My Hair Thinning Journey

4/18/2022

Beauty, Wellness

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On the heels of my Instagram Live with Nutrafol & expert dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell where we discussed all things regarding hair thinning, I want to have a place for this important topic to live.  Not only for the benefit of my beloved TTL community, but for anyone out there struggling with thinning or shedding hair.  You are not alone darlings. At least 50% of people will experience noticeable hair loss in their life. This is something that can affect us all – women or men; young or old; and it is blind to race.  

Common Causes of Hair Thinning or SheddingCommon causes of hair thinning are: 

  • Genetic
  • Stress
  • Hormones (e.g. due to pregnancy and menopause)
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Poor Diet 
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Medication

My Journey

Anyone who is currently or has in the past experienced thinning hair I know your pain and frustration all too well.  There are a number of factors that can lead to thinning hair or shedding.  In my case when I was 31-32 yrs old I was under extreme stress and consumed with sadness leading to what I can now clearly identify as depression.  I left my daughter’s father, I had no home, no job, no car, and now a single mom with two impressionable daughters to raise (May in middle school & Xia in elementary).  For the first time after leaving home at 18yrs old I was back living with my parents.  Most days all I could do was take my babies to school, come home, crawl under the blanket and wait for the afternoon to pass.  Finally 2:30 would roll around, I’d muster up my lil strength, get in the car my parents let me borrow and give myself a pep talk so my girls wouldn’t see Mommy hurting. 

After nearly a year of not paying attention to myself, not eating properly, and getting less than adequate sleep I was wasting away.  My family tried their best to help me, but it wasn’t until I bumped into a close friend that I had my wake up call.  She casually said, ‘T what’s happened to your hair?? Did you cut it?? It’s all gone!!’  Hearing those jarring words broke me. Like it was a huge gut punch!!  While I did not & do not attach my identity to my hair those around me did and I suppose still do.  It felt like I hit rock bottom.  Here I am, giving my power to a toxic relationship, mourning the woman that would accept a life of being disrespected in every way a person could and for what??  In my mind I was like ‘you finally found the courage to escape him AND NOW you’re gonna let him take your hair?!’  I went home and looked in the mirror and for the first time really saw ME – it was a devastating moment.  My body was a hollow shell and my hair was indeed tragically thin and unhealthy.  

Hair LossMy Turning Point

I would say seeing my friend was a turning point.  I can clearly remember telling myself to get my shit together and find my appetite for life again!!  Shed the self-pity, begin finding ways to bring a measure of joy back to life.  Bit by bit and day by day I fought my way back.  Eventually I was able to conquer the multi-headed beast that was bringing me unrelenting stress: I sued & won full custody of my daughters, I began training as a corporate flight attendant, we moved into a property my parents owned, I even found love again.  As I was healing from the inside out my hair began to grow back.  Mike, my husband, will see early pictures of us and say, ‘Baby see, that’s you with unhappy hair and that’s you in-love with happy hair again.’   I found my appetite, both literally and figuratively.  

I share this story with you all to say that hair loss can be multifactorial. For me, it was triggered by extreme stress which then was compounded by a poor diet and lack of sleep. While I do believe in taking supplements and hair serums to assist with hair thinning, this experience also made me realize that I had to make important lifestyle changes to better manage my stress and improve my diet and sleep. A pill alone would not have solved the root cause of my hair loss. 

Hair Thinning Questions

  • Can medication cause hair loss? Yes, a side effect of some medications can be hair loss. Talk to your doctor if you suspect a medication you take is causing hair loss.
  • Can hair loss be caused by hysterectomy or menopause? Absolutely. A change in hormones is one of the common causes of hair loss.
  • Is it true that COVID causes hair thinning? Fever or illness can cause temporary hair loss. This is called telogen effluvium caused when higher than normal amounts of hair enter the shedding phase of a hair’s growth lifecycle. Individual’s experiencing hair loss during the pandemic also increased due to the unusually high level of stress so many people experienced.

Have you experienced hair loss? What solutions have you found to help?

  1. I’ve had to manage my weight and dietary more.
    The medications were decreased but the menopause, hormonal changes, stress of my job definitely plays a major role. When in control I see less shedding and more growth in places where it falls out completely. I’m being brave this month. I tossed every clip in and every wig. I am embracing my survival of cancer, my menopause journey, my need to focus on me more in exercise, dietary, and health to encourage myself and hopefully inspire someone else. I don’t share on social media but in life and ministry.

  2. Yvette Strickland says:

    Hello,
    I am experiencing extreme hair loss and shedding. What hair products or vitamin supplements did you use to stop the hair loss. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to cut my hair at this point. PLEASE HELP

  3. Shirley says:

    Menopause has caused my hair too thin I try everything, i’ve been using henna sooq hair mask to strengthen my hair

  4. Dawn Augusta says:

    Thank you for sharing this candid journey. You go deep into a vulnerable place that so many women can relate to, yet we rarely share ‘in the trenches’ stories. Thank you for being both a role model and super model, sis!

    @lady.lighthouse

  5. Angela Stenson says:

    Over the last 5 years, medication and the relocation to 2 different states effected my hair horribly. Two and a half years ago I began taking hair vitamins, collagen, blood builder and began using olaplex along with trimmed ends every 4 to 8 weeks. When the Pandemic began, I decided to restart and grow my gray hair out. Now, I have a new head of hair minus the 2 inches of color that remain. My hair is fuller and healthier after two years. Currently, I recently began eating more whole plant-based foods, so I am looking forward to how my hair changes within a year!

  6. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for sharing. 💚

  7. Tracy Parrish says:

    Yes! A combination of having a thyroidectomy and my Rheumatoid arthritis… My medications cause it but I try to limit my stress to lessen it. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Keisha says:

    Currently experiencing it. Extremely frustrating cuz my doctor says my hormones are fine & I dont think I’m stressed. Just getting closer to 50 is all I can figure. Thanks for sharing & providing insight.

  9. Yes 🙌🏾 all of this! Had a hysterectomy- hair loss, mama to twins – hair loss, anytime I get a common cold and take ingestible medicine my hair will hit the ground faster than I can sit.

    I guard my heart and health like they are gold💛

    Beautifullly truthful post🤎

  10. Denise says:

    I’m on aromatase inhibitor for Estrogen positive breast cancer. It strips my body of estrogen to prevent cancer recurrence. My hair has thinned considerably. I’ve cut short and encourage the curl to hide my scalp.

  11. Karla Price says:

    My thinning hair seems to have come along with menopause but not so sure because also started blood pressure medicine about six years ago and in a very stressful situation for some years. Praying for a solution!!!

  12. Nathalie says:

    What a amazing story, I needed to read that. I have been in a funk for the pass few days , it’s not like me at all. This one took over. Today I decided I’m not doing this, and after reading your story. It’s a confirmation. Have a Blessed day. ❤️

  13. Terryl says:

    Menopause is destroying my hair and body

  14. Angie says:

    Hi,
    Yes my hair use to be so thick and full! However, menopause has left me with thin frail short hair. I’m balding in the top like a man 🥲

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I’m a clean beauty expert, a plant-based recipe guru, a fashion maven, and a mature black woman embracing my natural hair, silver streaks and all.

Welcome, I'm Tennille Murphy