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Dark Star
November 1st, 2013, 09:31 AM
Hey there! It is, "Dark Star" here and as I have not been around for awhile and don't have time to be here much, I finally checked back on some responses I received but this excerpt (via the lovely and totally well-meaning, "Siiri"), in particular, has me thinking I am going to have to shave my head:

"Good to hear that you found out about the deficiency and can now treat it. Remember that while the length you have now won't benefit from the iron supplement you are taking at the moment, it will help the new growth."

Does this mean that my nearly waist-length hair is going to stay feeling like thinned-strand, frizzy straw and breaking like mad with white dots everywhere--even AFTER the deficiency is corrected because that is too awful to imagine? That would take several years to grow out. I am not sure this is the case and an hoping it isn't but I found a very insightful article written by an Australian trichologist regarding iron-deficient hair that seems to conflict with the above response I got: http://www.hairlossclinic.com.au/articles/Iron_Deficiency_and_Hair_Loss.html The doctor goes on to say: "...the quality/lustre of the hair should re-emerge..."

It was also asked why I do apple cider vinegar rinses. Because my hair likes them plus it helps with the hard water I have where I live. Also, I believe they do clarify to an extent; I have certainly noticed this to be my experience but for harder cases of build-up, probably not.

I am busily freaking out right now though to be much focused on other things. Surely if a head of hair can become like this from an iron-deficiency, it can then NOT become like this from correcting one--I don't mean the new hair, I mean the old hair, my length as it is now. I will be regularly trimming it but that is all I am hoping to have to do.

I have decided not to deep condition much anymore and I won't be bothering with a leave-in anymore. And my hair seems to HATE oils since this has happened and I have tried several now. I am using, "Mastey's Moisturee' line and while I managed to score the more intensive conditioner here in the U.K. (the company has ceased to distribute their products here) my father is having to mail me the shampoo and detangler from the States. "Mastey" (as well as, "Focus 21") are what I used before I went to, "Aubrey". As far as I can tell, so far, "Mastey" is just as good as always and man, does that stuff still detangle like a son-of-a-gun! The "Frehair Daily Detangler" was the ONLY product I ever used that seemed to simply melt all the tangles and snarls away. Expensive products though but I will only be using them a few times a week and I bought good-sized bottles.

Anyway, I really appreciate the advice I received as always. You are all so sweet. I just really need some clarification here because what is the point in keeping hair that is already damaged this much after a couple of months of the iron-deficiency affecting my hair? I don't want to have to cut it all off. That would make me a very sad, unhappy woman. But the texture of my hair length is just awful with this having happened and it is a real horror show to think that will not go away once my iron levels are back up. I am aware that can take months for the overall body (including the hair) to improve but that is better than--well...never.

lapushka
November 1st, 2013, 09:35 AM
"Good to hear that you found out about the deficiency and can now treat it. Remember that while the length you have now won't benefit from the iron supplement you are taking at the moment, it will help the new growth."[/I]

Does this mean that my nearly waist-length hair is going to stay feeling like thinned-strand, frizzy straw and breaking like mad with white dots everywhere--even AFTER the deficiency is corrected because that is too awful to imagine? That would take several years to grow out.

I think so, yes. It's not going to affect the hair that's already grown out, but it will affect the new growth. In any case, you can only wait and see.

gossamer
November 1st, 2013, 09:40 AM
The hair that's grown out of your head already is dead. Changing your nutrition won't fix your length because the nutrients won't have any way of reaching the hair.

What maybe will change is your scalp's ability to produce healthy oils, which if brushed through your length may help it behave better. This won't change the underlying condition of those hairs, however. So aside from that, conditioning, frequent trims/ S&D, and patience are all that can be done about the hair you already have.

The good news is that the hair you're growing now will be in much better condition, and may even grow faster if your nutrient deficiencies have been sorted out.

Dark Star
November 1st, 2013, 09:57 AM
"The hair that's grown out of your head already is dead. Changing your nutrition won't fix your length because the nutrients won't have any way of reaching the hair."

Maybe it is because this is not what I want to hear--but I have trouble believing this. Hair is dead, yes, but this hair that is of my length was already 'dead' when the iron-deficiency affected it. So why can it not be advantageously affected then once that deficiency has been rectified? Indeed, people have reversed grey hairs (long ones) in a matter of weeks by implementing things such as blackstrap molasses and grain grasses like wheat and barley into their diets. Nutrients nourish the follicle which that hair is still attached to. Case in point, while I had great hair, when I was taking a B-complex vitamin for several months, those locks got even better and my individual strands appeared thicker and stronger making my whole head of hair really happy. Another example is pregnancy. We know it can change the hair you already have for better or worse. While my hair got shinier and thicker (yes, you shed less while preggo, I get that because I later had quite a post-partum shedding!) a friend of mine's got super-dry and tangled. Once she had her baby and her hormones settled down, after a few months, her hair returned to normal.

Even since I have been on my iron-rich regime these past couple of weeks and before I changed my hair care products to, "Mastey"--my hair's overall feeling and thickness has improved some. There is also the fact that a bona fide hair doctor has stated differently. I should further add that a woman documenting her iron-deficiency anemia and its affect on her body as well as her hair, stated that after a few months of treatment, her hair's texture, feel and normal elasticity had been restored. She was not the only one either.

I'm just saying though I am not as hair-oriented (and thus, as knowledgeable) as some of you are here.

In2wishin
November 1st, 2013, 10:22 AM
"The hair that's grown out of your head already is dead. Changing your nutrition won't fix your length because the nutrients won't have any way of reaching the hair."

Maybe it is because this is not what I want to hear--but I have trouble believing this. Hair is dead, yes, but this hair that is of my length was already 'dead' when the iron-deficiency affected it. So why can it not be advantageously affected then once that deficiency has been rectified?

As gossamer said, nutritional deficiencies affect the scalp and the oils/sebum it produces to condition the hair. Your iron deficiency affected your scalp which made your hair texture worse. Fixing it will help your scalp which will help your hair. It is physically impossible for a change in diet to change the internal structure of hair that died 2-3 years ago (assuming the average growth rate of 6" per year)

Tea Lady
November 1st, 2013, 10:36 AM
I think you can work with what you have without doing anything drastic. Small trims, yes, but nothing severe. I am dealing with a similar concern. I had a bad thinning (androgenic alopecia) that I am working with a doctor to correct (good success so far!). But the thing is that my length had thinned out so much because of this. I do have new shorties coming in on my scalp. They are about an inch long now. However, compared to the rest of my length this is a tiny amount of growth. My length is mid-thigh. Only time will bring these new shorties to the same length - a lot of time. So do I cut everything off (give up)? No. I am going to trim small amounts every now and then, but I am going to keep the length. I just have to try to not think about the fact that the length reflects the terrible thinning I had. Some of the hemline thinning I have could be because I am possibly at terminal length, but since this is the first time I am growing to longer than classic, I am not sure.

There is a product that my doctor recommended which is helping with the appearance of my hair. It is a treatment she recommended to me for my thinning, since I simply could not tolerate the side effects of Rogaine. It is called Nioxin Diamax Thickening Xtrafusion Treatment. It works to help thicken the hair. Although you are concerned about a different issue than thinning, this still might improve the appearance you worry about? It is a little pricey and you have to use it once a day, but I have had good results with it. There are lots of other treatments that you could try before you write off your hair.

[ETA: Off topic and just FYI: It is not just the Nioxin treatment that is helping my thinning. I am also using prescription Ketaconozole and am treating a Vitamin D deficiency with doctor recommended doses of supplements. I didn't want people reading this to mistakenly think that the Nioxin alone is getting me growth results - I think it is helping, but I believe the Ketaconozole and the Vitamin D is the main cause of my improvement. Not that this part of my story relates to the OP's concern, but I didn't want people to think Nioxin alone will cure, as androgenic alopecia is typically more involved that needing just that. I just wanted her to know that it may improve the appearance of her hair, as it is doing mine.]

I think the best thing to do when you are very concerned about your hair is to put it up in a bun and do something else. It will still be there to fret about another day!

Tea Lady

Andeee
November 1st, 2013, 10:40 AM
I have to agree--it won't affect the already grown out hair. I had a similar situation happen to me, so I do know how devastating it can be!

I became extremely anemic (iron levels in the liver down to a 1 and healthy is around a 60! *And* I did not even have enough blood in my system (they almost wanted to do a transfusion!).

For me, the cause was fibroids which caused seriously heavy periods and it went on for a long time, I never put two and two together. I lost *a lot* of hair (you could see my scalp all over!) My once thick and mostly coarse hair was now fine to medium (the individual strands).

Anyway, as soon as I started taking my prescription iron it stopped falling out--like immediately! It started to grow in thick and fast. It does take patience, but time flies. I only trimmed off the ends til it was a bit longer than BSL. There is still a lot of thin and wispy and dry / damaged ends left but I just take good care of it and use good conditioner, tried an oil treatment, (whatever works for you)--I won't cut it shorter than waist--and the new growth is now about BSL and very healthy.

Sooo--it will come back, nice and healthy--and you don't have to cut off the damaged ends, just find out what works for you to get it back into some kind of good condition. At least you are on the mend now--happy growing!

TiaKitty
November 1st, 2013, 10:46 AM
Yes, there's just no way for the nutrients to travel down the length of your hair. There's no vessels in your hair, it isn't hollow, and has no way to get anything from your body, other than at the point it is attached to your head.

Perhaps working sebum down the length will help a bit, but it isn't going to repair the damaged hair.

I'm pretty sure what the doctor is referring to is the new growth.

Don't shave your head, though, just keep babying it and working with products that are helpful.

SleepyTangles
November 1st, 2013, 10:57 AM
Hi DarkStar! I won't be so scared, as you said you are almost at waist: surely not all your hair has grown while your body was affected by this iron-deficiency. I second Gossamer about the sebum/scalp thing: scalp dryness/imbalance is something that affect greatly the lenght, and improving the scalp usually means more softness and manageability :).

As far as my experience goes, all your hair will feel the benefits of the iron-rich regimen you're in, but there will be still a difference between the hair who its grown with "less resources" and the new, stronger hair. I had iron-deficiency anemia through my teen years, and I'm still on supplements, and there were quite a difference not only between hair grown in the worse part of it, but also while I was dieting or reducing my caloric intake.
Still, I don't think that this made a big difference in the long run.

Liz_park
November 1st, 2013, 11:18 AM
I finally checked back on some responses I received but this excerpt, in particular, has me thinking I am going to have to shave my head:

"Good to hear that you found out about the deficiency and can now treat it. Remember that while the length you have now won't benefit from the iron supplement you are taking at the moment, it will help the new growth."


Haha okie...put down the scissors! No need for anything drastic!

I think you should read this blog post by another wonderful LHC member:
http://longhairedatheart.blogspot.ca/2010/03/even-hemline-without-loosing-length.html

She describes in detail (and with great illustrations) how to deal with restoring hair's fullness and health while maintaining length. I trust her advice and she has been through a number of sheds and health difficulties that affected her hair. It's a good read and I think it would really help you!

Morphidae
November 1st, 2013, 11:40 AM
Of course your longer strands can benefit from correcting your Iron deficiency... They're still attached to your head!!!! I like to think they can continue growing with stronger 'foundations' and thus they will have a longer growth cycle than the one they'd have if you still were unable to address the underlying problem. And if you are extra gentle with them you can correct any problems they might have (split ends, dryness and that long etcccccc) which will only make them improve.

sarahthegemini
November 1st, 2013, 06:05 PM
Once hair has left the scalp, it can't be changed or fixed. So whilst your new iron rich regime will effect the new growth, your thinness and white dots aren't going to magically fix themselves. There's nothing you can do. Sorry but you've gotta wait it out ....

Emichiee
November 10th, 2013, 10:56 AM
You don't necessarily have to cut all your hair. And the condition of your existing hair can improve jn a few months time.

Here is how:
1. Trim your ends a bit to get a straight hemline and trim off all growth you get monthly.
- This works because most of your damage is usually near the ends and after 3-6 noticeably healthier ends will have grown down.
- Having fixed your deficiency, your hair will not get any more damaged than it is, so while it may bot be at its best, it certainly will be better than now.
Take a look at my blog post linked to below :)
2. Eat a nutrient RICH diet to prevent lacking anything in the future and help your hair grow as fast and healthy as possible. Get your nutrients first from quality meats, eggs, fruits and veggies. Then other things like bread. (i actually don't eat bread or dairy)
3. Do frequent S&D sessions for a longer period of time. It might take weeks but your hair will seem much healthier and splits won't return as fast either.
4. Find a way to add some moisture. Oiling can work better on dry hair when only very small amounts of a potent oil are added. Olive oil and camellia oil are easily absorbed.
Your hair really should not be very oily after adding oil. I often only add enough for it to feel moisturized.
This can restore the oil/ moisture content of your hair and it can start feeling better after three weeks.



Haha okie...put down the scissors! No need for anything drastic!

I think you should read this blog post by another wonderful LHC member:
http://longhairedatheart.blogspot.ca/2010/03/even-hemline-without-loosing-length.html

She describes in detail (and with great illustrations) how to deal with restoring hair's fullness and health while maintaining length. I trust her advice and she has been through a number of sheds and health difficulties that affected her hair. It's a good read and I think it would really help you!

Thank you! :)