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Hair Loss/Hair loss and breakage=depression

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QUESTION: Oh Melanie, I hope you can help me.I have always been teased (in a good fun way)by my family about how thick my hair is.Suddenly I have started to lose large clumps while taking a shower. There must be 75-100 strands in a clump. It just pulls out while I am shampooing and conditioning.  This started a couple of weeks ago.  My hair has also started breaking off at about the same time this all started. It looks like I have cut my hair when I brush it because of all of the short pieces on the floor and in the sink. I had my hair colored 3 weeks ago.I started to notice my hair changing a few days later and it has just gotten worse each day.  I went back to the salon and they insisted I have a thyroid problem or something medical.  The same hair color was used that I always use, but there were more highlights.  Over the past few days I can really tell my hair above my temple area is getting thinner.  I also feel like the hair where my bangs are is  back.  My scalp has become itchy over the past couple of days ESP. around my hairline by my scalp.  I have a dirty job and usually wash my hair daily,but lately I cannot bare to watch my hair come out so I am shampooing every other day.  I was already on several different supplements before any of this happened (such as VitD, B, C, Mag-pot. collagen type 2 etc.) I recently saw a naturopath and he started me on a kelp supplement,Hair Skin and Nails formula,Biotin,trace minerals, and spanish black radish.  I eat a lot of protein and very little sugar.  I eat some organic foods (when I can afford to).  I started an intense exercise program earlier in the year and due to sickness(flu, colds, etc), had to stop.  I recently started it back up again. Over a few  months I have lost 20lbs. I did go from 0-60 quickly with the workout.  I have heard of people losing wt too quickly and their hair falls out. I have stopped exercising all together for now.  I am always stressed and until my hair started falling out I was not any more stressed than usual.  I am currently awaiting my next Dr. visit to discuss my recent lab work results, including thyroid and hormonal testing.  I was told by the nurse that a few things were off but nothing jumped out at her.  In a nutshell that is my story.  Can you please give me some advice?  I cannot sleep and I do not have an appetite.  I try not to worry about this but cannot stop.  I am thinking about making an appt. with a dermatologist, but money is tight and I have spent so much on supplementation already.

I can send pictures later.

Thanks for any help,
Angela

ANSWER: Because your hair loss and breakage began shortly after the hair dye and highlighting, I would not rule that out--especially for the breakage. It doesn't matter that you've used the same product previously without any reaction. Bad reactions can occur at any time.
The most common cause of hair breakage is due to over processing with harsh chemicals such as bleach and dye. If your hair texture has changed, with hair becoming brittle and dry, I would suspect the hair dye. If the itchy scalp is a new symptom, it may also be from a bad reaction to hair dye, especially if there is any type of dermatitis, inflammation, etc.
Is the hair breaking off at various lengths? Are you sure that the hair loss is not breakage also? When hair breaks off at scalp level it can be mistaken for hair loss. Examining the tip (root end) will help identify if it is breakage or actual loss. Do you have any actual bald areas from hair falling out in clumps?
Extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can cause telogen effluvium.
Unfortunately it is much too common for health practitioners to "brush off" the results of tests because nothing "jumped out." Because of this we must take an active role in our own health care. Saying "some things are off" but not telling you what is not very responsible. If the hair loss is due to an internal imbalance, anything that is "a little off" can provide clues. Even slight imbalances can cause hair loss. For example: a "normal" ferritin range can be between 18-160 ng/ml. But when female hair loss is an issue, it is advised to bring ferritin levels up to 70 ng/ml. It may be very helpful to get a copy of your results to see what was off. I will be happy to help you further if you'd like to supply more information.
Essential oil used topically on the scalp can help stimulate new hair growth by increasing energy and nourishment directly to the follicle and root of hair. Although essential oils can be very helpful to aid in hair loss, it is still important to determine and treat underlying cause if possible.
Please let me know if I can help you further.
Sincerely, Melanie Vonzabuesnig
Understanding Female Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/overcomefemalehairloss.html
Essential Oils for Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/aromatherapy%20for%20hair%20loss.html
Create Your Own Natural Hair Loss Remedies
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/Books%20info.html




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, my hair is breaking off and different lengths and I am sure it is falling out at the root.  I can see a tiny amount of skin on each strand that falls.  My bangs are only about 1/3 the thickness that they were only last week.  My hair was colored about 3 weeks ago and after it was colored the texture felt like barbie doll hair.  It has gotten significantly worse over the past few days in spite of all of the supplements I am taking. I do not have any redness or inflammation on my scalp and I have not at any time during all of this.  It itches mostly around my hairline where I have lost my bangs.  I do not have any bald areas yet from the hair falling out in clumps.  I do have balding areas around my face. I realize stress can make hair loss worse but it is hard not to stress more over the hair loss.  I am returning to the Dr. this week and I will get a copy of my bloodwork results. Can you recommend a shampoo/conditioner/ and some essential oils that I can use until I can figure out what is causing this hair loss? Can you look at bloodwork results to see if there is anything that stands out?  Thank you so much for responding to me.  I really need the advice and support right now.

Angela

ANSWER: Hair texture changes can come from various causes such as iron deficiency, other nutritional deficiencies, illness, etc., but the changes usually do not occur as suddenly and dramatically as you describe. Because your texture changes happened suddenly, at the same of the hair dye and highlighting, the dye or highlighting would be a very likely cause. Over-processing hair with harsh chemicals is the most common cause of hair breakage.
Actual hair loss (shedding from the roots) due to hair dye or bleach is not as common but it can happen.  If the chemicals were in contact with the scalp and were left on too long, actual hair loss can also occur.
The hairs with the little bulb at the end would indicate actual hair loss. It is normal to lose 80-100 strands of hair per day. Most of this hair loss goes unnoticed. Once a hair reaches it's full growth potential it falls out and is quickly replaced with another growing hair.
It is very likely that the breakage and damage you are experiencing is due to processing. The excessive shedding may be from another cause.
The main type of hair loss that causes actual bald areas is alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. The condition involves a genetic predisposition. Any type of trigger can activate the condition in a person who has the genetic predisposition. Common triggers include exposure to allergens, infection, virus, vaccination, etc.
I am not really qualified to analyze blood work but if you tell me what the deficiencies are I can try to help you with the knowledge that I do have.  
I have included a link to an article on how essential oils can be used to improve hair growth and quality.
Please let me know if I can help you further.
Sincerely, Melanie Vonzabuesnig
Essential Oils for Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/aromatherapy%20for%20hair%20loss.html
Understanding Female Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/overcomefemalehairloss.html
Create Your Own Natural Hair Loss Remedies


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Would you recommend Rogaine?  There is a type of shampoo/conditioner system for women that comes with Rogaine called Karinique.  I am not sure if it works or not. Can your oils be used with Rogaine?  I just need something to work fast before I lose my entire hair line.  I have not had any of the common triggers that you mentioned regarding alopecia areata.  How do you know for sure if it is an autoimmune alopecia rather than something else?  I will get my bloodwork results tomorrow and let you know if I am deficient in anything.

Thanks for the help again

Angela

Answer
I don't usually recommend minoxidil due to the fact that it often causes an initial shed and requires lifelong commitment. Possibly would recommend it for androgenetic alopecia only. At first it was only prescribed for androgenetic alopecia. More recently it is being used for all types of hair loss. I do recommend researching it thoroughly and also reading a copy of the package insert which you can find online in order to make decision. I don't recommend using essential oils at the same time.
I do think it's important to know what type of hair loss you are dealing with. A hair loss expert may be able to diagnose through visual examination, possibly with the aid of microscopic tools. Otherwise a scalp biopsy may be ordered. Scalp biopsy can confirm what type of hair loss is present. Unfortunately there are not a lot of true hair loss experts. A trichologist or dermatologist who specializes in hair loss may be best bet.
Sincerely, Melanie Vonzabuesnig
Essential Oils for Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/aromatherapy%20for%20hair%20loss.html
Understanding Female Hair Loss
http://www.vzbotanicals.com/overcomefemalehairloss.html
Create Your Own Natural Hair Loss Remedies  

Hair Loss

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Melanie Vonzabuesnig

Expertise

Female hair loss is my main focus. Women today are very susceptible to several types of hair loss including telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and androgenetic alopecia. I can answer questions about the causes and types of female hair loss. I can share information about natural holistic remedies to improve female hair loss conditions.

Experience

My interest in female hair loss sprung from my own experience with extensive hair loss. Determined to grow my hair back, I diligently studied every piece of information I could find on the biology of hair growth. After successfully re-growing my hair with safe and effective natural products, I felt compelled to learn more and to share this information with other women. I am experienced in blending custom hair loss formulas. I am also experienced in writing about female hair loss issues.

Publications
My hair loss information has been included in The Truth about Womens Hair Loss by Spencer Kobren, Naturally Healthy Skin by Stephanie Tourles, Alternative Healing by Bill Gottleib and Natural Health Magazine. I am the author of several books on hair loss.

Education/Credentials
I am a certified aromatherapist specializing in formulas for scalp and hair conditions.

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