What do you do if you start losing your hair?

Hair loss is quite devastating. I don’t think it makes a difference if you are a male or female. It all depends on how you feel about your hair and, if short hair, or no hair, suits you. For me, I always think I have a rather manly face if I have very short hair so when my hair started coming out in clumps I was so worried.

hair3 To begin with, my hair loss didn’t notice as it seemed to come out quite evenly, and I was pretty confident that, although it became very thin, it would just start to grow again and never notice. I was wrong! It then started coming out around my hairline and I had very definite bald patches. I was horrified! I started asking people in the waiting room at the post transplant clinic about their hair loss, and it was a common feature among all the people I spoke to. It’s great that when you have been through a common series of treatments, everyone knows exactly what you have been through and no subject is off-limits when it comes to talking. In fact I had the waiting room laughing out loud one time with my beard growth stories! It’s funny how you can lose hair on your head yet grow a fantastic beard that would rival Father Christmas!  No-one had a definitive answer as to what to do but as it’s growing now I thought I would share some of the things I did.

You can see from this photo how far back the bald patch went. It was both sides so no hairgood for a cover up as a middle parting doesn’t suit me. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the bald patches as I was far too embarrassed.

At first I tried taking supplements. I took Biotin tablets and a general “skin, hair & nails” supplement. When you have any illness you need to check with your GP/consultant that any supplements you take don’t interfere with your medication. I also used Watermans Grow Me® shampoo and conditioner. I loved the smell of it and it left my hair beautifully soft! After a couple of months my hair still had no visible signs of growth. Looking back now I realise that it was probably far too close to the trauma of surgery and the 36 tablets/capsules of medication I was taking a day at that time. My body needed time to recover.

I continued having my hair coloured but changed to non bleach products and instead of every 6 weeks I moved to 8-10 weekly visits to my hairdresser. I’m lucky to have a hairdresser who understands what I’ve been through and why my hair is like it is. She helped advise me into cutting it shorter, putting in more layers, and colouring in such a way that my hair looked fuller than it was. Some might question why I continued with colour. Well to be honest I had researched on what other people did and I didn’t see a vast difference and, although I work from home now, I wasn’t at the time and was more on show than I am now.

The next treatment I tried was to crush Biotin tablets and add to coconut oil and rub into my hair. I left it overnight and shampooed and conditioned as usual in the morning. Again, this left my hair beautifully soft and made me feel much better and I started to see some growth.  I was still on the supplements. For any treatment I think you have to persevere for at least 6 weeks.

I asked my consultant what I could do to speed up the process and he suggested REGAINE®   for women. It’s a foam which you apply once a day. The problem I found was that it needed to be applied to the scalp and not the hair and I found it very difficult to do with a foam. It states that once you start using it, and see hair growth, you need to continue using it or the benefits will be lost. I was also worried about toxicity. I’m not saying it was toxic but I need to be very careful with anything entering my blood stream as it can damage Morgan, my transplanted kidney. I used it for a while and I feel it helped but as I didn’t plan to use it forever I decided to stop.

More lately I have been using OGX®  Biotin and Collagen Shampoo and conditioner. It’s available from most supermarkets which makes it more easily accessible. I have come off all supplements now.

My hair is now growing and is stronger. I will never know if it’s just time I needed or if anything I did worked but I’m glad I tried them all.

I have what most people after hair loss have……the new hair has come back wavy! I can now see that I lost hair all over my head. I have a little Mohican going on at my crown (great huh?). I already had a cows lick hairline so with the new hairline growth I now have a very sticky out wavy bit! My wonderful hairdresser, Chloe, has taught me how to use hairgrips to hold this wavy part of my hair out-of-the-way so it looks better.  Simply take a small strand of it and twist it, incorporate a little more (like you would with a plait) until you have it all and then put the hair grip in facing towards your hairline. Like this…..

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I think it covers that patch well! I’m sure it can be done neater than I do it but it still looks great!

So now I feel that I’m finally out the other side. It’s taken nearly 2 years. I must admit than when you go for a transplant you are not warned about the many side effects that it carries. I guess the gift of life is far more important, and it’s really insignificant given the larger picture. I feel that everyone thinks that a transplant is a cure (it isn’t, it’s another form of treatment) so it’s assumed that I am now better and so they wouldn’t expect any side effects. If I mention my hair loss to anyone the usual answer is “but you look so much better in yourself so don’t worry”. I do worry though……I think most people do.

If your hair loss is greater than mine then it’s worth getting a good wig. Go to a proper wig maker and then get it styled properly so you get the best look. These days wigs are great and a lot of people use them as fashion accessories so no one will even think about it. I found a great fb page called Hair Necessity. It’s aimed at women with alopecia. The lady that runs that page, Rebecca, is inspirational! If you are looking for comfort and inspiration then it’s a great place to start even if you are a man.

As for me. This is my hair now. I still need to grow it out more to stop my wavy bits (it’s been straightened in this photo) but, I finally have reached a point where I’m happy with it. This is mostly thanks to Chloe at Hair L’Amour.

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I’m off to sort out my beard now so I’ll catch up later…….if you have any ideas or help for myself or others going through this then don’t forget to leave a comment. It would be lovely to hear from you x

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