Androgenetic Alopecia: My Story

As a kid, I had thick wavy, fluffy, frizzy, hair…of the like to make many a Hula-dancer jealous. It was so thick, it would cause random moments of spontaneous sling-shotting of my heavy-duty rubber hair ties. I always envied my friends with long, thin, straight hair, who could just wake up, wash, and go. Alas….my mornings were filled with buckets of conditioner, hair-detanglers, handfuls of mousse, and a 1 hour blow drying session. That is…until I reached my thirties.

After my second child was born, I noticed extra hair shedding with showers. This post bathing scene became an ode to washing a rather large Chewbacca in my home. Yet, I wasn’t so bothered by this, as I knew telogen effluvium (all over hair loss due to physical/mental stressor) was common after birth. Plus, I had plenty of hair to spare, if it thinned a little, it would just shave a few minutes off my blow-drying time (which was a plus).

Surprisingly, the shedding never stopped. After many years, my hair had whittled down to requiring the mini-ponytail holders, with no fear of it snapping. It was then I began to envision the screen show of my hair memories with old adages of elders flashing across the screen. “One day you’re gonna wish you had all that hair.” And I did wish what I never wished before…to have all my wavy, fluffy, frizzy, hair back where it belonged….ON MY HEAD!

So what was I to do? I thought for sure that something was wrong. I felt a bit tired and had gained some weight, maybe I was hypothyroid. I had my health care provider run the usual lab work, lest ferritin, iron, thyroid, etc. were all normal. Woe was me. It was then I accepted my destiny, that being the genetic progeny of a mother who once had the same thick hair as a child, and then suffered from androgenetic alopecia as an adult, such was my destiny. BUT…..I worked in the field, I could research and figure this out. I knew I may never have the head of hair from my past, but I could do things to halt the shedding and even re-sprout some of those still active, but sleepy hair follicles. The mission was on… to find out what actually worked and I was the guinea pig in my own little research study.

I started with Biotin (5,000 mcg per day). After taking this vitamin for a good 6-8 months, I didn’t notice much difference. Yet this supplement is one that is vastly recommended as a hair loss aid, although studies advise most people efficiently obtain this vitamin in a normal diet. Alas, then it was time to bring out the big guns and use something with known science to back up its claims. I started a faithful scalp dabbing of Rogaine solution twice a day. Verdict: it was mildly helpful and I noticed less hair loss in the shower. However, I wanted to see greater results.

As I know many OTC treatments are lacking in research, approaching the multitude of shelf products for hair-loss was a bit overwhelming. I understood how one could get lost in the mumbo-jumbo of marketing. Yet, being privy to treating many patients with the same disorder, I gleaned some vital information. Those who seemed to have hair regrowth raved about a supplement called Viviscal. I heard the name enough to intrigue my interest and thought there was no harm in giving it a try. In the same instance, I enacted full force stimulating suds by adding Pura D’Or shampoo to my follicular bathing regimen (which I used every other day or so). I also kept the Rogaine at a 3 x a week regimen and minor hair trims every 3-6 months. By month three, I saw marked improvement. The routine shower-wall-hair-cling was only enough to knit a baby mouse toy versus my human hair rabbit of the past! Yes! Finally!

Reaping the rewards of time, effort, and money well spent, I have continued this regimen, through the eight month course that brings me to present day. My hair is actually growing longer, getting stronger, and thicker at the roots. However, I understand that my results are still in mid-phase. I expect over the next year, for the new and improved root hair to finally extend towards mid mark length, thereby enhancing the fullness, while the wispy strands slowly grow away.

I recognize that my hair will never be in its glory of my younger years. As such, one must accept that aging changings many components of your body, and it is what it is. Nonetheless, when the storm troopers come knocking on my shower door asking for Chewbacca, I’m just gonna tell em, “Sorry, he doesn’t live here anymore!”

*Hair loss can be very stressful for those experiencing it. I hope that by providing this blog and the previous hair loss blogs, that those of you who are in the same situation, will find some hope, understanding, and treatments that really help.*

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