I recently experienced a significant amount of hair loss. Significant enough to make me cry, go to the doctor, and then proceed to cut off what was left of my lengthy luscious locks in a desperate attempt to save myself with some sort of style. At 26 years old, I figured I’m a bit too young for female pattern baldness, and besides, hair loss doesn’t run in my family—both of my parents and all of my grandparents have full heads of hair.
So what’s the deal? It all started after I came back from a four-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. My hair began to come out at an alarming rate, with clumps falling out in the shower and blocking my drain in only a few days’ time. I would have to clean my hairbrush out after each pass through my scalp, and spent the majority of the day pulling stray hairs off my clothes. I pretty much would leave a trail of hair no matter where I went.
This went on for about two months but it has now ceased, thankfully. Although I’m no doctor and therefore can’t tell you why your hair in particular might be falling out, I can at least tell you what I did to cope.
Don’t freak out
Stress is a major cause of hair loss and even though it can be totally horrifying to start losing your hair, worrying about it constantly isn’t really going to help. Try to accept it for what it is and look for solutions as to what might be the cause.
Go to a doctor
Whether it’s your family doctor, a naturopath or a dermatologist, you have to try to figure out what’s going on because significant and unexplained hair loss could be indicative of something else wrong with your health. Thyroid issues run in my family so that was the first thing I got checked. When my blood work came back normal, my doctor informed me that sometimes when the body goes through a major stress or trauma, like a severe illness, you could experience hair loss three months later. Well, three months prior to this conversation, I went through a bout of dengue fever while in Cambodia, where I was sick with an incredibly high fever for about a week. So, that is a possible explanation for my hair loss. My doctor said if it didn’t stop soon, I should go to a dermatologist for further testing. Luckily, it didn’t get to that point and I’ve gone back to shedding a normal amount of hair per day.
Take extra care of your hair
Until you figure out what’s wrong or until the problem begins to resolve, treat your hair with the utmost care. Avoid styles that pull on your hair and try your best not to touch it during the day. Wear it down as often as possible because putting it up will pull it from its roots. Brush your hair with a wide-toothed comb from the bottom up after spraying in a leave in conditioner post-shower to really help slide the knots out without pulling your hair out completely. One of the main things I noticed during my weird hair cycle was that my once soft and moisturized hair had become very dry, weak and brittle. It tangled like crazy which had never been an issue before. The tangles led to huge knots that, upon trying to brush out, made even more clumps of hair come out. Oils and hair masks will help to strengthen and fortify, and ultra rich conditioners are a good idea to help combat tangles and knots.
Take extra care of yourself
Eat well, drink water, get your daily vitamins. All of this is so important for your overall health which of course, includes your hair health. Make sure you definitely get enough vitamin B and D as these will promote hair and nail strength and growth.
Try products for hair loss
There are sooooo many out there because this is such a common problem for women and can really affect self-esteem and confidence. To help stop hair fall in its tracks and give yourself a fuller looking head of hair, go with a complete shampoo/conditioner/treatment system, like those available from Toppik. Then, if you really want to up the ante on your hair health, try a nourishing supplement such as Viviscal (bonus: it’s 100 per cent drug-free!).
Consider a cut
I had chopped off all my hair a couple of years ago and then within a couple of weeks longed for my long hair again, and had been growing it ever since. But with the amount of hair fall that was happening, and the texture of my hair in serious decline, I decided to bite the bullet and go short once more. This helped my hair avoid tangling and offered a fresh, healthy start. I went to a great stylist and told her my issue so she took the extra time to examine my scalp and take note of where the bald patches were so that she could cut accordingly. She even gave me the good news that little baby hairs were starting to grow back! My short hair now looks fuller and healthier than it did when it was long, since long hair tends to show thinning more obviously. Though I miss my long hair, I’m thankful that the short cut has helped minimize the amount of tangles and knots that were pulling my hair out unnecessarily.