Beauty, Lifestyle

Women and Hair loss: A silent personal stigma

By Khadija Hussein Pothi

A lot of women suffer from this problem, and it silently impacts our daily lives by increasing stress, affecting our self-esteem and ultimately our social interactions. We as women need to feel beautiful when we look at ourselves in the mirror, and hair is an important element of our body that defines us as women and accentuates our beauty, hence the need to preserve it and maintain it at all costs.

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Recently, a friend of mine sought advice on how to deal with this problem, and since I had suffered and personally stressed about it as well, I decided to write and share my tried and tested methods with you, and put my recommendations out there on what finally helped reduce my hair loss and restore my normal hair volume. Phew!!

Hair loss occurs when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted, or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day but this doesn’t cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time.

You can identify when hair is being lost at a higher rate if your hair is thinning or by finding large amounts of hair on your pillow on waking up in the morning, more than normal being left in the comb when combing hair, or clumps of hair (more than 250 strands) falling when hair is washed.

Note: Don’t avoid washing in an attempt to keep the hair, as it will fall out eventually anyways.

Steps to deal with hair-loss:

1- Ask yourself the following questions to identify any temporary, non medical causes of hairloss

  • Are there any medication you are taking that could be causing the hair loss – drugs used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control have been related to this problem.
  • Do you drink adequate amounts of water?
  • Are you of a healthy BMI (body mass index) and would you consider your diet as being enough in calorie amount and content?
  • Did you recently suffer through a major stressful event like pregnancy, death in the family?
  • Do you manipulate your hair with dyes, chemical treatments, bad brushes, blow dryers, flat irons or frequent hot oil treatments?
  • Do you tie your hair in certain styles like pigtails or cornrows that pull your hair so tight and cause damage?

Majority of you reading this will have identified a reason for your hair loss above. Luckily these are the most common causes of hair loss, and are easily reversible.

Recommendations:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water to improve nutrition to your skin, hair, nails and all other organs in your body
  • If you are underweight, start charting a daily calorie count to eat healthy and gain weight, and take a woman’s health multivitamin to address any micronutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to the hair loss- Adequate nutrition is very important for our good health of our skin appendages like the hair and the nails
  • Avoid damaging and manipulating hair with hair colors, too much blow drying, hair straighteners, chemical treatments etc. Instead, opt to use DIY hair masks, or ready packaged hair masks to provide nutrition to your scalp, strengthen the hair shaft and improve its resilience to breakage. I tried the homemade egg hair mask but it was messy, and had short-term results, but it did make my hair shiny, soft and lustrous.

Ingredients used – Egg yolk – 1

Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

Lemon juice 2 tablespoons (for odor)

Honey – 1 teaspoon

Milk- 2 tablespoons

   Method

Mix all the ingredients and apply in the roots and onto the entire length. Recommendation is to leave it for 45 minutes, although I left it for half a day and then washed it off.

Some more tips:

  • Use a wide pronged comb instead of a hair brush to prevent pulling of hair
  • Coconut hair oil, and/or Argan hair oil to keep scalp nourished and moisturized thus producing healthier hair shafts in the new hair cycle.
  • The final go to product that literally saved my life and showed me instantaneous results when everything else had failed, was this hair loss shampoo by Art Naturals. It did wonders after 5 washes. The recommendation is to leave the shampoo on for about 10 minutes before washing off, and then following every wash with Argan hair oil. Argan oil has multitude of benefits, but that is a topic for another day. The product can be found at the link below:

3- If your answer was no to the questions above, your next step would be to find a medical cause for the hair loss by seeking help with your dermatologist. Some related causes may be:

  • Family history of female pattern baldness- usually hereditary
  • Hormonal changes – This could be due to pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause. Hormone levels are also affected by the thyroid gland, so thyroid problems may cause hair loss.
  • Scalp infections e.g. tinea capitis (ringworm) which resolves once infection treated
  • Other skin disorders like lichen planus, sarcoidosis affecting the scalp or some types of lupus may result in hair loss due to scarring.

Finally, I hope this article has provided you with some insight on how to go about managing hair loss, and hope the recommendations help you as well. Please like and share if this is something you can relate to

Doctor by profession, I graduated from University of Nairobi class of 2009. I am from Mombasa but currently living in Houston, Tx studying my Masters in Public and Global Health. Mother to 3-year-old Jamila. Writing is my inspiration to creatively express my thoughts while leaving traces of my identity in the hearts and minds of my readers. Thank you for your time in appreciating my work. You are the reason I am motivated to share my knowledge and empower the world.

To view more of my work: visit drkdj.wordpress.com

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