Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. My Battle with Thinning Hair Part 1

My attachment to my long hair rivals Samson’s.

My hair today. And my messy kitchen in the background

Growing up in the 1970s my mother imprisoned me with a pixie cut.  Her beauty motto was “nothing is prettier than practical” and lived it by forbidding me to have long hair because she believed it would attract Silly Putty, gum and Fluffernutter.  She never relented, even after I sobbed uncontrollably in an airport after an elderly couple told me what a “handsome young man I was” at the age of 7.

I was a girl trapped inside a boy’s haircut.

Me at 7. 5 minutes later I would be in tears for being told I was a handsome boy!

Freedom came on my 13th birthday when in an act of defiance, I grew it all the way down to the middle of my back.  Thick, lustrous and wavy, my long hair transformed me from “meh” to “wow” and boys noticed.  It became my beauty hallmark and couldn’t think of living life any way but long and lush.

Until the day I went bald thanks to chemotherapy and breast cancer at 36.   This wasn’t as terrible as you might think, because when it first grew back in, that G.I. Jane buzzed look gave me a bad ass quality I never experienced before (although my penchant for J. Crew kinda cramped that vibe).  More difficult were the in between years of looking like a cross between Greg Brady and a Chia pet.  Eventually, my long hair returned, like an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  A little less glorious, a little thinner and weaker but loved just the same.

Which is why I freaked out last year when during my annual mole check, my dermatologist, Dr. Peter Halperin told me I had the beginning of female pattern baldness.

“That’s impossible” I said indignantly, like he was telling me I had an STD.  Sure, my part was getting a little wider, my pony tail thinner and my scalp a little more sensitive to the sun.  I thought I had imagined those things, but hearing the words  “female pattern baldness” from my doctor landed like a thud of hopeless reality.

“Yeah, this is about the age it begins to show up in women” he said.  “The problem is, most women don’t do anything about it until the bald patch is really visible.  At that point it’s too late, they’ll never regrow what they lost, they can only keep what they have.”

He went on to tell me that my options are relatively limited aside from Rogain 5% and that my goal now should be to hold on to the hair I have, rather than thinking I can regrow the mane made I once had.  However, he did give me a glimmer of hope about the iGrow hair laser and wrote me a referral to Dr. Philip Bruder who specializes in female hair loss.

I can’t wait, my appoint with Dr. Bruder is this week.  But I am dreading what he has in store for me with this iGrow laser.  For close to $700, the you too can casually wear you metal helmet around the house as though there is nothing abnormal looking about this.  I almost thought this was satire.  I hope the guy below isn’t on Skype.

iGrow Laser. Yes, you can wear this and check email!

This is not me, but this might be my future.

This is not me either. Did I mention that the iGrow is iPod compatible?

To be continued after I see Dr. Bruder, the hair wizard.  In the meantime, here are some DIY ways to deal with thinning hair.  The Rogain 5% and Biotin are what I swear by.

Thinning hair tool kit

  • Rogain 5% Extra Strength.  This is the stuff the guys use, but you cannot use it if you could be come pregnant.  On the upside, it really does work and gives your hair a bit of a dry shampoo texture.  On the downside, it’s  pain in the neck because you have to use it morning and night for the rest of your life.  Also, the gooey texture makes my hair sometimes feel greasy and it makes my scalp flake.  A high price to pay.
  • Topikk.  A wonderful powder that fills in any transparent scalp.  Do not try using colored sprays,
  • Biotin.  Apparently this only works if you have a Biotin deficiency, but I take it anyway and notice my hair growing faster, albeit not thicker
  • Viviscal.  I haven’t tried this yet, but everyone in the fashion and beauty industry (including my colorist) swears by it.  Models pop it like Pez.
Related articles

The American Hair Loss Center.

Marie Clair: Female Hair Loss

The Hair Loss Geeks