woman who have suffered hair loss

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Hair rant!

If like me, you’ve lived in the UAE for a few years, you would have probably, at some point, worried about your hair falling out. You may have been in the shower (fitted with a drain filter!) and felt a handful of hair in your hands when washing, seen clumps of it in the sink, or noticed the volume of your ponytail is not what it used to be. For me, it started when I moved to the UAE 7 years ago. The timing also coincided with me coming off the pill.   

My hair has always been fine and thin. It has never been amazing. I first realized that my hair was falling out when I was in my bathroom standing under a particularly harsh light. When I looked into the mirror, I could see my scalp. My hair was so thin, I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten. I began to panic and felt like I was losing a big part of myself.   

I’ve been told on many occasions and by various sources that there are three main causes of hair loss in the UAE. The first is the water quality. I don’t believe that one—you obviously need to buy a water filter for your shower. Sigh. The second cause is that the nutrients you need to stay healthy and maintain good hair are not found in the food over here due to it being grown in the desert. And lastly, the desert heat and the harsh summer humidity takes the life out of your hair.

But for me, there was a different reason. My hair was falling out because I have androgenic alopecia. Although, I’m not entirely sure of the reason it got triggered, I suspect it’s probably due to coming off of the hormonal birth control pills I was on, post-partum hair loss, and there’s probably a genetic predisposition in there somewhere as well.

So, what is androgenic alopecia? It’s a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Women generally experience a general thinning of hair all over their scalp but tends to be more extensive at the crown.  

I’m not going to lie; it’s been a hard few months getting my head around the fact my hair is falling out more and only seems to be getting worse. There have been a lot of stress and tears. But with the help of my very supportive husband, I’m getting there. I’ve been educating myself, taking back control with the way I look, and trying to look at the positives. My hair loss journey is just starting, but I have learned a few things already along the way that I’d like to share:

  • Hair loss in women happens to around 40% of all woman at some point in their lives. We just don’t talk about it.
  • Instagram is full of amazing woman from the hair loss community who are incredible and super positive about the journey they’ve been on.
  • There is a number of options, from wearing alternative hair, to hair fibers, root shadows, and hair accessories, to choose from. I became an expert at making my hair look fuller over the years anyway. Now, it’s just been taken a step further.  
  • You have to discover your own path and find what suits you.
  • Not all alternative hair options are created equal—online shopping has its drawbacks. You won’t love everything you order.  
  • You still have to look and feel like you. You might have to customize the hair piece(s) that you purchase. Not everything will look amazing on you right out of the box.  
  • Life is too short to spend all your time going down the rabbit hole of the internet only to end up feeling depressed about your hair. There are loads of amazing options out there to make you feel better. Take advantage of them.

Wearing alternative hair has given me back some of my confidence. It’s made me feel like me again and also ensures that I don’t have bad hair days anymore! Another good tip—stay away from harsh bathroom lights.

About the Author:
Kathryn O’Sullivan
Health & Safety Manager

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