While observing myself and my clients, It has been my experience that there is a Cycle of Acceptance that we all go through, when we experience hair loss and then also with our eventual decision to wear hair.
I see the cycle as two circles, one larger with a smaller circle in the center of it. We must travel them both to get to a place of peace with our hair loss. This cycle is a journey that is deeply personal, that everyone must take their time to complete.
The first circle is where we notice that something is changing with our hair: we may look different in photos, we might notice a shrinking pony tail and having to loop the hairband one extra time. Something is changing and this begins to occupy our thoughts. We may start to collect or count the hairs that are left on the bathroom counter or in our brushes. We start to closely watch the weather, how windy, rainy or sunny will it be today.
As the hair loss continues, we become aware of where we are sitting in large gatherings or restaurants, because the light may be reflecting off of our scalps. We may start using topical powders or sprays to give the appearance of more hair and hope we do not get an itch, because we will then disrupt our “cover up”, but, also our fingernails will look like we spent the afternoon in the garden.
My clients have shared that their vacation choices begin to change, eliminating anything with a beach or pool, because they fear the transparency of a wet scalp. Some of my clients have depression or anxiety set in over the worry of their hair loss. Then online searches begin for help with solutions, which hopefully lead to a physician that can provide a diagnosis.
The first circle represents the acceptance of your hair loss progression, while starting to look for answers and solutions. Both circles have their set of turbulent emotions including, fear, anger, sadness, and finally the acceptance of this is as a new normal. Guilt is also common with hair loss, as every client who sits in my chair at some point says, “I know there are bigger problems in the world so I should not be so concerned about my hair loss…”
ALL Feelings Are Validated when it comes to Hair Loss.
Your hair is a body part. Period. You have a right to feel all of what you are feeling when you lose your hair, but you also have choices and can do something about it.
Enter the second circle of acceptance; this circle is about discovering your options and finding a solution that works for you. In this circle, you will hopefully have had a medical diagnosis that is often determined by a biopsy. Your diagnosis will help determine your attachment method of your hair replacement system.
The main concern is if you have active inflammation, which will determine if it is safe to wear a long term attachment method. I recommend meeting with a hair restoration specialist who can help you navigate through all of the different options when it comes to wearing hair.
It saddens me to hear that new clients have spent thousands of dollars on shampoos, powders and hair systems that did not work for them.
This can be avoided by working with professionals who can guide you to the best solution for you. There is hope and relief when we find solutions that work for us.
The last part of our journey is wearing our new hair out into the world. If my clients are in a daily wear system, I recommend that they start wearing their hair at home, venture out to the mail box or take small trips to the store to get comfortable with their new hair in small steps.
Your confidence will build over time and the hair system will become part of you and you will not feel right without it. There is hope, you can get back to feeling like yourself again.