This #curltalk session is one which is both embarrassing and hard for me to talk about. As girls, being attractive and feeling confident are important things. Finding things which are associated with not, can be hard.
If you have read my blog posts before, you may remember I did one about edges and growing them back. It turns out, that it is something more than just thinning edges.
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system attacks your hair follicles by mistake, which is where our hair growth begins. The damage is thankfully not usually permanent and there are things that can be done to help, but not cure.
It is unknown why the immune system attacks these hair follicles.
There is more than one symptom which can be seen when it comes to this type of alopecia.
- Hair may fall out in clumps.
- This hair usually grows back in a few months.
- The patches are smooth, round and hairless.
- The hair may break off and leave little stubs or “exclamation mark hair”
- In very rare cases this can turn into complete hair loss.
The hair loss comes and goes and usually grows back within several months. There are only 10% of people who this does not happen for, which is quite a low number. You are more at risk of the hair loss being permanent if:
- You have a family history of alopecia
- You have had the condition from a young age
- Have another autoimmune disease (such as under/overactive thyroid)
About a year ago, I started to notice that I had a bald patch on my temples on my right side. It made me very self-conscious and I would hide it with headbands and bandannas, in the hope that no one would see it. It just got worse.
I’m one of those people who never go to the doctors because they always end up sticking needles in me. I am currently under 3 different clinics constantly being signed off and back on, and it has been this way for years. First, because my periods vanished, then because they diagnosed me with a form of arthritis. It just goes on and on.
Instead, I decided to bring it up at my next salon visit. All 3 stylists took a look, feeling the area and asking me questions. Do I tie my hair up often? Do I tie it tightly? The answer to these was all no.
Yes for years I would scrape my hair back into a tight bun, but it has been a year and a half since this was my go to. First, they thought it looked like traction alopecia, which is caused by tight hairstyles etc anything pulling on these edges. After a while, the lady who owns the salon said it looks more like alopecia areata more than anything else. She checked all of my head and said it seems like I have one patch on the back of my head, and then what looks like 2 together or 1 big one on my right temple. She could not find any more.
I started using castor oil on my hair nightly and taking hair vitamins, and the hair did grow back slowly. Last month, however, I noticed that it is worse than it has ever been.
The reason it is happening to me is down to my thyroid. I have always had issues with this being under active and then being fine by the next blood test, which means that the doctors will not prescribe me thyroid medication. I know when it is under active based on how I feel. I have been very run down lately and had issues with my appetite and my weight.
Seeing how big the patch on my right temple has become, and finding another on my left temple and one on the back of my head (this one the salon found), has knocked my confidence down so much.
I have been on this healthy, natural hair journey for the past 10 months, and my hair has never looked and felt any better. To find bald patches right at the front of my head has sent me down a lot.
I have luckily been able to come up with some homemade tricks which have helped me at least hide them, but I know they do not deal with the problem.
I use an eyebrow pomade in the same color as my hair roots, and with a brush, I fill this gap in. That way if I do need to tie my hair up, it is hidden. I also got bangs cut in so that I can keep the hair pulled down over them.
None of this solves the issue of the hair loss, and the only thing keeping me sane at the moment is the knowledge that it will grow back again soon. It is literally an up and down battle! Some months I’m fine, some I am not.
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As a woman, my hair is important to me. The idea that I may lose more of it is a scary one. I already have enough medical conditions related to women a lot older than 26, I don’t need this to add onto it.
I am trying to get another doctors appointment as my thyroid test is due again, I have this every 3 months and every month it is different.
I only wear my hair up if I am going to work or to bed, and only in satin scrunchie which I tie around my hair once. I try to stay away from headbands now, as I know now from research and speaking with my salon, that this could have made it worse by pulling on the area more.
If you are worried about hair loss and alopecia, please please speak to someone about it. A doctor, a salon anyone. I tried to speak to friends and family about mine and they all told me I was imagining it, you can’t see it and that everyone has thinner hair there. I knew something wasn’t right, and I am glad I spoke up.
I’m a little worried about putting these photos out there on the Internet, but I feel like if I had read a blog post like this, I wouldn’t feel so ashamed and alone in it, and I hope that I can help reassure someone.
Have you experienced any types of alopecia or hair loss? Please comment below!
This article is originally from www.candicurls.com
I’m Candi and I am a curly hair blogger from Manchester, UK. I blog about hair products reviewing them on my website, Youtube, and Instagram. It took me years to learn to love my natural hair and now that I do, I hope to help others to start their healthy hair journey and love.