Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hair: It's Not Just a Musical

I started losing my hair because of a condition called Telogen Effluvium four years ago when my brother passed away. A close friend noticed first. I brushed it off (pun intended) as temporary but after years of continuous loss--literal in a variety of forms--my hair kept gradually falling out. Sometimes just a bit, other times in clumps. Trauma is a main cause of this condition but the triggers vary:

  • major physical trauma
  • major psychological trauma
  • iron deficiency
  • hormonal changes
  • extreme weight loss
I was officially diagnosed by a dermatologist in Charlottesville, Virginia who didn't think I had any issues until she really started to look through my scalp (of course, being a Web MD addict, I had already diagnosed myself). 

When I was younger, I was always known for my hair. I rarely cut it, mainly due to laziness, and it was long and thick and simply different than everyone else. 

Although this particular issue wasn't age related for me, many aging women start to lose their hair. This is what I have done to combat the problem:

1. I started cutting my hair shorter. 

When the hair thins, the longer it is, the more stringy and sparse it appears, so I started keeping my hair like most people should keep their stated opinion: short and simple. Not only do I enjoy a short hairstyle because of low maintenance and less product, but I also started to cut it myself. The first time, I trimmed it a bit and layered it and it turned out very well so the second time I cut it, I really went for it. What was the worst that could happen? Now my haircut is free and my hair looks fuller.

2. Explore different hair products. 

Because of my involvement with Swagbucks, I was able to try Wen products through a sixty day free trial. Wen has a money back guarantee--even if the bottles are empty.You will see more than a few bad reviews about Wen however, my impression of the negative reviews pertaining to erroneous charges is that people just don't know how to manage the program. You can order it online without even speaking to a representative and choose how often they replenish your order. It's not difficult at all if you're paying attention. 

Everyone has different reactions to hair products. At first, I thought it made my hair too greasy but then I realized that I wasn't rinsing properly. It's not like regular shampoo, it's closer to massaging your scalp with conditioner. 

I believe it does clean your hair better because I could go two days without washing my hair and it still looked acceptable. I felt good about the level of moisture since I tend to have an oily scalp but dry ends--even when it's first cut. It also smells good and the lavender and mint aroma was spot-on and I felt that the tingle stimulated my hair follicles. I used to add peppermint to my shampoo since this is another recommendation for women with hair loss. 

To stretch the product even further, I used Biotera dry hair shampoo between washes. It adds lift, which is what you need--extra volume. Look into products that promise volume, lift, and fullness and do your research. 

There are other products on the market like Rogaine for women and Joan River's Great Hair Day (which I can't help find amusing) but know the potentially adverse affects for both your head and your wallet. 

3. Create a New Personality

Personally, I've always worn hats. My mother has always been jealous about that aspect of my life. She felt that her nose was too big to wear a hat and some women who are not used to wearing something on their head could feel the same. If you don't like drawing attention to yourself, any new "look" can feel intimidating. But the aging process is also about reinventing yourself so if you're having an issue with thinning hair, why not take a new risk and discover a new you?

Honestly, I have to wear hats now because so much of my scalp is exposed to sunlight that I burn very easily and the last thing you want is a red, splotchy scalp to add to your issues. I have a collection of hats and because I feel most comfortable being casual, I wear my cowboy hat or baseball cap the most,

Here I am in Richmond with my short haircut and cowboy hat. I'm feeling confident and I'm not worried about a thing except going to see the recent exhibit at VMFA that celebrates beauty. 

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