Saturday, September 10, 2011

"No, you can't, Mother Darling."

Like Edith Bouvier Beale (aka Little Edie) of Grey Gardens, lately I have been covering my head in scarves (or in my case, mostly snoods). For over a month, my hair has been falling out again. In late 2008/early 2009, I began losing hair at an alarming rate. Due to heredity, I have been 'blessed' with female hair loss i.e. androgenic alopecia. My grandmother, mother, and aunties have thin hair that gets seems to get worse with age.

I stopped taking the Pill in July of 2009 (I was on it for 15 years) and by early September of that year, my already-thinning hair began to shed. Plagued with worry, I went to my dermatologist who informed me that not only was I experiencing a hair shed due to hormonal changes but this loss was compounded with the fact I was in the early stages of heredity hair loss. Great.

Nevertheless, my doctor recommended Rogaine for Women (2% Monoxodil solution).  I began this treatment right away and for nearly two years, I had AMAZING results.

Despite the fact I use my Rogaine twice a day without fail, I started to lose hair again in late July. To say the least, I am devastated. I am at a loss why this is happening.

From what I have found via online searches, my recent hair loss could be stress-related or due to a synchronized hair shed (since my hair was put into an overall growing phase due to starting Rogaine two years ago). Moreover, some women experience seasonal hair sheds in the summer and/or early Fall.

I hope that my hair is just going through a synchronized hair shed phase (meaning temporary) and not because my Rogaine stopped working. If I am going bald despite my stringent Rogaine regime, I think I would just lose it.

So, I have to ask: do any of you experience seasonal or occasional hair shedding? Is this normal? And if so, how long does it last?


  1. I shed CONSTANTLY. Sometimes it's a lot and alarming, other times it's a few pieces here and there. I worry about it a lot, too, as my mother and her sister both have thinning hair. My mother's is also partially due to a hair-pulling impulse control disorder (Trichotillomania) and she has been wearing wigs for near 8 years now. They actually have some very nice styles, though nothing quite like a vintage era Middy with Betty bangs. I hope it's just seasonal, but do know that there are ways to keep yourself "covered" if you do have a major loss of your hair.

  2. Oh Tara - I am so sorry to hear you are going through this again! I would wager a guess that it's stress related, as it sounds like your life has been stressful with a capital S lately. And unfortunately hair falls out quickly but takes it's darn time growing back.
    Absolutely keep using the Rogaine, and talk to your Dermatologist. Maybe even ask them if there is someone who specializes in hair loss that would be reasonably close to travel to.
    I have to tell you that it breaks my husband's heart (he's a Dermatologist) when he has female patients with hair loss: it's emotionally devastating and the treatment options are so limited. Research money always goes to the stuff that kills people, not the stuff that makes us miserable.

  3. I am so sorry to hear you're facing this. I've been going through a very serious hair loss for the second time in my life since June. All obvious things were checked (thyroid and diet), i had no stress change in the last months and my protein levels are always at 60+ per day. I was losing hair at a very frightening rate. Now I'm having my hormone levels checked to see if that dreaded menopause is the issue. I wish I could offer you more help but I know you're already doing what you can to help your hair stay in place. Just know that you're not alone.

  4. Tara, don't be alarmed! My hairstylist says that we are like trees, we grow more hair in the spring/summer when the sun is out and shed hair in the fall when there is less sun. When the sun is out, more blood goes to our brain to keep our head cool when it is hot outside thus more hair growth. And like all the beautiful leaves at fall, our hair sheds with them too. xx.L

  5. I have had my hair get alot thinner 3 times. The first time was in about 2002 I was 21 or 22. A hairstylist told me they figured my hair got alot thinner due to stress.
    The Second time I started noticing it was alot thinner was in Dec 2009 when my hair looked absolutely sad in a braid and it's length was just below my shoulder blades. At the time I was nearing the end of Vertigo from a inner ear infection. I had the damn thing for about a year and a half and I am sure it was one of the most stressful times I have been through. I barely left the house and wanted so bad to go out and do stuff like everyone else. But I just felt like shit! I ended up chopping my hair off just under my chin.
    Now withn this past month I have been thinking my hair is less thick than it was few months back. (I don't now if you have ever heard of using virgin coconut oil) I am starting to re-do Coconut oil treatments on my hair. Oraganic coconut oil from the health food store is supposed to promote new hair growth and strengthen your existing hair so you will have less breakage. If I am gonna be at home in the morning I put it through my hair and wrap a bandana around my head. I leave it in for 1 - 2 hours and then wash it out when I shower. It really makes your hair feel alot more healthy and is probably alot better than some of the oil treatments they sell in stores. I do it once a month or every two weeks. Pretty much whenever I think is a good time to spend a couple hours being a oil head. I am going to cut my hair around 3 inches shorter sometime this week as I kind of want a slightly different look for fall. And just in case my hair is actually getting a bit thinner and I am not imagining it...

    If it is due to stress Tara, it will come back thicker. Try not to worry too much about it. Because that really woun't help your stress level.

    Do some research on coconut oil for hair if you haven't yet. You might want to try it.

  6. I really feel for you, Tara. I myself, do not have problems with hair loss, but I have a friend who does. She is a vintage hair stylist too, and is so devastated about it, as its her job to look good and have hair that will make other women want theirs done. Hers is hereditory, and she had to cut off her long hair and how has shorter styles, using hair pieces and hats to mask the effect. I really hope that it is just seasonal/stress related for you, and that you can get some new medication or treatment to improve your situation x

  7. I shed and then regrow (and have some areas with weak roots due to severe trich in the past). I found Boots regrowth regeme works well, but I don't think they sell in in the USA.

  8. Thank you, girls, for all your support and comments! I appreciate it very much!

    Katie M: My mom wears wigs too. She started losing her hair big time in her early 40s. I had tons of hair in my teens and 20s but my naturally fine hair has slowly been getting thinner and thinner. I really noticed it back in 2008 and especially in the summer of 2009. I hope this is temporary!

    Barbara: Thanks for the support! I read somewhere that people have a tendency to shed seasonally while others do not. I experienced my first shed in the summer of 1999. I was 24 and I was so upset and confused why my hair started to fall out for no apparent reason. The shedding stopped at some point and my hair got thicker again but over time, my hair has really gotten thinner. I will keep using the Rogaine and I am going to the dermatologist on the 20th. I hope he will have some explanation for all this!

    Inky: Thanks for the kind words and sharing your story! I have not eaten any kind of meat since I was 20. I was a strict vegetarian until 2009 and now I only eat tofu, seitan, soy, tempeh, along with certain varieties of fish. I also eat eggs and Greek Yogurt daily. I take a multi-vitamin that is high in B vitamins along with 5000mcg of biotin. I think I am going through my 'seasonal shed' compounded with a stress-based TE hair shed. I just hope this is temporary! I have been on Rogaine and was doing so well so I am a bit disappointed to say the least! Nevertheless, I am trying to not freak out which could make my hair worse!

    Melzaelf: I have heard amazing things about coconut oil too. I have a Whole Foods nearby so I think I will go look for some soon! I can relate about hair "looking sad in a braid!" lol! I sometimes do two pig tail braids on lazy weekend days and I am telling you, it's looks like I have toddler hair! I was once at my gym working out and I saw this older, 50-something woman lifting weights in front of me and her long hair was styled in a thick braid. It looked like a rope! There I was in my 30s with my baby kid hair pulled back in painfully thin and pathetic wispy ponytail and there she was older than me with hair that would make Rapunzel green with envy! Not fair! I found myself staring at her and I think she caught me and must of thought I was nuts!

    Clare: Thanks for the support! How lucky that you do not have hair woes! I am sorry for your stylist friends' situation. I can relate! I hope my dermatologist can shed some light on what is going on since Rogaine is supposed to be good for hair loss! I have also read that some doctors prescribe a low dose of hormone to help alleviate female hair loss. I want to know all my options before I am bald!

    Perdita: It seems that shedding is more common that I initially thought. My brother-in-law's girlfriend has thick, long hair and she says she sheds occasionally too. But my hair is fine already so a little shed really is obvious! The Rogaine was working and then out of the blue, shed like mad! I think it must be stress and my seasonal shed. Here's hoping this is all temporary!

  9. I real think you are brave for sharing this with all of us, and thank you for that.
    My best wish and hopes for the future are sent to you with love.

  10. Tallulah May Vintage Socialite: Thank you for your kind words and support. I used to feel so embarrassed when I first had to buy Rogaine at the grocery store/pharmacy. I felt like everyone in line behind me was watching! But, after a while I got over it and I do not care. I just want it to work! I just hope my dermatologist can help.

  11. Ay, amor lo siento mucho, to cuando estaba mas enferma con mis migrans, note que mi pelo se me caia mas, yo creo que tal vez era por la radiaton de los MRI. pero si es cierto somos como los gatos aveces se los cai mas el pelo.
    usa shampoo de savila natural los que venden en las tiendas naturales. y liquea sabila fresca en tu shampoo de savila. eso te ayuda a que te salga mas pelo.

    te deso lo mejor amor.

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  13. My friend Leigh is also losing her hair these days. Yeah, I think it's quite normal for ladies to lose their hair. I'm glad that Rogaine worked for you. I guess your locks are just on their regular shedding cycle. I'm pretty sure they'll be back before you even notice.

    -Tobi Fistcher