womens hair loss

In September of 2007 Taylor shared her story with the Women’s Hair Loss Project. She has now written to share her update with us.
——————-

As of June 08 I began to be able to stand and walk, after beginning a new treatment that was made available to treat the nerve damage I had in my legs and back from my accident. Now, almost a year later I’m up as if nothing ever had gone wrong. I’m still getting a hang of the whole running thing though, it’s quite the sight. All my health issues completely disappeared, but alopecia decided to come back and pay me a visit.

My hair began to fall out in late November, just before I graduated from college. At first it was just a little more then usual when I was washing my hair. I reasoned that it was because I hadn’t brushed it for a few days so all the hair that fell out naturally had not yet been removed. It became more and more noticeable until there was just no convincing myself that I wasn’t relapsing. I was devastated because I felt that for once my life had been going right, and for the first time in so long I had the opportunity to just be a normal girl and fit in with everyone else. I felt like I was being punished, as ridiculous as it may sound.

One night in the early hours of the morning I came back to the Women’s Hair Loss Project to read what I wrote about my first experience with Alopecia. I felt like a hypocrite, talking about how inner beauty matters the most and there I was falling to pieces because I was losing my hair again. But I had to laugh at how much times had changed since re-reading what I wrote (especially about my ex!). This time around I was very lucky to have such a good support system; my amazing friends Jess and Matt who were there to pick me up off the floor and knock some sense into me. I really don’t know what I would’ve done without them. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt since Alopecia’s… graceful return is that what makes us different, makes us beautiful. Our hardships in life really define who we are as a person, and without them we wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t grow. Alopecia makes me look unique, which is something I’ve come to embrace. I know so many people who look and act like clones, being a carbon copy of someone else would be a nightmare to me. [click to continue…]

{ 15 comments }

Having Hair Loss Is Exhausting

by admin on March 15, 2009

I never really stop to think how much effort I put into trying NOT to think about my hair loss and how exhausting not thinking about my hair loss actually is.

I avoid mirrors, strong overhead restaurant lighting, I turn the bathroom lights off before going in (in my house). I’d do it in public to if I didn’t think I’d get tons of grumbles and nasty comments from the women already in there. Ha! Unless they had hair loss, then they’d give me a high five. Typically when I need light I use softer lights that are sort of dimmed.

Up in the morning, early 5:00am start to the day. I shower and I comb my hair quickly trying to get past the torture. Shower is always fun pulling the hair out of all sorts of odd places including my deriere. Oops stuck between my fingers, rinse it off, rinse it off or paste it on the bathroom wall. Always fun to look at after. Comb, scoop, comb, scoop, hair into the toilet. I pull my hair back in a ponytail or up in a clip to avoid feeling the hair fall all day. However, (as thin hair ladies know) the clip can hurt since it sits so close to the scalp with none of that pesky “hair padding,” it can become quite itchy and bothersome, so I loosen it up to make sure it’s perfect and set for the day. Oops now my hair looks flat on the left side. Do it again…oops now it’s flat on the right. Oh my gosh I look like a human ice cream cone, with no hair on the sides and a little on the top, the shape of my head has me looking like a Mister Softee. Do it again, darn it now my gaping center part is shining for all the world to see. Hummm I don’t remember it being that thin before. Maybe I should use the blow dryer some more. Blow to the left, blow it to the right. Apply clip strategy again, ah this “style” is okay. My simple clip style takes longer than it looks, same for the ponytail. This hair over that hair, brush here, brush there, trying to maximize every strand. Volumizing shampoo, volumizing conditioner, volumizing spray, volumizing mousse, plump this plump that. Poof it’s still flat. Part my hair one millimeter to the left of its normal part, nope, one millimeter to the right, yes that’s just perfect. Now I can begin my day. I glance at my watch, I wonder what activities are left to do on this Saturday at 10pm.

Happy Sunday Ladies! [click to continue…]

{ 9 comments }

Melba’s Hair Transplant Story

by admin on February 3, 2009

I would like to share with you a story written by a woman named Melba who has been with The Women’s Hair Loss Project since last October. Before I share her story, I’d like to talk a little about hair transplants and my thoughts on women being candidates for this procedure. I have written in the past that I am not particularly a fan of hair transplantation in women. The reason for this being the common diffuse pattern of hair loss prevalent among many women who experience thinning hair. I am not a physician and everything I write is simply my opinion based on my own hair loss and that of all the images I have seen published by the members of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network, along with the many stories I have received from women who had less than favorable outcomes from hair restoration surgery.

In a hair transplant procedure a strip of hair is removed from the back of the head and the follicles are implanted into the thinning areas. For men this usually works out great because the area in the back of the head is usually DHT resistant, which is why even in the baldest male, he will usually maintain that rim of hair around the bottom portion of his scalp. In many women with female pattern hair loss, the hair falls from all over the scalp in a more diffuse pattern. I say pattern, but it is really a lack of pattern, it is just from here and there and everywhere. For myself I lose hair from the top, both sides and also the back of the head (top and bottom) and my hair has fallen this way for the last 9 years. So I know I make a very poor candidate for a hair transplant procedure since any hair moved could potentially just fall out the next day. Many of the 1400+ members of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network have the same type of hair loss as myself, so it seems this is more the norm for female androgenetic alopecia than an occasional occurence.

Having said all that, I have to ask, how can a woman with diffuse female pattern hair loss be a candidate for surgical hair restoration? I simply cannot wrap my mind around that, yet there are some physicans who believe that hair transplantation is a viable option for women with this type of hair loss.  [click to continue…]

{ 14 comments }

Living a Bald Life

by admin on January 15, 2009

Mary discusses living with alopecia, and how attending a Bald Girls Do Lunch event dramatically changed her life. Read Mary’s full story here.

{ 0 comments }

Hi everyone –

As I am sure everyone is already aware, the Internet can be such a wretched place for men and women who are searching for answers for their hair loss. When I started losing my hair 9 years ago, the online resource options were pretty slim, but what made it worse to me was that the available online forums seemed so depressing, confusing and darn right ugly at times. People fighting and no direction really sent me more into a downward spiral, of course so did everything else. :)  This is why I wrote a post last September 10th explaining my thoughts and opinions on online forums in general, and why I had chosen not to include one on this site. I have sort of softened up my opinions on online message boards since that time and understand now the value it can have for some individuals. I realize that if forums are cultivated in a respectful, professional and loving manner that they can be a huge value to people.

A new forum has recently been launched by the founder of The American Hair Loss Association. The forum titled Bald Truth Talk http://www.baldtruthtalk.com is aimed to create a safe platform for men and women to get real information and support without the confusing junk that often times infiltrates online message boards. To read an article about this new resource visit: http://www.thebaldtruth.com/news/baldtruthtalk-new-hair-loss-forum/

I am proud to be a part of this new online support message forum. I am already a member over there and will being doing my best to represent women with hair loss, and to share information and guidance the best I can. I want to make sure that women everywhere suffering with hair loss knows they are not alone. The only thing worse than losing your hair at 21 years old, is to be losing your hair AND thinking you are the only one. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Letter To My Hair Loss

by admin on November 19, 2008

Dear Hair,

I am so mad at you, and hurt by you for what you have done to me. I sit here in my pajamas and robe, crying uncontrollably from your selfish desire to leave. Have you no consideration for me? For my life , for my sanity? For 21 years you deceived me, tricked me into a false sense of security thinking you would be with me for life. What did I ever do to you? Was it lack of appreciation?

Now for 9 years you let me try to do different things to win you back. I gave you all sorts of things…. I even prayed for you and meditated for you! And what do you do? You tease me. You stay for awhile then run away. Stay, then run away. Now you’ve almost taken all of your things and left. What am I left with? An emptiness and wonder for what I will do without you.

How did I ever depend on you so much? You logically seem so insignificant, yes I SAID it, insignificant! What do you do? You just sit there, waiting to be tended to and pampered. I have other things more precious than you. Health, Sight, Hearing, Legs, Arms, and Heart.  I know you’ve made up your mind already, and that there is nothing left I can give you to stay. So I guess I should work on moving on as well. But… if you want to stay, I’ll gladly take you back! So let me know at the next shampoo, k?  :)

Yours Truly,

Mind, Body, & Soul

{ 7 comments }

Written by Mary

Hi everyone,

I’ve just joined and I want to share my alopecia journey with you. This may be longer than it’s supposed to be, but I hope my experiences will help someone. If you want to put a face and voice to this narrative, please check out my YouTube video entitled “Alternatives to wearing a wig”.

I had patchy alopecia for 7 years, beginning out of the blue in my late forties. The round spots were always confined to the back or sides of my head, and were easily hidden under my thick brown hair. The frequency of the spots increased in the last few years, but they always filled in after monthly cortisone injections. My daily routine was checking my scalp in the mirror for new spots and for the status of old ones, and applying cortisone cream. I always worried about the spots moving to places on my head that would show. But, after so many years, I also sort of figured I’d never lose all my hair. Wrong.

Exactly a year ago, my hair loss began to rapidly progress. New spots appeared on top where there had never been any; old ones enlarged to take up most of my scalp and merged with others. I obsessed about losing it all, and was often depressed and crying. By January 2008, I had as much bare scalp as I had hair, and the bald areas were too extensive for cortisone injections. We took some final photos the night before I shaved my head on January 30, 2008. I saved some pieces of my hair. The photo you see was taken right after my head was shaved, and still shows stubble and my real eyebrows and lashes. I have no eye makeup on in this photo; my eyes were dark and my eyebrows very distinctive.

I felt better immediately! No more scooping up hair from the floor every day. No more examining my head to check the bald areas. No more crying over the spreading bald spots. And, it was much more comfortable under a wig or scarf than when I had the patches of hair. Shaving it all off gave me a feeling of control.

Via a local support group, I heard about a casting call for “Shear Genius” on Bravo, and was one of 8 bald women with alopecia featured on an episode that was filmed the end of March. At the taping, I still had my eyebrows and lashes, but they were gone by mid-April. The show aired July 23, and many times after that. (You can see the whole episode on YouTube under “Shear Genius 2 Episode 5”.) It was a great experience meeting the other women, all of whom had been bald for many years. I’ll probably never wear the wig from the show – way too heavy and thick, and I picked a color that wasn’t a good choice. [click to continue…]

{ 11 comments }

A Possible Hair Loss Vaccine Connection?

by angela on October 26, 2008

As I was surfing the net this morning I came across this little, almost obscure article. Of course, since it had to do with hair loss, I clicked it, and to my amazement (although I shouldn’t be surprised) here I am reading about the Hepatitis B vaccine and HAIR LOSS!

I am posting the links below to the articles that I read this morning so you can go check them out. It pisses me off that hair loss is NOT one of the side effects that they warn about when giving people the vaccine. Studies are being done about the psychological effects of hair loss and women and yet no one thinks that announcing that it does in some cases cause hair loss would be important for US to know?

Have any of you ladies been vaccinated? Now the reports that I have read predominately talk about the Hepatitis B vaccine, but can we be sure that this is the ONLY vaccine that causes hair loss? How about the flu vaccine? or the one for pneumonia? How about HPV?

Can some of you ladies put my fears to rest? LOL I am so traumatized by this, that I can’t even write properly about it! Can you lovely ladies each tell me when you first started noticing your hair loss and if it coincides with ANY type of vaccination you may have received within that year? I am really curious and mortified at the implications of this!

How many college students were required to get vaccinated and THEN started to notice that their hair was falling out and thought it was just STRESS!

How many women were entering the nursing or medical profession and started losing their hair around the time of the required vaccinations?

How many teachers are out there, that are required by law as well to be vaccinated before they begin teaching? [click to continue…]

{ 129 comments }

Our Brave New World – Support Group

by admin on September 19, 2008

Brave New WorldHi everyone, I just want to let all you ladies know about a support group that has been started by one of our newest members, Angela. She has titled the group “Our Brave New World” and has written and introduction:

“Hello my sisters! I wanted to create a group for us to explore this new chapter in our lives. I don’t think any of us ever thought when we were little girls…”Gee, when I grow up I want to be an Alopecian!” or “I can’t wait to go bald!” But here we are. Feel free to share your thoughts, inspiration and encouragement as we step into Our Brave New World.”

Please stop by the community, join the group and join us in healing. To join the network, click here. Once you are signed up and logged in, follow this link to join the group: http://community.womenshairlossproject.com/group.php?group_id=5 or just click on the “group” button you will see in the top navigation bar, then click on the tab “Browse Groups.” As always please send me an email if you have any difficulty, women@womenshairlossproject.com

{ 0 comments }

I wrote this in response to Lisa’s recent blog entry “Lost Cause,” and thought it was worth reposting here as well.

Dear Lisa,

I can so deeply internalize your struggles. Is this drug helping… Is it making it worse? There are so many unanswered questions about women’s hair loss. This may sound a bit odd, but I think the longer I’ve lived with hair loss the easier it has gotten for me. I have just a speckle of the hair I had 4 years and certainly 9 years ago, but somehow I just deal better. Those years I didn’t get out of bed half the time, sat in the shower crying and had my mind set that my life was over.

It wasn’t over.

I awoke this morning and fastened my hair tie (wearing my hair down and *feeling* feather hairs is more of reminder) grabbed my coffee and the day begins. I don’t dwell on the looking at myself anymore and I suppose that is the difference is in my hair loss life from not too long ago. I can easily get wrapped up in the balding spot and thinning areas I meticulously cover up with my little Houdini wand called the “comb.” But it serves no purpose. I am doing everything I possibly can and I rest easy knowing I tried EVERYTHING. They say “God helps those who helps themselves.” I’m certain I fall under that category, I’m still waiting to be freed from the shackles of hair loss. “God.. I’m ready now” :)

I’ve prayed at home, at the chruch, to St. Jude, to the high heavens, to anything holy and divine that could save me and save my life. Clearly it appears that being a woman with hair loss in this day and age requires an “Act of God” for recovery… “God. I’m ready now.”

The truth is, in some ways my prayers have been answered. No I didn’t grow the hair back I so intently prayed (my exact words where “please let my hair grow back in thick and strong”) but I wanted my life to be saved, and it was. Through better coping mechanisms, new perspectives and improved attitude I can at most times regard my hair situation with some indifference and strength. Huge milestone, “Thank You God.” [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }