This has been a topic that I’ve been debating back and forth on whether I should write about But given it is on the topic of beauty and this is primarily a beauty blog, well, it just feels right to talk about it.
So to begin with, if you haven’t already noticed – I have A LOT of hair. My concerns with it have always been manageability, shine, frizziness. But over the years, I’ve learned how to deal with all that. Hair loss or thinning had never crossed my mind.
Back in October, I was straightening my hair when I noticed a lot of visible scalp on the right side. I took a closer look and saw what I thought could be a tiny bald spot. After several attempts of taking pictures so that I could take a closer look, along with photo messages to my sisters for their input, we concluded that it was a small bald patch. Honestly, I didn’t think much about it beyond that. It was tiny, not fully bald, and given that I was an over styler, I figured I was just being too rough with my hair.
Fast forward one month. I was at my parent’s house, chatting with my sister and playing around with my hair (per usual). That is when I noticed my hair felt very shiny at the root. TOO shiny. I started rubbing my hair along the root some more before I realized that I wasn’t actually rubbing my hair – it was my scalp! I went into semi-panic mode before I decided to set up my iPhone and mirror so that I could start taking pictures, and soon I confirmed that there was a second bald spot. That took me to extreme panic mode and I quickly went home to try to calm down.
Instead of calming down, I went the neurotic route and set up a mirror facing another mirror so that I could scan my entire scalp. I counted 4 spots in total – 3 on the right side and 1 on the bottom of my left.
Then I proceeded to do what many of us do when we have weird symptoms – searching online for self diagnosis. Within 24 hours, I had diagnosed myself with thyroid disease, Lupus, etc, etc, etc. Between this point and when I actually went to a doctor, I assumed something was really wrong with me. I was sad.
In addition to feeling sad about my health, I just felt ugly. Although I’ve always lost a lot of hair (probably more than the 100 strands average daily), the sight of any hair began to give me anxiety. I stopped styling my hair completely and was paranoid about people seeing the spots. I have so much hair that they were pretty difficult to see, but that wasn’t how I felt. 2 of the spots were on the bottom, meaning I couldn’t wear my hair in a ponytail, and some of the usual twists and braids that I would wear on lazy hair days had the risk of spot exposure. I avoided anything social for awhile. I mostly kept to myself.
I went through so many different feelings over the next months and could probably write a novel here that would bore you. But what seemed like a really big deal back then definitely does not now (for me specifically, I do realize that there are much more extreme cases out there). These are just a few of the things (some superficial, some obvious) that I learned in the process.
- Since I was young, I tried to figure out how to style and “fix” my hair. I actually forgot what my natural hair looked like. It took me losing a significant amount of my hair to realize that I actually like it naturally curly and to get more comfortable with some natural frizz! It’s been quite a process to learn to appreciate what I have (related to hair or anything else!)
- Self-diagnosis is bad for emotional health. I know this seems obvious, but we all tend to do it. I don’t have a serious illness – I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata. It is just spotted hair loss, not much else. It could be related to stress, genetics, but not clearly known. But between the point that I discovered the spots and the final diagnosis from a dermatologist, I was convinced I had something serious. The best thing to do is go to a doctor.
- Biotin (a B vitamin) can help with hair health. I started taking the maximum daily limit and it accelerated my hair growth (well, at least the hair I had). Now I always recommend it to anyone who experiences hair loss or slowed hair growth. It’s not a miracle, but it may help.
- I felt a lot better once I started sharing my experience with others. I was worried to talk to anyone about the loss because it is embarrassing and I assumed that people may judge or simply be very worried about my health – or maybe wonder how a girl with this issue could write a beauty blog?! But of course, most of my friends offered their support. And, I also realized how many women actually go through the same exact issue!! I wasn’t alone.
- Assuming hair loss is not related to anything serious… well, it’s just hair? This may happen again and several times in my life. For now, I’m lucky and appreciative that I have a shit ton of it. Or maybe I say it’s just hair because I still have so much. So let’s revisit this one later. Either way, I’m still the same person.
By the way, 2 of my spots have started growing some small hairs in the recent months. I’ve recently began styling my hair (as you’ve probably seen here on the blog) but I’m definitely wearing it naturally curly most days.