Miss America 2011 won the pageant wearing a wig! This excites me because I feel like it’s still taboo for women to wear wigs. But now Miss America, a woman who has beat out thousands of beautiful women throughout the United States, has been chosen to represent the country as an ideal American beauty. Here you can see a video of her putting on the wig she got from Hair Therapy for Women in Tampa, FL. I’m curious if this video leaked by accident, or if she allowed herself to be filmed (the video was also shown on Youtube). Most women keep their wig-wearing a secret, so I was surprised she seemed open to the world knowing about her hair issues!
It’s quite obvious that lots of the women participating in Miss America have beauty enhancements (breast implants, padded bras, teeth veneers, hair extensions, etc.) but I am still slightly shocked about the wig. I’m sure beauty pageant contestants have been wearing wigs for years, but I never noticed. If I hadn’t read about Miss Nebraska, I never would have thought she had on a wig because it looks so natural! I also find it interesting that she chose a wig with dark roots to wear during the pageant - I thought roots were a big no-no for looking “perfect.” Anyway, some people question whether wearing a wig is “cheating” because it gives you an unfair advantage of having great hair. Hmmm. That’s the only thing I’m looking forward to when/if the time comes to wear a wig – having great, enviable hair every day!
Of course Miss Nebraska wasn’t the only girl to wear a wig at the 2011 Miss America pageant. Miss Delaware Kayla Martell has been living with Alopecia Areata for ten years, but hasn’t let that stop her from her participating in beauty pageants. I really love Kayla Martell because she has enough confidence in herself to know that she is beautiful without hair, and she’s not afraid to let everyone know. She has been bringing awareness to Alopecia by speaking publicly about the issue, and helping others that suffer from it. She also wore a wig at the Miss America pageant (and again no one would have ever known it she hadn’t talked about it). What really would have been awesome is if she would have done the pageant without the wig!
What do you think of the news that beauty pageant contestants wear wigs? Is it really any different than wearing hair extensions? Do you think this news will help society accept the fact that wearing wigs is okay – that there shouldn’t be a stigma associated with it?
I just went back to the hair loss doctor for another follow up. I’ve been taking Spironolactone for a month now, and so far so good. I haven’t seen any crazy shedding from it, which is what I was worried about. But I am on a super low dose. I took 12.5mg of it each day for 3 weeks and then went up to 25mg a day. The first few days I started the medication I felt woozy and had a headache, but I switched to taking the pill at night and then I was fine.
My goal at this doctor visit was to get a dosage increase of the Spironolactone. Last month the Dermatologist said there’s no way she would increase my dose past 25mg, which is really low. I was searching for dosing suggestions on reputable medical websites and couldn’t find any reference to what the proper Spiro dose is for female hair loss. Most internet sites will tell you it’s 100-200mg a day to achieve results, but I wanted to see what medical journals or WebMD, etc. had to say. I couldn’t find anything.
Doctors absolutely hate it when you find something on the internet to reference, and most of them will only accept information from medical journals, WebMD, MedicineNet, or official associations for their field – like aad.org (for Dermatology), etc. I was desperate so I told the doctor “I had read on the internet” that the minimum dose for Spironolactone to decrease and stabilize hair loss is 100mg. She of course said “well I went to medical school, so I have to disagree.” Normally I try to leave out the internet all together, but I had no choice. Somehow she was willing to increase my dose to 50mg a day, but now she hates me, and I’m one of “those” patients…
Another trick I just discovered is that doctors can’t remember what they told you at your last visit. They see lots of patients every day and have no idea what they told you a month ago. They only know what they wrote in their notes, and apparently they don’t always take notes, or read them. Somehow the doctor got the impression that she prescribed me 25mg of Spiro last month, not 12.5mg. My mom always accuses me of putting words in her mouth, which I don’t normally do, unless I have to… Anyway, with all of that drama, I hope I don’t experience side effects from the 50mg of Spiro. I promised the doctor I would tell her if I do have side effects, and I will keep my word on that.
• Well I went to Medical School…
When you go to med school you don’t learn a lot about hair loss. While the doctor has spent the last 10 years in school, I’ve spent the same amount of time learning about only a few things - like hair loss. I am sure a background in medicine would help my understanding of it, but I honestly don’t think most doctors know more about hair loss than me, or than most of the men and women that experience it first-hand and do their own research. I was thinking of becoming a Physician Assistant, which is only a two year graduate degree. At the Dermatology office I go to, they employ several PAs who treat patients just like the doctors do. So the only difference between me and the person you may see at your Dermatology office is two more years of school! When you get your PA degree, you don’t specialize in one area, so you wouldn’t even be learning anything about hair loss – I imagine that would come with clinicals or on-the-job training. I am not trying to bash doctors here – they are extremely important – but I am just so frustrated with almost every doctor I’ve ever seen. For example, when I had bad acne as an adult, I went to several doctors, and none of them fixed my acne. How did I finally fix it? – with research on the internet!
• Prednisone to help genetic hair loss?
Here’s one I hadn’t heard before. The doctor just gave me a prescription for the steroid Prednisone. It’s to calm the inflammation in my scalp (which I still can’t see). I absolutely agree that scalp inflammation is not good and it could make hair loss worse, but I was sort of shocked because one of the main side effects of Prednisone is hair loss! I am deathly afraid of the drug because my mom’s health problems spiraled out of control once she started taking it. I know this is probably a coincidence, but I always thought her hair loss was a partial result of her Prednisone use. The steroid has a host of awful side effects, and I really feel like it’s a bad idea to take it in this situation, even though the dose I was prescribed is really low. My gut tells me to stay away from it! If I had bad inflammation, then maybe I would consider it, but I don’t. This reminds me of when the gyno prescribed Premarin for an issue I was having, and it just made me gain weight. Later I found out how horrible Premarin is, and that it made my problem worse, not better! I try to keep the inflammation my body low by eating well, taking antioxidants, being gentle to my scalp, etc. I asked the doctor why I have scalp inflammation and she said she has no idea.
• Genetic testing for hair loss
Finally I asked the doctor if she though genetic testing to determine Androgenetic Alopecia would provide accurate results. I am really considering getting that HairDX test done. She said she has no idea. Great.
Another day, another dollar. It turns out my health insurance has not been covering any of the hair loss doctor visits or blood work because it’s just a “cosmetic issue!” Like hell it is…!
ps. I wish I could wear cute wigs like the one in the picture every day – maybe match my hair color to my nail polish.
All women with hair loss want to know “why don’t female celebrities have hair loss?” Hollywood actresses have thick beautiful hair and they never have bad hair days. What gives? Why is life so unfair – they have the money, the fame, and the perfect hair. I used to think this, but I’ve come to realize celebrities have hair loss too - but we usually don’t know about it. And this is a good thing because there is hope for all of us to have red carpet hair if we choose it (or can afford it).
You would think celebrities would experience hair loss more than the average person. They live hectic lives, most actresses and models are very thin so they obviously don’t eat a lot, and many of them wear hair extensions which can cause permanent hair loss from traction alopecia. My guess is that most female celebrities start wearing supplemental hair at the first sign of a problem. They have enough money to go to the top hair places, and get whatever hairpiece, topper, or wig they need. You rarely hear about female celebrities wearing hair (other than extensions) on a regular basis, so I am assuming there are hush-hush people they must see. And hair extensions are so ubiquitous with celebs now that half of them wear them to make their hair thicker and longer. Hair extensions, though, can’t cover up hair loss on the top of your head very well.
Female Celebrities with Hair Loss:
With all that said, there are some famous women with visible hair loss. I am not trying to be mean by writing about them here – I just want everyone to know that you aren’t alone! As bad as I feel that anyone has to experience hair loss, at least celebrities have the money they need to see the top nutritionists, hair loss specialists, and hair replacement gurus.
Adrianne Curry – Recently I saw this “America’s Next Top Model” winner on the show “Pretty Hurts” and her hair now looks like it’s thinning. I never noticed it until this year.
Amber Rose – She’s not actual balding, but she shaves her head as a fashion statement.
Bethenny Frankel – On the few episodes I’ve caught of her various reality shows, I noticed she has a slightly wide part in the front and a little bald spot. This could be because she recently had a baby, but I think I recall seeing the slight thinning before she was pregnant. Her hair looks thick overall, but I’ve also read she wears weaves and extensions (at least sometimes).
Britney Spears- She’s one of the most famous celebrities, and I’m pretty sure she has hair loss. At first I thought she was just crazy for shaving her head, but then I started to wonder if it’s because of her hair loss. Not a day goes by that I am not tempted to shave all my hair off and say “fuck it.” Britney has worn extensions for years and I think it’s caused traction alopecia all over her head. She also has a receding hairline and temples. With all that money – why doesn’t she pay to get better hair?
Chelsea Handler – The comedian has a slightly wide part – nothing major, but it’s enough to distract me every time I see her on TV.
Cher – we all know Cher wears wigs. What does her real hair look like? I have no idea.
Christina Hendricks – Her natural hair is very thin, but she almost always wears hair extensions or hairpieces on the top of her head. She sports different hairpiece toppers all the time in her different red carpet photos. Many of them are quite obvious.
Chynna Phillips – The Wilson Phillips singer has always had a high hairline (in the 90s you couldn’t tell because she had bangs). I recently saw her on Oprah, and her hairline had receded and was really high. Her mom, actress Michelle Phillips, was also on Oprah, and in recent years she has developed extremely noticeable androgenetic alopecia.
Debra Messing – There are pictures of her with a wide part. This could have been temporary – shedding after having a baby. Or she could have started wearing supplemental hair. Her hair now looks how mine used to look before it all fell out!
Dolly Parton – she’s been wearing wigs since she first got famous. Again I have no idea what her real hair looks like.
Elizabeth Berkley – her hairline has receded an inch or two since her “Saved By The Bell” days. Otherwise she doesn’t appear to have hair loss, but her hair used to be so thick that even if she lost 30% of it, it would be hard to notice. I compare myself to her because we used to have the same hair, and my hairline is creeping up too.
Erin Moran – from “Happy Day.” I saw her on a show a few years ago and she had obvious overall hair thinning and genetic hair loss.
Fergie- Fergie has a wide part and overall hair thinning. Pictures came out of her last year that show that she’s either experiencing Telogen Effluvium (temporary hair loss), or Androgenetic Alopecia (genetic hair loss). She usually wears tons of hair extensions to make her hair thicker and longer, but she hasn’t disguised her wide part. The picture shown here is a still from her new fragrance commercial. She is apparently comfortable with her hair!
Gail Porter- she’s a Scottish TV presenter that has Alopecia Areata and then Alopecia Totalis, and she has brought awareness to the condition by doing interviews bald. Currently her hair has grown back, but it could fall out again in the future.
Halle Berry – I’ve seen pictures of her where she had really noticeable hair loss. I don’t know if it was temporary and it grew back, because her hair looks great now like it usually does – is it fake?
Helena Bonham Carter – I have seen older pictures of her with mild genetic-looking thinning on the top and front of her hair. Now she normally wears giant hair pieces or wigs when she’s at award shows or in movies. It’s hard to say what her real hair looks like for sure, but I suspect it’s thinning.
Hillary Clinton – Normally her hair looks fine, but when she wears it pulled back in a banana clip or scrunchie on top of her head, you can see she has extremely receding temples.
Jaclyn Smith – I think I remember seeing her with thinning hair a few years back. She also has a line of wigs and hairpieces, which makes me suspect she has a special interest in supplemental hair.
Kathy Hilton – Paris Hilton’s mom has thinning hair on the top of her head, which I spotted on “The World According To Paris Hilton.”
Khloe Kardashian – She has a wide part, and wears hair extensions for length, and maybe to add volume to her hair. I read that she had telogen effluvium years ago due to stress, but I’m not sure if her current hair loss is genetic or not.
Kimberly Stewart – Rod Stewart’s socialite daughter has had thinning hair for several years. The newest pictures I’ve seen of her show her wearing either a topper, clip-on bangs, or a wig.
Kim Zolciak – from “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” She wears a wig. On the first season of the show I thought her wig looked pretty obvious and tacky, but what she wears now looks really nice. I’m not sure if she has hair loss, or if she just wants to have Hollywood hair all the time.
Lady Gaga – We all know that she loves to wear wigs, and while her natural hair always looks fine to me, she’s just revealed publicly that her hair is falling out due to dyeing her dark hair blonde all the time. I don’t know if her hair is falling out at the root or breaking from damage, but if she lays off the blonde, she might be lucky and see a full recovery.
Lara Flynn Boyle- I’ve seen pictures of her with a wide part – either from telogen effluvium or androgenetic alopecia.
Lisa Marie Presley – I just saw her on Oprah, and she has a receding hairline and frontal thinning. I had never noticed any hair loss before her recent appearance.
Megan Fox – There is a lot of talk about Megan Fox having hair loss, but I never noticed it on her. However I did find one photo that shows her with thinning hair on the sides and front of her hair – maybe from wearing hair extensions.
Milla Jovovich – I rented her 2011 movie “Faces in the Crowd” and didn’t notice the faces in the movie changing because I was so focused on her wide part, which I never noticed her having before.
Miss Delaware Kayla Martell- she has Alopecia Areata and proves that you can still win beauty contests without having perfect bio hair. She wears wigs, but is also comfortable showing off her shaved head to bring awareness to alopecia.
Naomi Campbell- She has significant hair loss in the front and sides, probably from traction alopecia. Normally she wears supplemental hair, but there are pictures of her with hair loss.
Neve Campbell – I’ve never noticed her having any hair issues, but the “Party of Five” actress says when she was 23 she suffered from Alopecia Areata due to stress, and her hair came out in patches. I don’t know if she’s had recurring bouts of AA since then or not.
Nicole Scherzinger – This Pussycat Doll was just on “American Idol” where I noticed she has thinning in the front of her hair.
Pamela Anderson – I have seen a few pictures of Pam with thinning hair in the front, but now I can’t find them, so I’m not totally sure about her hair. She does have a high hairline, which has gotten slightly higher since her “Baywatch” days. She’s been wearing tons of extensions for years, so I’m not sure if that’s caused traction alopecia. Again I’m not completely sure she has hair loss.
Paula Abdul – When she was first on “American Idol” I noticed she had thin hair on the top of her head. That didn’t last long – she then started wearing different hairpieces on the show ever since the first season. Did you ever notice she would have different hair almost every week?
Sarah Michelle Gellar – On her new TV show “Ringer,” you can see she has a slightly wide part, and it looks like she also has extensions to make her hair thicker and longer.
Sarah Palin – when she first because famous I couldn’t believe how thick and healthy her hair looked. I was ready to move to Alaska! Now I’m starting to think she’s been wearing hairpieces this whole time. She’s said her hair has been falling out from stress but it’s thicker than ever…
Selma Blair – I haven’t conclusively noticed her having hair loss, but after having her first baby she’s reported experiencing post-partum hair loss, and worries about going bald. Experiencing temporary hair loss after having a baby is totally normal, unless your hair doesn’t eventually come back as thick as it was pre-pregnancy.
Serena Williams – Usually this tennis star’s hair looks great, but recent photos have come out where she has a noticeable bald spot on the top of her head. I don’t know if it’s from Traction Alopecia or Alopecia Areata, or something else. I’ve always wondered if she wore hair and though it must suck playing professional tennis and having to deal with wearing hair at the same time - and normally she wears big headbands during her matches.
Sherri Shepherd – I give immense credit to this “The View” co-host for talking openly about her hair. On one episode of “The View” she took off her wig to reveal extensive hair loss (either from Traction Alopecia, Androgenetic Alopecia, or Cicatricial Alopecia). You can probably find this clip on YouTube. She wasn’t embarrassed at all about revealing her real hair, and she seems totally secure with her hair (maybe because her wigs look so great).
Star Jones – I never noticed Star’s hair when she was on “The View” but she said that she wore wigs the whole time – I would have had no idea. I read that she experienced hair loss after having gastric bypass surgery, but I don’t know what her real hair looks like. On “Celebrity Apprentice” she wears different wigs in every scene, and that’s what clued me into her wig-wearing.
Tiffany – I saw a recent photo of the 80s pop singer Tiffany, and noticed she now has a wide part.
Tina Turner – I was shocked when I found out Tina Turner has been wearing wigs for years. Some people say she has hair loss, and others say she just wears wigs to have perfect hair.
Tori Amos – A reader pointed out that she’s been dealing with genetic hair loss for years, and I recently wrote about Tori’s hair loss more extensively. She’s one of the few celebs to be photographed with really obvious hair loss. Now she wears wigs (although some people say they still see her without wigs sometimes).
Tyra Banks – She wears lace front wigs all the time – you’ll never see her in public without one either, except the one time she went wig-less on her show. She has a really high forehead.
Wendy Williams – I’ve seen pictures of her without a wig and her hair isn’t that bad, but she still wears wigs all the time. She has some really nice wigs, and I love that she wears lots of different ones, and that she’s not afraid to tell everyone about them!
As you can see, most of these female celebrities don’t have severe hair loss – it’s mild to moderate. Why? I think once it gets any worse celebs must immediately start wearing hair and never look back. I can’t imagine only regular people experience severe hair loss – it’s just not logical. I know celebs wear wigs and hairpieces all the time in movies, but half the time I can’t even tell. For example Christina Aguilera wears a wig the whole time in the new movie “Burlesque” that is coming out. Oh and Lady Gaga wears wigs all the time just because she loves them.
I tell myself I can only come up with a handful of female celebrities with known hair loss because there are really good fake hair options out there – so good that no one would ever suspect. What upsets me is that I know these solutions are really expensive:( I also wonder how many celebrities have been able to find a cure for their hair loss with enough money to go to the best doctors and do all the expensive tests most of us can’t afford. There are some other female celebrities that are rumored to have hair loss issues, but I can’t tell for sure – Renee Zellweger, Victoria Beckman, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Bosworth, Kate Beckinsale, Leah Remini, and Nicole Kidman. I’ve also noticed a lot of current fashion models have really thin hair and wide parts. I guess it’s not a surprise since they are so thin and they have their hair styled on an almost daily basis. Eva Longoria has mentioned publicly that she likes to wear wigs, and you can see her in lots of different wigs if you look for them. I don’t know if she actually has hair loss or not. Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce also rumored to have tons of expensive wigs, but I haven’t seen any pictures of them actually show hair loss.
What female celebrities do you know of that have hair loss issues?
I had my second appointment with my latest Dermatologist recently. Last month I begged for a prescription for Spironolactone to treat my hair loss and was denied, and I had very little faith this new doctor would ever prescribe it.
• Test results
My latest test results came back and I don’t have elevated DHEAS-levels. I’m not sure what the doctor was testing that for, but I assume she was ruling out PCOS?
• Propylene Glycol
Since the last appointment, I started taking more Biotin (at least 3000 mcg daily). I also got the prescription for Derma Smooth FS Oil, which is a topical steroid. I was really worried about using it because the side effects include hair loss! I’ve used it a handful of times and sure enough my hair falls out more for a few days after using it. I assume it’s the topical steroid that is causing the shedding. The doctor seemed alarmed when I told her about this and she thinks I could have an allergy to Propylene Glycol, which is in it.
I doubt I have an allergy to Propylene Glycol because I don’t have any signs of Dermatitis, and the ingredient is in all sorts of hair and skin products, which haven’t caused me a problem. Although I guess you could argue that my inflamed scalp (which I couldn’t see) is Dermatitis. Propylene Glycol is also in Rogaine, and I did have a never-ending shed when I went back on Rogaine, but the more obvious conclusion would be that it’s the active ingredient in Rogaine (minoxidil) that caused the shed. Anyway, I guess am supposed to stop the Derma Smoothe for now – the doctor said she would look for a similar product without Propylene Glycol. I checked my shampoos and two of them have that ingredient in it, but none of my other ones do. I was given a sample of a shampoo called “Free & Clear” to try, but I haven’t used it yet.
• No scalp injections
The doctor wanted to do steroid scalp injections but I told her I have a large insurance deductible and it wouldn’t be covered. The injections are supposed to calm the inflammation, which could be making my hair loss worse. I am also still wary of injections because I read they can cause hair loss at the injection site. Also, you can’t do them forever, so even if they worked in the short term, then what? And I have hair loss on my entire head, but you can’t do enough injections to cover everything. And finally I have read almost no studies about steroid shots used for genetic hair loss.
Again I asked for a prescription for Spironolactone, which is supposed to suppress the androgen and DHT activity in your body and decrease testosterone. I have read mixed reviews of Spiro for genetic female hair loss, but I still feel like I should to try it. Somehow the doctor finally agreed to let me try it – a 25mg a day dose. At that low dose, I don’t even know if it will do anything. I’ve read you need to take 100-200mg to see its effects. I’m hoping she will up it to at least 50mg a day. Once she left the room, the nurse came back with the prescription written as 1/2 a tablet a day – which makes it only 12.5mg a day! Because I’m on Yasmin birth control (which has the equivalent of 10mg of Spiro in it), that’s all the doctor wants me to take.
I’m worried I will have bad side effects from it because I seem to react badly to most medication. So far I’ve had a mild headache and feel slightly woozy, but I think that’s all in my head, because I’ve been so nervous it would cause side effects, and if this doesn’t pan out, then I’m almost out of options, and I’ll be bald!
I also asked for a prescription for Propecia/Finasteride just to shock the doctor (and because I want to try it). She wasn’t shocked but claims she’s read studies where it doesn’t work for women and it makes hair loss worse for them. I haven’t read this, but I know it can initially cause more shedding. And so can Spiro – which is why I’m so nervous right now!
• So negative…
After I expressed my concern to the doctor that I was afraid Spiro wouldn’t work or that the side effects would be intolerable, and I said something else I can’t even remember now, the doctor said I was so negative and had to stop thinking so negatively. Really? I’ve had hair loss for 8 years. It’s been getting progressively worse, I’ve lost so much more hair this year alone, I’ve been to 20 doctors and spend thousands and thousands of dollars, I’ve tried sooo many different things and nothing has worked so far. Why wouldn’t I be negative? I’m realistic. I still hold out a glimmer of hope that something will work, but it’s not healthy for me to still think I’ll get all my hair back. I’m one step away from needing supplemental hair – how can I not be negative??
• The hair loss doctor has hair loss
The doctor then told me she’s been dealing with hair loss for ten years! So have the other women in her family. I didn’t have a chance to ask her what she does for her hair, but that’s what I really want to know. She said she’s not going down without a fight. I told her I’ve been fighting for 8 years, but I can’t do it forever. Anyway, it’s rare that you find a female doctor that has hair loss too and is trying to fix it! I’m not sure how old the doctor is, but she looks like she’s in her mid-30s too.
While in New York City last week, I noticed an epidemic of female hair loss! I’m not trying to be rude, but I felt like everyone had thinning hair, and it made me feel “normal” for a few days. Whenever I go out in public, all I look at are women’s heads (I know this is horrible), and here in Las Vegas, I’d say 5-10% of women have noticeable hair loss (noticeable to me, which doesn’t even mean anyone else would notice it).
In New York City, 20-30% of the women I saw had thin hair, and these were women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s – not just post-menopausal women (when hair loss is much more common). What’s going on? I wasn’t in the real touristy parts of town, so most of the women I saw probably live in New York. So many women there had wide parts and thin hair that it was rare when I actually saw someone with thick hair (which is super common here in Las Vegas). Have you seen Mahsa on “The Apprentice?” by the way?
Why is female hair loss so prevalent in New York City? I have no idea for sure, but I have some theories:
This is obvious, but living in New York City is more stressful than a lot of places. Between the expensive cost of living, the crowds and crowded living quarters, the pressure to succeed, etc. – it’s stressful! I felt tense the entire time I was there because there were so many people to deal with, and just crossing the street and almost getting hit by cars every 5 minutes freaked me out. Some doctors say stress is a huge factor in hair loss, while others say it plays a negligible role, but I’m sure ongoing stress does contribute to hair loss – I just don’t know exactly how much. Stress also depletes Vitamin B12, which is necessary for hair growth.
2) Lack of Vitamin D
New York City, like large parts of the United States, doesn’t get enough sunlight most of the year for people to produce adequate Vitamin D. It’s also extremely hard to get enough Vitamin D from your diet, which is why 75% of people in the US are deficient in it! Guess what – lack of Vitamin D causes hair loss! It also contributes to a lot of serious health problems (like Diabetes and autoimmune diseases), which can cause hair loss! The best thing to do is ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D levels via a blood test, and then take supplements as needed. I will write more about this in the future.
3) Lack of Nutrients
Weight-wise, most of the female New Yorkers I saw were on the normal to thin side. But in most parts of the country, 2/3 of people are overweight. Currently my weight is normal for my height, but in order to not gain weight (and I’m always trying to lose some weight), I can’t eat a lot. It’s hard to get all of your required nutrients (like iron) when you have a limited amount of calories to work with, unless you are really disciplined. Of course being overweight sets you up for diseases or need for medication that can cause hair loss, so it’s a fine balance! And since New York is expensive, and fresh produce isn’t as plentiful as a lot of places, it makes it even more difficult to eat well.
Given the amount of people, buildings, and cars crammed into such a tiny island, New York City is bound to be full of unhealthy pollution. I don’t know if pollution directly causes hair loss, but anything that is unhealthy for your body can have a negative impact on your hair. It wasn’t until I was walking through Central Park that I realized what a breath of fresh air (literally) it was to be around trees and nature.
5) Maybe it’s the water?
When I first moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, that’s when I first noticed I had a hair loss problem. A lot of people report first experiencing hair loss upon arrival in a new city. While temporary hair loss could be from the stress of a new city, people always speculate – maybe it’s the water! New York City has some of the best tasting water so you would think that the water is good for your hair – but maybe it’s not. I don’t know what’s in the NY water, but it’s hard to imagine drinking it and showering in it is worse than the LA and Vegas water (which tastes like a swimming pool), but you never know…
6) The Pill?
It’s from watching too much “Sex and the City” that I got this idea. Maybe more New York women are on the pill, or other forms of hormonal contraception? Birth control pills don’t necessarily cause hair loss, but pills that are high in androgens can cause hair loss (at least temporarily). If more women are on the pill in NY, then more women will inadvertently be on pills that cause hair loss. And going off the pill can cause temporary hair loss, and of course some women report having permanent hair loss from the pill.
7) Lack of Wig stores
Before I went to NY, I spent hours researching wig stores online. Because of its size, I assumed New York would be the mecca of supplemental hair. Either very few stores know how to advertise online, or there aren’t a lot of places to buy hair in New York. I found a place called “Wigs and Plus” and it had a fair selection of wigs. Macy’s had a wig salon, which had a small selection of wigs. Otherwise, I couldn’t find any other stores to visit! I wanted to go to Dov Salon, which is supposed to be the premiere place in NY to get a custom topper made, but the cost prevented me from making an appointment. Similarly, Design By Flora in New Jersey is supposed to be a great, but expensive place to get a custom hair piece.
New Yorkers aren’t big on Big Hair
Everyone has hair extensions in Las Vegas and Los Angeles – okay not everyone – but it’s extremely common. Half of the female celebrities in Hollywood wear hair extensions to make their hair longer and thicker, and since so many people do it in Vegas too, it skews my sense of what normal hair looks like. Hair extensions can’t hide a thinning scalp very well, though, but they can camouflage it to some degree. I didn’t see a single New Yorker with hair extensions. So that could be a small reason I saw so many women with thin hair – they weren’t trying to supplement it like they do here.
But what about genetics?
Most doctors and hair loss experts agree that genetics plays the biggest role in hair loss, and they believe that Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA – genetic hair loss) is the most common cause of female hair loss. This is where I get tripped up with my New York discovery. Since I supposedly have AGA, why does my hair look exactly like every other woman’s hair in New York? I have a receding hairline, a large part, and very thin hair – just like the 1000 other young women I saw. So do we all have AGA at a young age, or is something else going on? Do we all have Chronic Telogen Effluvium? Or does the combination of several hair loss-causing factors bring out AGA sooner than it would normally? Or do more New Yorkers have hormone imbalances due to stress, xenohormones from pollution, etc.?
My other far-fetched idea is that maybe more people that are prone to genetic hair loss live in New York. Genetic hair loss spans all races, but I wonder if it’s more common in certain ethnic backgrounds? And maybe that ethnic background is more common in NY. I sort of doubt it, since NY is such a melting pot, but you never know. My dad is from NY, so that’s what got me thinking about this.
Do you have any insight into the New York – female hair loss connection?
After my New York City weekend, all I can say is “Screw big hair – thin is in!”
After I first wrote about wigs and hairpieces, I ended up ordering a cheap synthetic wig – I chose the wig in the picture of the wigs and hairpieces article – “Picture Perfect” by Forever Young. I spent countless hours sorting through all the reviews and pictures of different wig styles and wig colors on VogueWigs.com and I thought I had picked out the “perfect” wig!
Buying my first synthetic wig
Vogue Wigs ended up being out of stock of the color I wanted (F18/22 Dark Ash Blonde frosted with Champagne Blonde) so I got it from WowWigs.com for about $40 plus shipping. When the wig finally came, it looked absolutely horrible on me! The color was terrible on me (it looked like the frosted grayish blonde color Angela had on the 80s sitcom “Who’s The Boss?” and it looked super fake. It was also really thick on the top (but you can always thin it out) and it looked like I had a tall bubble head. From the back the wig looked great, though. Since it was a lot lighter than my natural medium brown color, you could see the sides of my hair peeking out, which made it look even worse.
The only downside of the Glow Girl wig is that it still looks slightly big on top, and there isn’t much of a scalp showing, so that looks sort of fake – most people don’t have enough hair to completely obscure their scalp. And because the wig has nice highlights, I can imagine people asking me where I got my hair done! I’ve wanted nice hair for so many years now, but the flip-side of having great hair is that people are going to notice your wig and ask you where you got your hair cut or colored! Or worse – they’ll ask you where you got your wig:(
I don’t know when I’ll actually wear the wig in public – I need to play around with it more and maybe trim the bangs (which are really long). If I wore it in a ponytail with a headband, I don’t think any strangers would notice I had on a wig. I have dark lighting in my house, though, so I could imagine it would scream “wig” if I went into overly-lit Target or Wal-mart. And in bright sunlight – I don’t know:( Since the wig is thicker than my own hair, and it has so many highlights, it would definitely be obvious to people that I know, and I don’t know what I’d say. I’ll probably try the wig out on Halloween – the greatest day of the year for women with hair loss!
After my first wig buying experience, I haven’t found the hair replacement that looks 100% perfect, but I feel confident there are wigs out there for all women that can look natural enough to instantly give you hair again. Wigs are not without problems and limitations, but if you are embarrassed to be seen with your real hair, I would suggest looking into wigs, hairpieces, and toppers now – most women say their only regret was not wearing hair sooner.
I went shopping for wigs and hairpieces today! My hair loss is progressing so quickly that while last year I thought I still had several more years where I could disguise my hair loss, now I want to be prepared and have a wig or hairpiece ready. Up until a month ago I knew nothing about wearing hair, but since then I’ve been researching clip in toppers, bonded toppers, synthetic vs human hair wigs, clip in bangs, extensions, and all types of supplemental hair. Her Alopecia has a great forum to discuss wigs, toppers, and hair systems. Women’s Hair Loss Project also features forums, and women blogging about their experiences with wearing hair.
I’ve decided if I have to lose my own hair, wouldn’t it be nice to have a great head of hair? I’ve always wanted blonde hair with highlights, but it was too much effort to do it when I was younger, and now that my hair is so thin, I’m afraid to do further damage by trying to lighten it that much. The reason I decided to try on wigs is because I wanted to see what I’d look like with great hair. I also wanted to see if I could pull of being a blonde.
Trying on wigs and hairpieces for the first time
I went to a store that sells nothing but wigs and hairpieces today. The woman that runs it has genetic hair loss, and she’s been wearing wigs for 30 years. Her store carries two brands of synthetic wigs - Noriko and Rene of Paris. I tried on several styles of wigs, and found out most of the wigs look totally different on me than they look on the model in the brochure. Most wigs come with too much hair, and the store will cut and thin out the wig for you to make it look more realistic. Some of the wig hairstyles that look so cute on the model looked horrible on me, so that’s the reason I wanted to try wigs on in person, rather than just buy something straight from the internet. Getting a wig that suits your face shape is essential. I have a long narrow face, like Sarah Jessica Parker, so I found I need hair that is long and full. Also picking a color that complements your skin tone will make the wig look more natural.
The store didn’t have a lot of blonde wigs, but the one I tried on looked bad, so I’m still not quite sure if I can pull off being blonde:( A lot of the wigs come with highlights, and darker roots, so they look a lot more natural than the wigs our moms used to have available to wear. The wigs are really lightweight, however I wasn’t prepared for how tight they felt on my head. They felt secure, though, and the sales woman said none of her clients have ever had a wig come flying off, even in the wind. That’s one of my biggest fears!
Even though my hair is so thin, I still felt it creating bulges under the wig, so I would have to learn how to pin it up better under the wig, or I could just cut it shorter. Also, my real hair was peaking out from the sides of the wigs, and even a little on the top. When I tried on the brown wigs, my real hair blended seamlessly. But with the lighter wigs, I’d have to find a way to make sure all of my real hair was completely under the wig, because otherwise it would be totally obvious that I had on a wig. The other thing that looked unnatural was where the wig met my forehead. It didn’t look quite natural to me, and if the wind was blowing, I’d be afraid you could tell I was wearing a wig.
Before going straight to a wig, I thought my smartest move would be to get a clip-on hairpiece that matches my real hair, so that I can get used to wearing hair, without having to wear a full wig. The clip-on toppers come with little combs that securely attach to your hair. I thought this was a great solution, but the sales woman said they will ruin your hair and cause traction alopecia where the clips are attached. UGH! She said I could attach the hairpiece with bobby pins, but that sounds difficult. I need to research this further. My current goal is to preserve my hair and not cause further damage, just in case I can find a “cure” for my hair loss soon. I’m not ready to give up on my real hair yet. I was told wigs won’t damage my hair underneath at all, but the wigs felt really tight, so it’s hard to imagine they won’t do some sort of damage too.
With the pre-made hairpieces, none of them matched my real hair, so I’d probably need to get one custom made. Even online I couldn’t find a large selection of clip-on hairpieces. There are places in town that make them, but I know they are expensive. A few weeks ago I bought the Jessica Simpson clip-in bangs, but the color wasn’t a match to my hair, and there was a big bump on the top of the bangs, where it clips onto your real hair. I don’t have enough hair to cover up the bump.
A lot of women get hairpieces that are glued or taped to theirs heads. The toppers can stay on for a week at a time, or even longer, and they seamlessly match your hair if you have them custom made. I might end up going this route, but I will find a place locally that does it. There are places like Hair Direct that will make custom pieces for you, but I don’t trust my skills in being able to figure out measurements and colors and thickness on my own.
Where I go from here
For now I’ll probably buy a cheap wig online from Vogue Wigs. The brand Forever Young sells really cute wigs for less than $50 – the picture you see here is the wig I’m probably going to buy. Now that I know what style and color looks good on me, I’ll choose a light brown color with blonde highlights. I am going to “practice” with it by wearing it to places I don’t usually go to, or maybe I’ll wear it when I’m out of town and don’t know anyone. Can you wear a wig while doing yoga and exercising? How do you handle getting a wig that’s drastically different from your real hair? – everyone will know! I don’t think you can swim in synthetic wigs - what do you do if you want to have a fun-filled beach getaway? These are all questions I don’t yet have answers to (and these are the reasons hair loss sucks)!
Tell me your experiences with wearing wigs, hairpieces, toppers, etc.!
A lot of women are told the cause of their hair loss is all in their head, but what if it truly is? Silver mercury amalgam fillings in your teeth are a possible culprit of hair loss. Do you have mercury fillings in your mouth right now?
At this point I’ve been researching hair loss for about 10 years, and I’ve had so many different tests, and ruled out almost all causes of my hair loss. Chances are it’s just genetic, but what I haven’t been able to rule out yet are my silver amalgam fillings (which contain mercury). I have a lot of silver fillings left – at least 10 that I haven’t needed to replace yet with white composite fillings. I started getting silver put in my mouth at age 13 and I’ve had a lot of fillings. When I was a kid I got silver ones because that’s what the dentist used, and when I was in college, I also got silver fillings because they were cheaper. I also have a gold crown next to a silver filling, which is supposedly really bad.
What’s wrong with mercury fillings?
Mercury is an extremely toxic element. The great debate is whether or not amalgam fillings pose any harm to you. Did you know that while amalgam fillings are used in the United States all the time, they are banned in some countries due to safety concerns? Amalgam fillings leach mercury vapors into your mouth every day, but some experts say the amount is negligible, and poses no harm, while other experts say this amount is extremely hazardous to your health.
But the American Dental Association (ADA) says amalgam fillings are safe. If a dentist suggests removing your amalgam fillings for health reasons, the dentist can be expelled from the ADA and lose their license, so most dentists are going to tell you they are perfectly safe. I’ve asked every dentist I’ve ever had if mercury fillings are safe and they all say yes. Do I believe them? No. Did you know that when mercury fillings are removed from your mouth, they are disposed as hazardous waste? Scary! Another crazy fact: dentists have one of the highest suicide rates of all professions. Mercury poisoning can cause depression and suicide. Remember the Mad Hatter from “Alice In Wonderland”? – mercury was used in hat making at one time, and neurological damage is another side effect of mercury poisoning.
Mercury and hair loss
So what does all of this have to do with hair loss – mercury poisoning causes hair loss. It also causes a host of other major health problems like autoimmune diseases, and it brings on diseases that you are genetically predisposed to getting. Mercury can also cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, thyroid problems, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus. Very common mercury ailments, besides hair loss, include: depression, numbness and tingling, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, difficulty making decisions, ringing in the ears, and irritability.
So mercury causes all of these horrible problems, but again the question is whether mercury fillings cause the same problems. That’s something I can’t answer, but I am guessing YES! I urge you to do your own research about mercury to decide for yourself. Not everyone is going to have a sensitivity to mercury, though. And people can have different thresholds to how much mercury in their body causes a problem.
Why haven’t I taken out my silver fillings yet?
There’s nothing I want more than to replace all of my mercury fillings with white composite fillings, but I haven’t done it yet. I’ve had several replaced in the past when bigger fillings were needed, and luckily I chose white ones then for aesthetic purposes. I only learned about the connection between hair loss and mercury a few years ago. I haven’t gone out of my way to replace any mainly because of money. It costs a lot to get them replaced, and I don’t have dental insurance (just a dental discount plan). Even though I know for a fact mercury causes hair loss, I do not know if removing my fillings will make my hair grow back. There are so many things I’ve already tried to fix that I was sure would bring back my hair (taking iron pills, fixing my low thyroid, eating better, exercising more, reducing stress) and nothing has worked, so chances are my luck will be no better with the mercury removal either.
I do believe I have a sensitivity to mercury because I have sooo many symptoms of mercury toxicity. Of course half of the symptoms are the same as those of depression, Hypothyroid and hormone imbalances, so who knows what’s what. Ironically, mercury causes all of these problems too! Also every time I eat fish with a lot of mercury (like ahi tuna) I get tingling fingers and arms, which is a sign of mercury poisoning. But it could be a coincidence. I now stay away from fish high in mercury. Finally, I first got my fillings at age 13 and didn’t notice any health problems until I was around 18, and it wasn’t until age 20 that I saw an increase in hair shedding. I was continuing to get new fillings every year after age 13, so maybe I finally reached a threshold where I had enough to cause problems, or maybe they have nothing to do with anything…
Another reason I haven’t removed all my fillings yet is because removing mercury fillings can cause even more problems. When they’re removed, they emit even more vapors into your mouth, and a lot of people report getting really sick from the removal. I’ve had so many health problems in the past, and I’ve always wondered if they happened when I got new silver fillings, or got them out, but I just can’t remember if the events coincided. Also, ideally you should find a dentist that believes silver fillings are bad and knows how to remove them properly – in the correct sequence, and using proper safety measures. In the book “It’s All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness,” the author explains this, and explains how to take them out, and how to chelate afterwards, and the whole things sounds so complicated, and if you do it wrong, you could end up worse off in the end! Jeez. I also worry the removal could cause more hair shedding initially, and you shouldn’t get all the fillings out at once, so the whole process could take a year.
Have you had your silver fillings removed? What happened? A lot of people online do report seeing their hair come back after removing their fillings! Of course, there could be more than one underlying cause of someone’s hair loss (mercury fillings plus genetics) so removing the fillings might help somewhat, but it’s not going to solve the genetic part. The amount of suffering I’ve gone through over the past 15 years from various health problems and hair loss (the worst of them all) has taken a real toll on me – what if it was all because of some stupid silver in my mouth?!!!
Toppik Protein Hair Building Fibers is the first thinning hair ”cover-up” product that I’ve tried. It gives you the illusion of more hair, and minimizes your hair’s thin and balding areas. I’ve been using it almost every day for the last month, and it does a good job of hiding my ever-widening scalp.
What is Toppik? It feels like a powder, but technically it’s little fibers made from keratin. The product application is super easy – you just shake the jar over your dry head and the fibers magically stick to your hair, masking thinning areas. I only use it on my wide part, and thinning areas in the front. In before and after pictures, people are shown with really large bald areas that are able to be filled in with Toppik. I wonder how realistic this would actually look – but I know most people with varying degrees of hair loss do give Toppik rave reviews.
I would definitely recommend trying Toppik to disguise any thinning areas. It comes in 8 different colors, to match a variety of hair colors. I got the light brown, and it blends in really well with my hair, and I don’t feel it at all once it’s in my hair. After reading the Toppik instructions, I realized it also recommends use of Toppik FiberHold Spray, which is essentially hairspray. I wasn’t able to track down the ingredients of this product to see if it’s any better for your hair than regular hairspray. Lately I’ve become desperate and started to use hairspray to give my hair some volume, and keep everything in place. I know hairspray is bad for hair, but I started balding years ago, and it wasn’t from styling products, because I hardly ever used any. Anyway, without using hairspray, Toppik still seems to stay in your hair.
I have really dark, flattering lighting in my bathroom, and I try not to look at other mirrors too often! Toppik looks super natural when I look at myself at home, but I was at Target today trying on hats, and I noticed my scalp looked a little reddish-brown. It wasn’t that noticeable, but it did look slightly unnatural. So now I wonder if I shouldn’t use as much Toppik? Otherwise, there’s no way to tell I was wearing anything on my hair – the fibers are undetectable.
Using Toppik can get annoying if you are also using Rogaine, or another topical product, and you don’t wash your hair once a day. When you apply Rogaine, it negates the disguising features of Toppik, so you have to apply Toppik again after the Rogaine. And if you don’t wash your hair every day – it will surely start to get extra dirty.
If you don’t use a topical hair growing product, most of the Toppik will stay on overnight while you’re sleeping. I haven’t noticed it rubbing off on my pillows at all, but I don’t use that much of it. Here’s the psychological problem with Toppik – when you take a shower, and you then look at yourself in the mirror without your masked balding areas, you sort of freak out. When I’m wearing Toppik and I look at my reflection, I start to think maybe I don’t have as big of a problem as I thought, but the minute the Toppik is washed out, I totally freak out again. In reality, though, Toppik just makes you freak out half as often!
What happens when you wear Toppik in the rain?? I have no idea because I live in Vegas and it never rains here. Toppik claims that it can withstand the rain, wind, and sweat without running, smearing, or staining. I have a feeling it will dissolve in the rain, because adding a little Rogaine makes it disappear, but I don’t know for sure yet. I would definitely test it in a small area before wearing it on my entire head in the rain. I’m also sure you can’t swim with it, which is too bad, because swimming is one of my favorite activities.
Toppik isn’t that cheap, but it’s worth the price. I got the .36 oz size for about $22, and I expect it to last a few months since I don’t use a lot. It also comes in larger sizes, which makes it cheaper per use, and it comes in an even smaller trial size.
Toppik is definitely worth trying if you’re embarrassed by your thin areas or widening hair part. It won’t cure your hair loss, but it will make it appear better. Have you tried it? What do you think? *Buy Toppik Protein Hair Building Fibers*
There are several causes of hair loss in women and men – is your hair loss due to genetics? Do you have pattern hair loss – Androgenetic Alopecia? Many people with overall hair thinning struggle for years trying to determine if their hair loss is due to something temporary (Telogen Effluvium) or due to genetics (Androgenetic Alopecia). There’s now a genetic test for hair loss!
Genetic Test For Hair Loss
There’s a company called HairDX that does genetic testing to predict whether or not you will experience genetic hair loss, and how severe it will be. You can do the test at any time - before you even notice any hair loss, or as a diagnostic test to determine if your current thinning is due to genetics. For many people, especially women, they can go for years not knowing if they are experiencing chronic “temporary” hair loss, or if they in fact have pattern hair loss, an inherited trait.
For the past 8 years, I’ve been convinced I had chronic Telogen Effluvium from low iron, an underactive thyroid, poor nutrition, etc., because I was shedding a lot of hairs daily, and I didn’t show any signs of genetic hair loss (miniaturized hairs). It wasn’t until this year that I started to see the signs of Androgenetic Alopecia – miniaturized hairs, and a receding hairline. And because both of my parents have thinning hair, I’m now 99% certain I have genetic hair loss.
I haven’t done the HairDX genetic test, and I’m not sure if I will or not. The test itself is simple – on the HairDX website, you find a doctor in your area, and the doctor does a simple cheek swab, which gets sent to HairDX for analysis. You then receive a score that tells you your likelihood of developing genetic hair loss, and how severe it will likely be. If you already have hair loss, and the test comes back positive as being predisposed to genetic hair loss, then you will know that genetics are the cause of your hair loss (or at least part of the cause).
Should You Do The Genetic Hair Loss Test?
From the research I’ve done, I believe the HairDX test is accurate. You might want to do your own research about genetic testing to learn more about it. Why haven’t I done the HairDX test yet? I’m scared to death to find out the results! I’m 99% sure I have genetic hair loss, but I’m afraid to find out how severe it will be in the future. I might do the test one day, but I’m too scared right now. However, I think the test is a great tool for anyone that is trying to determine the cause of their hair thinning. Scalp biopsies done by Dermatologists are one way to determine the cause of hair loss, but I’ve read so many varying reports of their accuracy, and different pathologists and doctors will read the same results differently. The best diagnostic approach would be to do a scalp biopsy, plus the HairDX test. I haven’t done a scalp biopsy either because no Dermatologist has been willing to do one on me, and I don’t want to waste the money, and go through the pain, if the results will be wrong.
The HairDX test only predicts your likelihood of developing Androgenetic Alopecia – it doesn’t test any other types of hair loss like Alopecia Areata, traction Alopecia, or scarring Alopecia.
The cost of the test is between $150 and $250, depending on what your doctor charges you.
Do you want to know if you have the balding gene???
The theory behind genetic testing is that if you are going to experience genetic hair loss, it’s better to be proactive and start treatment as soon as possible because it’s easier to prevent hair loss, rather than try to reverse it. Plus you will know the correct treatments to do (I will talk about hair loss treatments in other posts). If I had a thick, full head of hair, I wouldn’t bother with the testing. But at the first signs of thinning, if I wasn’t scared, I would do the test. Tell me – do you want to know if you have genetic hair loss, or will develop it in the future???