Well I am sure many of you reading this blog are here to find out what I am currently doing to encourage my hair to grow back!
If you haven’t already read my last post – aptly titled – My hair is coming back. Then you can read that first or after this one – it opens in a new window.
So – what have I tried?
Lots and I will tell you now that NONE really worked for me (in the sense of sprouting back lost hair I mean). Sorry if anyone read this and got their hopes up. However – what didn’t work for me – may work for you.
- As discussed in my lengthy post which details my hair shaving. I quickly became a fan of hats – all kind of hats.
- They were good at hiding it initially – though the wind quickly became my enemy.
- Not great for a posh dinner or a fancy restaurant. A cheeky old man even told me to take my hat off in one restaurant. I was tempted to play the “I have cancer card” but decided just to skulk away mumbling.
I digress, hats are OK at first but when your patches become too large and appear under the hat – or if it’s too hot outside and you are continually sweaty – I found it best to get rid. Once I had shaved however I do continue to wear hats in winter.
- Doctors: My local GP was useless – told me I had male pattern baldness and after much pleading referred me to a dermatologist and gave me anti-depressants (keep reading – that bit is further down).
- Dermatologist: Confirmed I had Alopecia Areata (I already knew this) and said:
50% of my clients with Alopecia have had a trauma, stress, death of a loved one – the other 50% have had no such occurrence. It may all come back, some might, or it might never come back and progress to Alopecia Universalis.
His comments helped immensely as I thought – fine – there is no point getting false hope.
- This was my first kick up the arse. He also handed me a leaflet (usually reserved for burn victims and people who have been disfigured through injury). He informed me that “Your image is changing and you need to come to terms with it”.
- My metaphorical kick up this arse smarted even more when he delivered that blow.
- But now – on reflection – I am so thankful he said it. Alopecia does change you and it’s how you deal with your constantly changing face that helps you overcome your fears!
3. Trichologist: This woman was awful – in my desperate state at the start of my journey I paid her £90 a session to ‘analyse my hairs’ and give me ‘special lotion’ to rub into my scalp.
- She then upped the ante and gave me Reflexology – which was lovely – but not worth the extra £50 a session.
- She was a charlatan and when I became wise to the fact I was paying this money and had zero results – she had no argument apart from stating that “Your hair won’t come back anyway” – Screw you love!!!
Pills – Anti-depressants – I have discussed that at my lowest ebb – they really helped me from dipping so low.
- If you are in a very dark place and they are an option available to you – then from my personal experience I would encourage it.
- I am not trying to push my views and again they may not be agreeable to you but they did help me out of a dark hole.
- However you should always discuss in detail with your doctor and partner/loved ones before making this choice.
Hair regrowth tablets: My doctor gave me a prescription for Propecia (which I had to pay for). I felt this worked at first but after a year – no change.
Lotions and potions: I tried the lotion that the ‘trichologist’ gave me which as I stated – didn’t work. I toyed with minoxidil but after my propecia failure – decided not to.
Garlic and Onions! I tried this after reading that in India that rubbing one or the other on the head on the patches encourages hair growth.
- This theory was solidified when my Indian neighbour noticed my patches and offered to bring me garlic into the house as it “really worked for me”.
- I thanked him and said I was fine – then ran into the house and began rubbing it on my head. It didn’t work but did make me and my pillows STINK.
Mindfulness: This didn’t help my hair growth but it did really help my mental health and encourage me to deal with my feelings.
Diet and lifestyle: I cut out sugars, caffeine, carbs and alcohol – all at different times – some for over 6 months – again no change – apart from the fact I obviously felt a little healthier (and deprived).
Exercise: I tried to keep fit – which boosted my mood and energy levels but did nothing for my hair. I had read that endorphins and hanging upside down helped so I did a reverse bungee jump and an actual bungee jump. Nothing.
Cosmetics and stuff
- I tried spray on hair – for two minutes to cover my patches and realised I looked like David Gest so immediately washed it off.
- I successfully used eyebrow pencil for my eyebrows for a good few months – detailed here.
- I enquired about a hair transplant then realised all of that would also fall out
- I used a sun-bed when I first shaved my head to make my newly bald napper look less milky white – served a purpose at the time but would rather be pale than have skin cancer!
- Glasses – used to hide the fact I had no eyebrows – I kind of liked the hipster look but wasn’t ‘kewl’ enough to pull it off.
So what DOES work?
- I haven’t a clue – nobody does. And all these people telling you they have a cure – are full of crap.
- In my experience it all comes down to coming to terms with how you look, may look and accepting how people perceive you.
- Don’t compare yourself to your past self as you wont look anything like that image. I had dark black hair and bushy eyebrows. Now I have no eyebrows and a patchy head.
Cookie – crumbled. Sometimes a dose of tough love to yourself and a reality check is all you need.
Acceptance is key – as are a supportive network of people around you – cheers to mine! And go seek out yours.