My hair is falling out.
You might experience hair loss for one of a hundred different reasons, including side effects of medication, or stress. I’ve been pretty lucky so far – I have always had masses of hair that grows really quickly.
Recently, I’ve had a bit of a cry to my best friend as my hair was coming out by the handful. I am now sporting a bald spot on the front of my head at one side (just what I wanted!) and several bald and very thin spots in different places across my scalp.
I’m not usually one to bother much with my appearance, but I wear a bit of make up sometimes and I enjoy having my hair cut and coloured every few months.
Losing my hair is just one more annoying thing that I’m dealing with that I don’t want to. I thought I would put together a few tips for those currently in the same position as me.
Let yourself mourn your hair. It’s just hair.. but it’s also not just hair. It might be the tip of the iceberg – you might have had a really crap week on your medication and now you’ve noticed a lot more hair in your hairbrush than usual. You’re allowed to be annoyed about it. It’s just hair and it could be worse, but that doesn’t make it any nicer to find a thinning patch over your ear!
Remember that your appearance isn’t the most important thing, even if it’s something that you do enjoy and value. There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying looking nice. There’s a big misconception that you can’t really have trigeminal neuralgia if you wear make up or brush your hair – everyone’s pain is different and it can vary day to day. However, you should remember your other qualities – do you have a wicked sense of humour? Are you kind, strong, brave, generous or fun? I know what’s valued more by my friends and family and my appearance is very bottom of the list.
Avoid miracle cures. You’ve all seen the gummy sweets on the internet that ‘make your hair grow’. These are just the same vitamins you can find elsewhere for cheaper and the hair growth they promote is usually incredibly minimal. The shampoos? Again, personally I can’t see they make any significant difference, unless you get a medicated shampoo that helps with unclogging your pores to promote healthy hair growth. These work in some cases of minor hair loss.
Eat your spinach. Iron levels play their part in healthy hair. Folic acid also helps maintain your hair follicles. It may be worth speaking to your doctor for advice on what vitamins you should be taking too.
Don’t stop brushing your hair. It isn’t nice to feel like your hair is falling out as you brush it, but really all you are doing is removing the hair that has already come out and is just sitting in the rest of your hair.
Change the way you brush your hair. Never brush your hair when it’s wet, unless you’re using a wide tooth comb, and, when your hair is dry, brush it in small sections. Try to brush it slightly less than usual too – once in the morning and once at night is plenty. Never force a brush or comb through your hair. If your hair is particularly knotty, use a detangling spray.
Avoid extensions. Whilst these might add volume and length to the look of your hair initially, the added weight on your hair follicles may actually lead to futher hair loss in the future. Bonding glue can also strip hair of it’s protective layer. However, if you want to try hair extensions, make an appointment to speak to an experienced hairdresser about your options. One of my lovely readers has told me that for her, the confidence that she gains from her extensions is more than the worry of damage, so you have to do what is best for you!
Limit the amount of damage you are doing to your hair. Hairdry your hair on a low heat setting, after dabbing dry with a towel instead of rubbing. One of my support group suggested using a tshirt to dry your hair instead of a towel as this is more gentle. Limit the amount you straighten or curl your hair. If you’re going to dye your hair, you may be better going to see a hairdresser rather than doing a box dye at home yourself. Bleaching should always be done by a professional to minimise the amount of damage.
Style your hair in a way that hides hair loss. Curls are much more forgiving than straight hair. Changing up your parting can also disguise hair loss and make your hair look thicker. Use headbands and scarves to cover your parting if this is where your hair is thinning. Your hair might look healthier if it’s cut short. It can often look thicker, as the length isn’t weighing your hair down. Your hair won’t actually be any healthier, but styles will hold for longer without the weight of long hair and you can make your hair look like it has lots of volume with short curled hair.
Be patient. Hair loss can often be temporary.
There are treatment options for severe hair loss that isn’t temporary, however, such as steriod creams, injections, hair transplants, medications and light treatments. If your hair loss is significant and affecting your day to day life, you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss any treatment available to you. If you have hair loss of 50% or more and you live in the UK, you may qualify for a wig on the NHS – click here for more information.
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