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Losing sleep over hair loss

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t cried in a long time but last week, I bawled my eyes out. We are talking rivers of tears. And all because of that stuff that sits on the top of my head: hair. We all have that thing (or two) that we wish we could fix about ourselves. For me, as I've whinged about before in this space, it's my hair. I’ve been wearing sewn-in extensions for about a year and half. But I didn’t realize just how much I loved them until I took them out.

I thought it wise to take a little break, reconnect with my own hair and give my scalp a good scrub.  But once I did, I was SHOCKED!  My hair had grown to the length of the extensions but it looked so thin, especially the ends.  Rats would be insulted if I compared their tails to my strands.  I immediately chopped off two inches myself.

It still looked like crap.  I figured shorter would make it look fuller and healthier.  My hairdresser was too busy to see me right away so I begged my mother to come over to lop off another 2.5 inches.

That’s when I really got upset. I know the extensions added volume (which is the main reason I get them) but still, I was sure my fine hair had thinned, and due to the extensions, I hadn’t noticed.  Or, equally upsetting, the extensions had done some damage.

I started obsessing.  I spent days online researching extensions and thinning hair.  I inspected my scalp with literally, a fine-toothed comb.  I went through tons of old photos, looking for evidence of thicker hair.  And if it was thinning, would it continue to do so?

I learned that anywhere from 25% to 50% of women will experience hair loss or thinning at some point in their lives.  There are many causes, including hormones, genetics, stress and vitamin deficiencies.  I also learned that while hair loss in itself is not a life-threatening condition, it can be a life-altering one, having a serious impact on the psyche.  Tell me about it.  Not only had I lost hair, I had also lost some self-esteem.

I went straight to the natural food store and got special multi-vitamins for thinning hair and a big bottle of bamboo silica.  Whatever they were recommending, I was buying.  Science tends to scoff at some of these remedies but anecdotal evidence on silica has me intrigued.  I’ll keep you posted. 

Next, I ran to an Aveda store to grab their new line – shampoo, conditioner and a hair serum all designed to strengthen thin hair that’s prone to breakage.  I’m less convinced this will work but it’s worth a try.

Then I got crazy.  I didn’t want to leave the house without my old clip-ins.  I even had them in at the gym, because I didn’t want people to wonder why my lush pony had turned puny.   

Finally, I went to see my hairdresser Krystal who’s worked with me for almost 20 years.  She inspected my scalp and pronounced that she didn’t see damage from the extensions and yes, my hair was always this thin.

I’m still not convinced.  I think it has thinned over the past few years and I’m going to maintain my new product and supplement regime to try to improve the state of my natural hair.

One week later, the extensions went back in and I felt like me again.  At least, the me I want to be.  I’m going to continue to take little breaks from them and keep a close eye on my scalp and hair health.  

kristina-new-extensions-noflash

New extensions – happy again!

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  • http://twitter.com/DeanaMorton Deana Morton

    Oh…this hits close to home for me. My hair is definitely thinning on top. When I was a kid, I had LOTS of thick hair, but noticed in my late 20’s that is seemed to be a bit more manageable. Then, over the course of my 30’s, its definitely gotten worse. My sister has the same issue. The back and sides appear (to my limited view) to be okay, but I can see my scalp on the top of my head through the strands of hair. I’m noticing lately that its breaking much easier and I have split ends for the first time that I can remember. In my case, I think its genetic because my mom and her sisters (and her mother) all had the same thing. I was considering getting extensions applied, and have been researching the best method. But I chickened out because I became worried about the extensions damaging my natural hair and scalp. I’m interested to read your experience with the silica. Can you recommend any clip in extensions for me to “test drive” the extensions? And is there a method and/or type of hair extension you’d recommend? Is the maintenance onerous? For the record, I don’t think your natural hair looked as bad as you thought – your picture above is beautiful (even with the shocked/sad expression on your face)!!

  • bluegrass69

    Kristina you have nothing to worry about. You’re absolutely gorgeous !!

  • HRF

    A friend and a hairdresser both recommended Nioxin Diamax to me. I have been using it for a couple of weeks. It definitely does fatten the hair strands. Yay!

  • Susan Bellwood

    I always had very short hair up until a few years ago when I wanted a change. I let it grow and have it one length, just above my shoulders. My hair has always been very fine texture, but thick. It is also wavy (which I did not know when it was short). I have read that it is normal for about 100 hundred or so hairs to fall daily. You should see my shower drain! My hair doesn’t appear thinner but it’s still scary. I also have a receding hairline (only on one side) with fuzz growing in that never gets any longer. One other odd thing, the grey coming in is like wire.

  • Tim Edwards

    Your still a very beautiful woman even with thin hair. At least women have options to fix their thinning hair without spending lots of money. As the older I got I had less hair every year and then I decided since I couldn’t change it that I would keep it real short which for me works better then pretending it’s not going away. So for me the thing is if you can fix it go ahead and if not you need to learn to live with it.

  • http://twitter.com/KristinaMatisic Kristina Matisic

    Thanks Tim. FYI, the salon I deal with also works with men. Not sure if that’s something you’d be interested in. But I agree with your strategy – keep in short or even shave it. I think a lot of men look really great that way!

    • Tim Edwards

      Thanks Kristina, not much I can do with the hair I have left. I might try shaving it when it’s a bit warmer. Happy to see you like men with short or shaved hair. Thanks again for your respond. 🙂

  • voyager

    What about wigs? Has anyone tried them? They seem to look so real. Not many places to buy them in Canada.

  • http://twitter.com/KristinaMatisic Kristina Matisic

    HRF, a few people have recommended Nioxin, I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip!

  • jennifer ryerse jones

    kristina, i have trichotillomania so i know exactly how it feels to have thin hair or patches of no hair. i’ve never tried wigs or attachments, i just try not to care what my head looks like. i’m 44, pulled since i was 10 so you think it would be easier by now! i keep my head shaved but the bare patches still show through the stubble. i think your hair has always looked great, so keep your head up!

  • voyager

    Have you tried a wig Kristina? My hair is also thinning and I am thinking of getting one?

  • Sarah

    I love your hair short (shoulder length), makes you look way younger:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/caris Cari Sware

    I have very thin hair and I have become quite self conscious about it. I started using Nioxin and I have noticed some new growth. On top of that, my hair has grown longer than I have ever been able to grow it in the past. So something in that product certainly works.

  • http://twitter.com/KristinaMatisic Kristina Matisic

    Hi Sarah, interesting you say that. I actually think I look younger with longer hair. I guess age is in the eye of the beholder! A few people have told me that when a woman reaches a certain age (and by that age, they clearly mean mine!) the hair should not be too long. But as someone who has never really had long hair til now, I’m going to enjoy it while I can!

  • disqus_MJCMdZTTuf

    Hi Kristina, I too was the virtually bald baby girl perennially dressed in pink to intercept the “what a cute baby boy!” comments. I’m now 49 and while blue clothing is fair game my Linus hair is getting thinner, to my dismay. Just once I’d love to know what it feels like to have long thick hair! Thanks for sharing your story with a sense of humour, we need one! :0)

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for reading!

  • peggy tremblett

    I feel your pain. My hair, now that I am in my thirties is very thin. fine hair runs on my mother’s side of the family, so my hair has never been glorious, by any means.
    I’ve been wearing hair extensions for oh, maybe 4 years and recently discovered that I have traction alopecia from them. So not only can I not wear extensions, my thin hair is even thinner now that I have two small bald spots.
    (My partner says he annot notice them but it’s all that i see.)
    Oh, what we don’t do to feel pretty!

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for sharing, Peggy. If you find out anything that helps, I’d love to know!

  • AMR

    Kristina- I was a former client of Yanni, I love them, and these comments are not personal. I was experiencing great concerns about tracking alopecia. My hair was nice and all I cared about was a bit more volume. After 1.5 years, it became a different story. I was irritated by the heavy, itchy, tracks, end of story. I was referred to an artist Ruben Martinez who’s passion for hair blew me away. Based out of Las Vegas, he travels across the US educating artist for Donna Bella Milan
    and Babe Hair Extensions. We met, and the rest. I’m a happy client. All I can say is that it feels natural and last months. Micro beads, no adhesive, no heat to apply.
    My gift to you : Ruben 909.503. 5892

    • annaandkristina

      That’s very interesting, AMR. Can you explain more about what micro beads are and how they work? I’m sure others would like to know about them too!
      Thanks,
      Kristina

  • Susan Harrington-Clayton

    Kristina, I feel your horror. The first time I saw more scalp than hair, I too cried and cried. I have always had thin hair but lots of it. The older I get, the shorter I have gone and I guess that allow the thinning to rear its “ugly head” . During this traumatic time I had started with a new hairdresser. That in of itself was scary but in speaking to her about it she offered on good advise. Satin pillow slips to allow your hair to slid more easily in bed along with a mess hair net really helps to keep everything nice and safe.
    She also suggested a food scalp massage what not only felt great but helps to increase the blood flow to the scalp. A good diet, exercise and rest also helps.
    I feel so much better not only to know that I am not alone, but there is thing that I can do to help.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Satin pillow cases are a good idea, though I’ve yet to get some. I’m putting it on my to do list! Thanks for writing in Susan.

      • Susan Harrington-Clayton

        I should have also told you that my husband is your biggest fan. He will not buy anything unless it is the “bags” approved. Thanks for working so hard so the Clayton family is guaranteed to purchase the best products. Your website really make it handy of us to go back and check your past favorites.