Photo: Wellcome Images. CC by 4.0
Right, well that’s been a pretty crap three weeks. An ear and sinus infection has meant I’ve barely been able to look at a screen outwith working hours so my apologies for the lack of posts. And a big thank you to the NHS for sorting me out.
Followed straight away by a big boo to doctors.
When I went to my local GP to see about my receding hair, I was sent away with a blood test and a flea in my ear, made to feel quite silly for caring about such a thing. If there was nothing wrong with my blood levels (there wasn’t), the only alternative was to go private. Consequently, I didn’t bother and turned to Boots (which you can read about here).
I’ve been using minoxidil for about four months now and really, I can’t see much difference. (When I looked at my photos, I realized how useless a snapper I am so even more apologies for not uploading them.) There are a few baby fine hairs on my right temple, but they’re sporadic and patchy. Certainly not worth the £95.96 I’ve forked out – even with Boots points.
I have had success elsewhere, however. I’m 99 per cent certain that the fine down on the sides of my cheeks as well as my sideburns has grown. There’s a definite shimmer when the sunlight grabs it. Again, not really what I wanted.
Worse, though, my skin has been terrible since using it. I’ve developed a terrible rosacea-like redness and really horrendous spots. Since it got worse, I’ve used a system of trial and error, discarding any new skincare treatments I’ve tried during that time, but to no avail. The only constant has been minoxidil. I may not want a Bobby Charlton combover but a Cousin It was looking very tempting…
So when I went to see some skincare experts a few weeks ago, I was a little worried about what they would see. Too many memories of snooty women at cosmetic counters….
Turns out, however, they were also the people behind Nourkrin hair loss tablets and kindly offered me – without any knowledge that I had a blog – some to try out after having such a bad time.
Nourkrin is a food supplement that you take twice a day after meals and restores the natural growth cycle of your hair. It’s not cheap, but the outlay, worked out over the six months they advise you to take it (the length of the growth cycle), is only about £5 more a month than I was spending on the minoxidil. Which probably works out equal to the minoxidil plus the amount of foundation I was having to use. Plus, unlike minoxidil, some users can stop taking them after six months, if the condition has been caused by stress or so on and that has now stopped.
But actually better than the tablets, they told me I wasn’t alone.
It seems an incredible 60 per cent of women will suffer from some form of hair loss – a fact I had to hear from a men, because women are too embarrassed to discuss it.
“That’s the problem,” they said. “Men grow up seeing their fathers lose hair or go bald and know they have a good chance of following. Women don’t see that.”
Spot on. My mam’s hair has thinned – but only once she got into her 80s and she’s still got more than enough to rock a pretty good fringed bob (which was a bit scary when I last went home and realised I’d been eyeing up exactly the same style for myself).
Nor is female hair loss as cut and dry as it is with men. There are a load of factors that can play a part: hormones, pregnancy, stress, diet, even how we style our hair (Mo Mowlem once said she blamed her trendy bandana for her hair not growing back around the hairline. Turns out, she was probably right). And it’s not always permanent. Get help early on and you may be able to reverse the damage.
So don’t be fobbed off as vain or petty.
It’s also important that we know we’re not alone. Knowing that almost two-thirds of us will suffer has helped me a lot. This isn’t me being a freak; it’s me being a normal woman. Very normal.
I’m still not going gently into that good night, but I’m not as bothered about this effect of aging as I was and not sweating about it any more – and I have to say, my hair is looking better since starting these tablets. I no longer have to yank out great big hairballs from the shower drain (you’re not eating, are you?) and my hair looks thick and healthy. Hopefully the tablets will stop it receding, but I’m happy with how my hair is and I’ve got long bangs now which have stopped me feeling so exposed around my forehead and that has helped ease the stress. Hand on heart, I do think all this is helping.
And best of all, now I’m don’t have volcanoes exploding on my face.
One other thing I have to thank – along with the doctor who recommended it – is cold tar shampoo. Just to add to the delights of a receding forehead, what hair I did have has been hit with this bizarre form of dandruff. It’s in a tiny little patch right at the front of my head only it didn’t snow but stuck to the locks. Thanks to Capasal, it’s now gone. I use it twice a week – followed by conditioner – and then the other times I wash my hair, I use Cien Pro Vitamine Shampoo Repair & Care from Lidl (yes, you read that. This is an honest blog). It’s great stuff and leaves my hair soft but not floppy useless and unable to hold a style.
But the biggest thing I want to say is – women, you are not alone. My lovely Ines de la Fressange lookalike who I saw on the tube also had hair loss around her parting and she looked stunning.
So can we.