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Natural hair

My hair loss story and how I am dealing with alopecia

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Are you struggling with your natural hair growth because you are experiencing hair loss? Does this situation leave you with so much frustration? If you are reading this article, then you know you have landed in the right place.

In my previous article I shared about my natural hair journey and how I turned to Ayurvedic hair care to solve my hair loss issues. 

First of let me tell you that to every problem there is a solution. But before we find a solution to our hair issues, let us dive into what causes us to have thinning hair or hair loss.

In this post, we will discuss the different types of hair loss and their causes and available treatments and remedies.

Different types of natural hair loss

According to the American hair loss association, any form of hair loss is categorized as alopecia.  However, Alopecia can be experienced in many forms such as:

Telogen effluvium

This occurs when the number of number of hair follicles that produce hair drop significantly for any reason during the resting, or telogen phase, and remain dormant for a period of time, leading to hair loss. The hair follicles are not permanently or irreversibly affected. The hair will generally grow back after a period of time.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the hair to come out in clumps. Some people experience hair loss in a few spots, while others have small bald patches on the scalp that may grow back or may grow larger in some spots.

Alopecia totalis

This conditions occurs when the hair loss covers the entire scalp.

Alopecia Universalis

This condition affects the entire body, including the scalp, eyebrows, lashes, beard, pubic hair, and any other part of the body.

Alopecia Barbae

This condition occurs especially in men,  when alopecia attacks only the beard, leaving small bald patches.

Androgenic/androgenetic alopecia

This is a common form of hair loss in both men and women. In men, hair is usually lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples and is usually referred to as male-pattern baldness. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic ‘M’ shape. Hair also thins near the top of the head, often progressing to partial or complete baldness. The pattern of hair loss in women differs from men (female pattern hair loss). In women, the hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede.

Cicatricial alopecia or Scarring alopecia

The hair follicles are completely destroyed causing permanent hair loss and tissue scarring under the skin.

Congenital Hypotrichosis

a condition of no hair growth. Unlike alopecia, which describes hair loss where formerly there was hair growth, hypotrichosis describes a situation where there wasn’t any hair growth in the first place. It is a condition that affect individuals right from birth and usually stay with them throughout their lives.

Traction alopecia

Hair loss can occur as a result of infectious agents that cause fungal infections on the scalp and affect hair growth. Some of these fungal infections include but are not limited to:

Ringworm

Ringworm is an infectious skin condition and when it  develops on the scalp it can cause patches of hair loss. The fungus gets into the hair fibers In the affected area and these hairs become brittle and break off easily leaving a bald patch of skin

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common skin condition that is due to inflammation of the hair follicles. This condition is usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection as little rings of inflammation surround the opening of the hair follicle causing therefore hair loss.

Causes of alopecia

Hair loss or alopecia have many causes. It is sometimes difficult to diagnose one single root cause of hair loss as most causes are often interrelated.

Traumatic events

Events such as child birth as well crash diets, physical trauma such as being in a car crash, and having surgery can be triggering factors for alopecia as they can cause the hair follicles to shut down for a while.

Medical conditions

Health issues such hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland, diabetes, lupus, anemia, iron deficiency, and thyroid diseases can contribute to hair loss.

Medications

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment may experience hair loss. In most cases, the patients regrow their hair when they stop the treatment.

Genetics

Genetic predisposition is one factor that contributes to hair loss in men and women. According to medical studies, hair loss can be hereditary as the genes for hair loss har passed down by parents.

Stress

Stress coupled with anxiety contribute widely to hair loss in men and women. High levels of cortisol are associated with increased stress . When a person is under stress, the cortisol levels increase sending the hair into the

Emotional stress such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, sudden unemployment can contribute to hair loss.

Hormonal imbalance

An increase and decrease in hormones can contribute to hair loss. Women who are in the age of menopause particularly experience hair loss as they have high levels of estrogens. For men the reduction in the production of testosterone contributes to hair loss.

Vitamins and minerals deficiency 

Iron deficiency is common in women due to menstruation. Women who have heavy and prolonged menstruation are at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anemia and since the iron levels are not adequately replenished, this in turn affects your health and leads to hair thinning/hair loss. This condition is very common in Black women in the US and women in developing countries.Uterine Fibroids and endometriosis can also cause iron deficiency anemia in women.

Poor diet 

The normal daily protein requirements for an adult 40-60g of protein per day. Diet that lack a amount of protein will 

Protein can be found in both animals and plants such as chicken, seafood, pork, beef, eggs, as well as dairy products like cheese, and yogurt. plant sources of protein include legumes (beans) like soybeans, lentils, nuts, seeds, as well as vegetables like peas, asparagus, kale, alfalfa, and broccoli.

Hairstyles

In black women or women of Afro descent, traction alopecia is caused by tension on the hair strand which is due mostly to the wearing of tight and prolonged hairstyles such as braids, weaves and wigs.

How I am treating my alopecia

My story

After giving birth in 2017, I started experiencing postpartum shedding and hair loss which I thought will go away on its own. But after seeing my hair thinning out months after months in 2018 due to a combination of factors:  hormonal imbalance, stress and iron deficiency anemia, I realized that this situation will not go away until I find a solution. After seeking medical help towards the end of 2020, I am finally on the journey of regrowing my hair. 

What I am doing to regrow my hair

I have been following these simple steps and routine and if you are also experiencing hair loss and hair thinning, these will help you too.

  1. Reduce stress

The first solution to treat hair loss or alopecia is to eliminate any form of stress which is important as stress increases the cortisol levels and high cortisol levels in turn affect the function and cyclic regulation of the hair follicle. You can read more here on the link between stress, cortisol levels and hair loss

  1. Seek medical help

It is necessary to seek medical help when you notice signs of hair loss. It took me a long time to realize this but seeing a dermatologist last year was a major change because I also discovered that I had scalp fungus and was a given a special shampoo to address the itchy scalp that I have and I was prescribed a hydrocortisone as a topical solution which is helping grow hair in the bald patches.

  1. Establish a routine

The first thing I did was to determine what works for your hair, what products are good for your hair and not.

  1. Use Ayurvedic remedies

The use of natural remedies are the best as they can provide the expected results without the side effects of Western drugs. Ayurvedic herbs contain vitamins and minerals that strengthening the roots of the hair, thus contributing to more resistant hair strands.

I have been using Ayurvedic herbs since 2018 but was inconsistent in my Ayurvedic practices but towards the last part of 2020, I became consistent by creating Ayurvedic recipes such as hair masks, deep conditions, shampoos, hair growth oil and balm to strengthen and regrow my hair.

Ayurvedic herbs such as Amla, Bhringraj, Shikaikai, Reetha, Neem, Curry leaves, Aloe Vera, Fenugreek, 

  1. Eat a healthy your diet and exercise

A diet that is poor in proteins and fibers leads to increased hair loss.

Your diet and food habits are a major factor in achieving hair growth. Getting regular exercise will help you manage stress and focus on other positive things

  1. Take multivitamins

Taking multivitamins is very important especially for women above 40. Multivitamins contain important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and D, biotin, iron , zinc and collagen that provide your skin and air with the needed nutrients for growth.

  1. Use caffeine

Caffeine is found in coffee, green tea and black tea. Caffeine prolongs the growth cycle by blocking the effects of DHT, the hormone responsible for damaged follicle and hair loss. Adding caffeine to your shampoos, DIY hair masks and hair growth oil, as a natural treatment for hair loss.

  1. Exercise patient 

Regrowing your natural hair after hair loss is not magic and it takes time to see results especially if the hair loss has been going on for a long period of time. 

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice but for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.

Hair loss or alopecia can happen to anyone. It is important to seeking help when you notice the first signs of loss. Are you experiencing alopecia, what are you doing to regrow your hair? Share your tips with us.

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