Alopecia + Auto-Immune

Haircare Tips for When Your Hair is Acting like an Asshole on Alopecia.

When I noticed my hair started falling out I wanted to put my head in a bubble and sleep upright so nothing touched my head. That was a little extreme of course and once I understood the four STAGES OF HAIR GROWTH I had an idea of how I could realistically care for my hair.

How do I care for my hair when it is falling out?

1. Put down the hair products
If you are using hair spray, gels, or other styling products be careful. Adding stress or resistance (literally hairspray) to your hair may cause your hair to break. It is also tough to manage if you are brushing through hair spray.
2. Step away from the heating products…initially.
I also took a break from blow drying my hair (which I’ll be honest I don’t do anyway because that’s how I roll), other than when I ABSOLUTELY had to for work. Curling irons, straighteners, and other types of heat related tools did not come near my hair the first few weeks because I was letting my hair do it’s thing.
* Now that my hair and bald spot are cooperating- I curl that bitch so I don’t have to wash my hair everyday:)
3. Wash with care
Choose shampoo or conditioning products that are gentle and preferably not full of a million chemicals. I used and Olive Oil shampoo and Rosemary natural shampoo that was gentle and soft on my hair and scalp. There is also a sulphuric shampoo that I am going to try this go around. When washing your hair GENTLY massage your scalp. Massage promotes circulation and circulation is how healing begins.
4. Pat, don’t rub your hair dry
I have very soft Japanese towels that have been passed down from my childhood. They are soft and very light so when I put my hair up after a shower they weren’t weighing heavily on my head. I also switched to the good old hair dry pat and squeeze rather than my typical quick rub into dry hair submission.
5. Brush your head like it’s a babies head
Initially when I was at my most stressed and my hair was falling like teenager’s pants I had to train my self to brush my hair nice and soft like. Around my bald spot I would hold my hair from the top closer to the root, for extra support, and brush down to the tips. For me this helped limit the amount of strands that fell from brushing.
*Mind you they were likely to fall anyway because the strands were already inflamed around the follicle- but mentally it made me feel better and feeling better during this time is where it’s at!
6. Let your hair flow
My goal in life is to wear 3 different hairstyles a week. This has never happened and definitely did not happen during my most inflamed time with alopecia areata. Don’t hold your hair hostage in ponytails, braids, or fancy hair do’s. Let your hair do its natural thing and flow free and long. The only time I put it up in a high loose ponytail was at night because I hate sleeping on my hair.

Did you get haircuts while you had your alopecia areata?

You damn right I did. I wish I would have taken pictures of me doing it so you could have seen how large and in charge my first bald spot was. I wasn’t embarrassed but I wasn’t comfortable if that makes sense. So here are some tips I found if you need and want to get your hair cut, alopecia or not.
1. Communicate to your stylist
You don’t have to go through your life journey of how you have a major bald spot on your head. My communication went something like this, ” So I let stress get the better of me and now my hair is falling out, but it’s gonna grow back. So just FYI:)”
-My stylist even recommended hair growth products that he knew of that work for other clients. I choose to go the natural route though but sometimes they know stuff too.
2. Pick a stylist you LOVE
I knew my stylist wasn’t going to try some new style that was going to make me look like a clown. I usually went in for bang trims, layers, or overall trims. When he was cutting hair on the side of my bald spot he took care not to leave it exposed for long periods of time- which was very thoughtful. He let the girl washing my hair to be extra gentle and she was too. The care and respect they took during that period of my hair being a pain in the ass was hugely noted, it made all the difference to how I felt sitting in a chair at a very busy salon.
* My stylist even invited me in for a free styling for his portfolio even while I had my mega bald spot! He’s a gem.
3. Resist the urge to cut off all your hair
Unless you feel good about it! Do not make decisions when you are emotionally all over the place. That goes for hair and life. I was lucky that my bald spots could easily be covered but for some maybe that isn’t the case. If you know having long strands in between patches is not manageable then go for it, but get yourself to an emotional place where you say to yourself, “Okay I’m going to do this and I’m going to feel peace and acceptance about it…and then I’m going to buy a fabulous fucking scarf to make me feel extra good if ever I feel a little too vulnerable for my day-to-day.”
4. DO NOT buy a million fancy hair care products
Unless you want to and…. FEEL good about it. My stylist did not try to sell me a million hair care products because he was sensitive to my overall needs but if you find yourself in a situation where someone is recommending this and that and you think oh hell why not maybe it will help…Use this phrase, ” Oh thank you for the recommendation but I will have to do some research on the ingredients before I but anything.” Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand what you are going through if they themselves have not gone through it, and that’s okay. You are your own hair loss boss so you can say NAH.

How can I feel good about my hair when it is falling out all the time?

Well, I guess you just decide to. I celebrated small wins, like when my bangs were super cute or when my hair dried perfectly in humid weather! I also made code words for friends in the beginning to alert me if my spot was trying to say hello to the world. “Are my bunny ears showing” quickly turned into ” Can you see my damn bald spot?”.  After a while it didn’t even matter because I’m funny as hell, I’m a good person, and so what I obviously went through a big emotional time in my life- who hasn’t?
The relationship you have with this hair loss/ hair growth process will be up to you. It’s different for everyone and will teach you different things about yourself.
At the end of the day don’t beat yourself up over it…your immune system is already doing that for you!

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