You may not know me, but I've been sitting in my various offices writing about consumer hair and beauty related topics since the mid-1990s, when I first founded The Long Hair Video website.
When that first site on the Internet turned out to be seriously flawed, I regrouped. In 1997 I officially launched Hairboutique.com, which was one of the first consumer-focused sites on the web.
Over the many years since the mid-1990s, with my entry into consumer hair issues, I discovered the most important secret about women's hair loss.
The secret? Every woman struggling with hair loss, regardless of the type or duration, needs to understand that it's her journey alone.
Only you can find the answers and solutions you seek.
Yes, there are many resources to help you, but at the end of the day, only you can find the resolutions that give you comfort and peace.
What I realized from the time I started my hair related first website until I relaunched it as Hairboutique.com was that every man, woman, and child on the planet deals with a wide array of hair-related issues.
Since 1997 I have been researching and writing about hair. For the past 25 years, I have dedicated a large part of my life to consumer hair and beauty issues.
I've also written for many hair and lifestyle-related publications. For the past 10 years, I've been hanging out on Quora.com, where I've written thousands of answers about hair than I care to think about.
Many of them have been about women's hair loss because that is a topic near and dear to my heart.
Although I've written about every imaginable Do-It-Yourself (DIY) consumer hair topic under the sun, I also write about serious topics such as hair loss and related issues.
I had my very first experience with hair loss at seven years of age.
Of course, I didn't know what was happening at the time. My aunt, who was a professional hairdresser, sounded the family alarm.
But she didn't know I had experienced a life-threatening family-related trauma that triggered major mental, emotional and physical stress.
A few weeks after the trauma occurred, my normally thick hair started falling out in handfuls. My aunt expressed concern that I was losing so much hair at such an early age,
No one seemed to have the answers. How could a seven-year-old girl be losing mounds of hair?
It was too early for puberty. I wasn't taking any medications, and from the outside looking in, my life seemed happy.
Eventually, my hair grew back to the same thickness, and even though the trauma continued in my life, the shedding was forgotten.
The multi-pronged traumas I endured in my private home life continued to escalate. I developed bulimarexia, an eating disorder that cycled through starvation, purging, and binging.
One day when I was fifteen, I'd had enough and escaped out the basement door.
Running away was incredibly scary, but I had secured a part-time job and a couch to surf on. Although I often didn't have enough food to eat and constantly worried about being homeless, I managed to survive the experience mostly intact.
My hair did not.
Even though I'd made it through puberty without any problems, at the ripe age of 15, I once again left a trail of hair everywhere I went.
It became very noticeable. I constanly worried about my hair clogging up the shower drain of the kind person I was staying with.
Once again, I didn't know why my hair was falling out in clumps.
In the grand scheme of my life, it seemed like the lesser of all evils.
Yes, the combination of a serious eating disorder with the ongoing emotional trauma and running away from home triggered another bought of Telogen Effluvium (TE).
The second phase of my escape from traumatic early home life was to get married while I was still in my teens.
I managed to get a prescription for birth control pills, which I didn't understand could also trigger hair loss. The combination of getting married way too young, working full-time jobs while I pursued my degree, and the pill tripped the hair loss switch once again.
After losing hair from the birth control pills, I switched to other forms of protection.
Like every other TE-triggered hair loss cycle, my hair eventually grew back, but I noticed it was not growing back as thick as it had been in previous incarnations.
I researched many different hair vitamins and a dizzying array of hair growth pills, potions, and treatments to nudge my hair back to its previous lushness.
Over the years, a series of different life events continued to trigger TE shedding.
Eventually, when my thyroid started to malfunction, my endocrinologist kindly sat me down and explained that I had Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE).
He took the time and ordered all the lab testing until he worked up a great plan of treatment that included spironolactone, thyroid meds, and low anagen birth control pills. My hair grew back to an age-appropriate thickness.
Another important secret I learned about women's hair loss is that no two women are alike. What works for one woman may not work for others.
We are all as unique as our bodies.
I learned that my ongoing hair loss cycles, which started for me at age seven and continues into present times, was part of my own personal life journey.
It's frightening in today's world with all the constant and intense scrutiny, rampant criticism, bullying, and prejudices to find a safe place to land.
I'm grateful that I did find peace and acceptance and learned to love my body and hair exactly as it needs to be.
I still honor and support any women who want to fight and search for different hair loss solutions. Acceptance is not for everyone, and the good fight must be honored as well.
Acceptance is not the only answer,. It's not right for everyone all the time. What's right is what feels good to you in your life and in your own skin, .
There is so much misinformation that can lead you down the garden path. In the end, you still don't have the solution you feel you need, but you've lost a ton of money.
Or cried a lot of tears, or both.
Many years ago, I had to decide what I was going to do about my own hair journey.
After many years (on and off) of great therapy with Betty Erickson (daughter of Milton Erickson), I had developed the courage to honor my own journey.
I've also worked on myself through daily meditation, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT tapping), rolfing, acupuncture and yoga,
It took some committment, but I also worked on listening deeply to my inner voices and loving myself unconditionally.
What has helped me find peace, acceptance, and a deep comfort with my hair and my ongoing Telogen Effluvium works for me, but it might not work for anyone else.
It's my hair, it's my life, and I have to live with whatever decisions I make for myself about my hair.
The same is true of every single woman who is struggling with any type of ongoing hair loss issue.
One of my favorite life sayings is that knowledge is power.
Whether it's finding a great dermatologist, gynecologist, hair restoration surgeon, or endocrinologist (my own savior), start at the beginning of your hair loss journey with as much knowledge as you can.
Find a doctor you resonate with and totally trust. You must have the right chemistry with your chosen hair loss physician. You need to feel safe asking important questions about your options for short, medium, and long-range hair loss solutions.
There are many options for women struggling with hair loss these days. It's a horrible experience and a gut punch to the mind and spirit, as well as the body.
Hair has always been so important to women as a source of beauty, sexiness, confidence, and self-esteem. It's hard to lose it.
I understand the feelings because I have walked the walk.
There are no right or wrong decisions for any woman dealing with hair loss.
The right answer is the one that she feels is best for her. Whether it means fighting tooth and nail with the latest medications, non-surgical treatments, or even investigating hair restoration surgery, I applaud her.
If a woman wants to shave her head or invest in gorgeous wigs instead, either decision is incredibly awesome.
One great thing every woman dealing with hair loss should consider is embracing self-love and compassion. Yes, it's easy to say and sometimes much harder to do.
Practice treating yourself with the love, acceptance, and compassion you would show your loved ones or best friends.
In a new study in Health Psychology, women who learned to show themselves true acceptance and compassion had a lower risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, or other illnesses.
Listen when your body speaks to you. Speak back nicely with love and kindness, rather than criticism and anger over your hair loss situation.
Be willing to flip your script.
There's always the opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons.
Maybe you decide to accept your hair loss but find a new tribe of friends who are dealing with similar issues. Just imagine the unconditional love and support you can gain from such a circle.
Or maybe you learn to enjoy shaving your head or wearing wigs. Or use the time you spent trying to camouflage your hair loss with other enjoyable activities?
Remember, no two women are the same. Their hair loss journey is also not the same. The most important secret about women's hair loss is to claim your own knowledge and power.
Make the decisions that are best for you and your body.
Be true to yourself and your own personal hair loss journey. Own it, claim it and live it for yourself.Best wishes.
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