Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baldness. The Embarassing Truth Before Regrowth.

Three years ago I took a family picture.  My hair was starting to thin, but I managed to hide a lot of the loss with the volume that was otherwise made up by my naturally curly hair.  I got away with it for some time.
However, due to stress (another post entirely) and post baby hormones, my hair started falling out to the point that I was looking like a drown rat.  The length was still there, but I was looking like a homeless, scraggly mess.  I first realized this when one of my children took a picture of me from behind and I saw the gaping holes in my hair.  I lost my patience with myself and took a pair of scissors and chopped off the length of skinny pony tail I had left.  The next day I went to my friend and professional hairdresser who had to try to fix my compulsive moment of frustration.

I was hoping with short hair that perhaps I could get some of the volume back.  I tried taking high doses of biotin and rubbed jojoba oil into my hair to clean out the follicles.  My hair continued to fall out and now my shorter cut was no longer able to mask my onward march toward baldness. 

I'm not normally a very vain or high maintenance person, but female baldness is beyond even my threshold for feeling good about myself.  Summer of 2014 rolled around and I had precious little hair left. 

I started researching hair loss causes, solutions and had to wade through a lot of commercialized hype.  Anything that sounded fantastic would be revealed as a complete fraud on an independent review outside of the promotional website. 

Let me cut to the chase.  There is a hormone called DHT that is primarily responsible for hair loss.  Dihydrotestosterone (commonly abbreviated to DHT), or 5α-dihydrotestosterone.  Do you see the testosterone that is involved in that name?  I'll let your imaginations go wild and place the blame  as you will.  (As a side note: this was AFTER my stress was managed through homeopathic, natural means because stress, when unchecked, can lead to autoimmune disorders where hair loss is one of the side effects).

I found two products that were highly rated on Amazon from people who had actually used them.  One was a caffeine shampoo made by Ultrax.  Another was a generic herbal supplement (Saw Palmetto) that, based on my research, was an effective and natural DHT blocker.  I did try some of the specific DHT blocker mixes (Ultrax Hair Maxx) but I ran out quickly and for the price, it didn't seem worthwhile if my much cheaper Saw Palmetto accomplished the same thing.


I took some before pictures on August 30, 2014 with some confidence that I would have some results to compare within a few weeks.  A little more than a week later (Sept 8, 2014) I saw some of the immediate growth that had been reported by other users. 

WoW!  It was like I had a whole new crop of bangs coming in!  I knew that it was working!

One note about the Ultrax shampoo:  As a shampoo, it really stinks.  It doesn't foam up and clean unless you use a LOT.  With the price of it being nearly $50 for a puny little bottle, it's not something that I want to have to use a lot of each time.  So I would wash my hair with my normal shampoo to get it clean and then use a single pump of the expensive Ultrax shampoo and it would foam up and get distributed throughout my hair much better.  I'd let it sit for as long as possible to make sure that I was getting the most benefit. 

I kept taking the Saw Palmetto both morning and night and using the caffeine shampoo.  The more expensive Ultrax DHT-blocker mixed vitamin ran out within a month, but I didn't get any more due to the price.  I figured if I saw any negative effects or hair loss I could always get more.  But things kept chugging right along just using the Saw Palmetto as my DHT blocker.

I took the kids to the Exploritorium for a fun Science field trip in January.  While there I climbed into their triangular mirror exhibit.  I saw the back of my head for the first time in months.  I was AMAZED!  I didn't see my scalp, but my hair had actually filled in and looked full.  Hallelujah!  So four and a half months after I had begun the regimen, on January 11, 2015, I took a second set of pictures. 


If you notice, my hairline regrew, whereas before it was VERY receded.  The hair looks thicker and my scalp was not showing through.  I took both set of pictures with wet hair right combed back so that my curls wouldn't mask what was going on. 

I've kept up the process with Saw Palmetto and the caffeine shampoo and at this point I'm just working on getting my length back.  When I comb my hair now the pick drags quite a bit more through the new thickness. 

There is a prophecy from Isaiah about the daughters of Zion having baldness instead of well set hair.  Before I found a solution to my hair loss I felt rather like I was personally fulfilling the prophecy.  But I know I'm not the only one who may have this problem.  So as embarrassing as it is to post this for the whole world to see, I feel obligated to share this with my sisters who may also be experiencing this very embarrassing affliction.  I have gained so much from all that you share.  This is me paying it back. 

As a recap, here is a progression of regrowth side by side: