I’m very much in the minority.
I had it removed this past January, and went back to my old faithful birth control pill. My skin improved almost immediately. Praise God! My hair has still been a work in progress. I began using a medicated shampoo and conditioner. I bought the Viviscal Professional kit from Charlotte Plastic Surgery. I’ve intermittently been taking the Viviscal Professional vitamin supplements as well. I go through phases where I forget to take them.
I do feel like my hair is slowly coming back. I realize its a slow process. It will take a year to really see the improvement. I’m biting the bullet and cutting it shorter again. It’s time for a fresh start. Pictures to come.
My advice to other women experiencing hair loss is to not give up.
Definitely see a doctor. Get some blood work done. Hormones are the leading cause for hair loss. Thyroid issues, pregnancy, and postpartum hormones are the most common reasons. You won’t know until you get it checked out.
Listen to your gut. Even though my doctor tried to talk me out of it, I eventually acted on my intuition and changed my birth control. I just had a hunch that it was causing my problems.
Make sure you’re getting whole nutrition. My iron was super low and was contributing to my hair loss. Adding a biotin based hair vitamin is great, but make sure you’re not deficient in any other nutrients. I use Juice Plus and drink Isagenix shakes to cover all the bases.
Be kind to your hair. Don’t overuse hair products like dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a miracle product for sure, but can damage the follicle if abused. Don’t overuse heat tools like flat irons. They snap fragile hair.
Ask your hairstylist what they think. Sometimes they can see something you can’t. I’ve solved a hair problem or two for my clients over the last 18 years. I can really see the scalp at an angle that you can’t see yourself.
This is a journey that continues for me. I am currently communicating with a dermatologist that specializes in hair loss. I’m hoping she can shed some light on this issue for me. Keep an eye out for a future post with that research.
Tomorrow I will post the pics from my new short haircut. EEK!!!!!!!
Until Next Time,