This is a very difficult post to write, but here goes… The story of my extreme hair loss.
I’ve always been the one with the hair. ‘Charlene? Oh, the one with the big, bushy curly hair.’ That’s how people have always known me.
My hair has always defined me. Even when I hated my hair as a child. I fell in love with my curls when I was about 20 and I have embraced my big hair ever since. God blessed me with a gorgeous head of hair.
My hair was always there for me. It may sound silly to some, but no matter whether I was fat or thin, whether my skin was pimply or clear, I always had my hair. Until recently…
2016 is year that I would love to forget. On a few occasions I felt that my worst nightmare was coming true – losing the people closest to me. I thank God that it didn’t happen, but the shock and stress of seeing loved ones ill and in terrible pain took its toll. I bottled up all the hurt and the fear and my body just couldn’t take it.
My extreme hair loss story
In November 2016 I noticed that I was starting to lose more hair than usual.
I wasn’t too worried at that stage, but with every wash the loss started to increase. I didn’t want to talk about it as everyone’s reaction was the same… ‘Charlene, you put your hair through too much’. I was having fun with my hair in 2016. I went from blonde, to denim, to various shades of blue and purple, and my goal was to get the perfect shade of grey. I know it sounds hectic, but I was in good hands. Tosca Tygervalley was taking very good care of my hair as I was going for regular treatments and they made sure my hair was protected against damage every time we bleached. So that was most definitely not the reason.
The loss became more drastic. It got to a point were I couldn’t wash my hair without bursting into tears. People still tried to convince me that it wasn’t that bad; telling me that they also lose a lot of hair. Then I showed them this:
If that is not extreme hair loss, I don’t know what is.
This was the amount of hair that I was losing with every wash (every second day). Even more hair would fall out during the styling process. It’s very hard to look at that picture. It was truly devastating. It still is. Here I was losing the one thing that gave me confidence. The one thing about my appearance that I was actually proud of. The one thing that made me feel good about who I was on the outside.
My hair also changed from soft and shiny, to hard, brittle and dull. Almost overnight.
Then I noticed that my hair was breaking. Most of the hair on my crown was only about 5cms long.
My hair was thinning all over and my was scalp was starting to show.
I totally freaked out. I had no idea what to do or how to handle the situation. My hair was falling out from the root and those that stayed put were breaking off.
I then reached out to the kind people at the Skin Renewal. They helped me to lose a lot of weight last year ( I took part in the Slender Challenge) and I knew that they would be able to help me. The hair loss started shortly after the challenge, and ja, let’s just say that my dear old friend, comfort food, found me again in that difficult time and all my hard work went down the drain. But that’s a chat for another time.
Dr. Graham Duncombe phoned me on a Friday afternoon and we had a long chat.He was so sweet and assured me that they would help me get to the root of the problem (I know, I know!). He sent me for blood tests and we scheduled an appointment for me to see him at Skin Renewal Willowbridge.
In short, the blood tests revealed that my thyroid wasn’t working quite as it should and that iron and Vit B12 levels were not close to what they should be.
Dr Duncombe put me on a course of Metagenics supplements to up my iron levels and to support my thyroid function. I also immediately started on a course of Vit B injections.
After only a week the daily loss was dramatically reduced! I couldn’t believe my eyes. The treatment was working.
Unfortunately, the loss and breakage have not stopped completely. I know that this is a process and that it will take time. I’m just not sure how much time I have left before there is hardly anything left.
I have tried caffeine shampoos, serums, oils, etc but I have yet to find something that really makes a difference.
I may have found a product that does work though! I have been using Resulté Anti-Hair Loss Tonic and Hair Growth Booster for a few weeks now and I think that it’s working. It looks and feels as though my hair is slowly starting to grow back as I can see fine, short hair on the hairline. Fingers crossed!! I’ll let you know how it goes and post a full review after a couple of months.
For now, this is me:
I took these pics yesterday morning. I just got out of the shower so please excuse what I look like.
I am desperate. The little hair I have left is dry and brittle and it seems to have lost its curl. I haven’t been able to wear my hair loose since November last year. I have to tie it up in the hopes that you can’t see what it really looks like.
I have lost about 2/3 of my hair.
Let me put it in perspective: An Invisibobble used to go around my ponytail twice, now it goes around 4 times.
I’m telling you my story in the hopes that it reaches someone who’s going through the same thing. You are not alone! I’ve realised that people don’t really talk about female hair loss. Extreme hair loss is devastating, I know, but the only way we can find solutions and help each other, is if we talk about it. We shouldn’t hide it. If you have any tips for me, I’d appreciate it!
There are multiple reasons for hair loss and mine was caused by stress and trauma and my body couldn’t handle it all. I am thankful for Dr. Duncombe’s advice to go for blood tests. If I didn’t go, I may have been worse off now (not just talking about my hair).
So what am I doing about my extreme hair loss?
For now I’m taking my supplements, using Resulté Anti-hair loss Tonic morning and night and using Batiste Dry Shampoo in Dark Brown to try and cameoflage the areas where my scalp is visible. And praying.
I’ll let you know how it goes…