PDA

View Full Version : Help with my mom's hair: Excess shedding.



Lauraes
January 24th, 2016, 10:21 PM
Hey guys. I thought maybe you all could give me some advice that I could pass on to my mom. Her hair's falling out, and it's making her sad. :(

If I was to hair-type her, I'd say she's a 2c/3a/F/i. The only similarities our hair shares is that our hair is very, very fine, fragile, and tangle prone. I think she used to be a ii or even a iii years ago. Her hair is about APL right now. It's very slow growing.

She has MS, and liver damage from the MS medication she used to take. I'm not sure if the MS is causing the shedding, because she's had MS since I was in elementary school (I'm 18 now), and the shedding just recently started happening. Every time she washes her hair, it falls out by the handfuls. She washes her hair twice a week like I do. She normally uses whatever shampoo and conditioner she has at the time (it's different every time she buys it). She uses sulfates and cones. Last time she washed, she used some of my products (OGX sulfate free shampoo & Aussie 3MM), and she said they made her hair shiny, but it didn't help with the shedding.

Her hair, scalp, and skin are all very dry. That's why she washes (and showers) only twice a week. I'd suggest she tries co-washing (I have cone-free conditioner), but I've heard that can increase shedding. Plus, she dyes her hair every couple of months with permanent blonde dye, so I think she needs cones. If she's having problems with tangles now, I can only imagine going without cones would make it much worse.

She is very stressed, so that could very well be a part of the shedding. If you've read some of my latest posts, you know she's had some very serious fights with my dad. She also gets caught up in extended family drama a lot. Between that, me getting ready for college, her getting ready to sell our current house, and being disabled, stress is pretty much inevitable for her.

Is there anything she can do to try to decrease the shedding? I don't know anything about these sorts of things but I want to help her. She wants to cut all of her hair off because of how bad she thinks it looks. :(

Brunettebybirth
January 25th, 2016, 05:11 AM
I'm sorry she's going through that. I'm guessing she may be around my age because I have a teenage son nearly your age. Perhaps it's hormonal then?? However, she needs to get to a doctor so they can examine her scalp, and run some tests to see exactly what's going on.

The fact that her hair is super fine means it is very delicate. I know because mine is pretty fine too. I'm a combo of i/ii, used to be ii/iii before my hair started thinning last fall. What worked for me besides going to a dermatologist was switching to a wide-tooth comb, a Goody Ouchless brush, and stopping ALL heat styling and styling products. I nearly caved and cut my hair to my shoulders but didn't. My existing hair has begun to repair itself so I'm glad I didn't. But that's a personal decision and one she should make.

Ultimately, my doctor put me on two supplements which helped reverse both my thinning and shedding: evening primrose oil (calmed the shedding down within two-three weeks), and Biosil (which thickened my existing hair and jump-started the regrowth). My thinning was deemed as hormonal/stress-related and exacerbated by bad styling practices. I'm just over the two month mark with supplementation and my hair has begun to look and feel better/healthier. But it's a long slow road back.

To give you a snapshot, I was previously shedding 250-350 hairs per day. Now I'm hovering around 20-40 depending on the day. There's tiny regrowth starting, and my part has become shorter particularly in the front where the regrowth has begun to fill it in.

I hope your mom finds the cause of the shedding. It's scary, and no one should have to go through that.

Theobroma
January 25th, 2016, 05:40 AM
Her hair, scalp, and skin are all very dry. That's why she washes (and showers) only twice a week. I'd suggest she tries co-washing (I have cone-free conditioner), but I've heard that can increase shedding. Plus, she dyes her hair every couple of months with permanent blonde dye, so I think she needs cones. If she's having problems with tangles now, I can only imagine going without cones would make it much worse.

I'm sorry your mum is going through all that. I would caution against trying CO because my own experience with it was disastrous -- at the beginning it was wonderful, but then the shedding started building up by tiny increments until I had huge wads coming out in every wash. Not everyone reacts this way, but I personally wouldn't risk it if my hair were already in the i range!

For dry hair and scalp, could she try using soap? I find this much less drying than shampoo (don't forget a diluted vinegar rinse afterwards, though!) I'm not sure whether soap is strong enough to prevent cone buildup, though, since I don't use cones at all. But it might be something to try out.


Ultimately, my doctor put me on two supplements which helped reverse my thinning and shedding which are: evening primrose oil (calmed the shedding down within two-three weeks), and Biosil (which thickened my existing hair and jump-started the regrowth).

That's interesting about the evening primrose oil! What form are you taking it in -- capsules, pills, or the straight oil? I can get pure evening primrose oil quite cheaply in my pharmacy and I'm wondering whether I should try this!

Brunettebybirth
January 25th, 2016, 05:48 AM
Theobroma: I'm taking it in soft gel form once a day in the morning.

missrandie
January 25th, 2016, 05:56 AM
I'm not sure, but with the extreme dryness, could she be having thyroid issues on top of everything else?

I know it's darn near impossible, but the stress levels absolutely need to come down. I know you can't control it, but it needs to happen.

When did she start shedding? We're there any medication changes at all, or does it seem to be more related to her stress?

I definitely think she needs to have her bloodwork done, and her meds tested. Considering that she has liver damage, that could lead do some vitamin deficiencies.

Hugs to you in this stressful time! Remember, you can only do so much for somebody. Don't put it all on yourself, okay?

lapushka
January 25th, 2016, 05:56 AM
Has she changed up meds? Seen her doctor recently. If it is indeed more than 100 hairs a day, then I would hurry, and run to the doctor. No patch that we put on it, or try to put on it is going to alleviate the shedding if there is something underlying wrong with her.

Lauraes
January 25th, 2016, 08:22 AM
Sorry, I forgot to include her age. She's 50. She had her uterus taken out after I was born, so I don't think it's hormonal. And it's a ton of hair she's losing. This morning, she showed me how much she lost just while conditioning her hair, and it was about how much hair I lose in a month. I knew she was losing her hair, but I didn't know just how bad it is. She's been shedding for the last 3-4 years, but it only recently has gotten this bad. It's getting worse over time.

Her meds haven't changed in the last 15 years, so it's not that. Her diet is fairly good, she eats a lot of fruits and vegetables. She thinks it's due to her auto immune disease, because of how bad it is. She goes to her doctors a lot. She actually has more lesions on her brain than a lot of people who can't even walk or talk, so she's lucky in that she's still able to do all of those things.

She wears her hair down or in a low ponytail a lot, which makes her lose a little more hair trying to detangle it (by ripping a brush through it). Maybe I can get her to take better care of it.

I know it's darn near impossible, but the stress levels absolutely need to come down. I know you can't control it, but it needs to happen.
I wish it was possible, but the MS affects her brain and makes her overreact a lot. She gets upset very easily (always has since she got sick). She used to be on anti anxiety/anti depressant medication a long time ago but can't take it anymore due to the liver damage.

I know it's not possible to reverse the hair loss, because she's sick. But surely there's something that can help decrease it, even a little? I'll talk to her about the primrose oil and Biosil and see if it's safe for her to take. Thanks for your help!

Theobroma
January 25th, 2016, 08:30 AM
Sorry, I forgot to include her age. She's 50. She had her uterus taken out after I was born, so I don't think it's hormonal. And it's a ton of hair she's losing. This morning, she showed me how much she lost just while conditioning her hair, and it was about how much hair I lose in a month.

The bolded bit rings bells for me like crazy, and they're alarm bells. This is exactly what happened to me during CO washing, and I'm sure I'd be bald by now if I'd kept it up!

So... how does she apply the conditioner? Is she letting even small amounts of it get on her scalp, and, could that be responsible for the shedding? Is she getting excess shedding at other times as well, like when she combs or brushes, or only when she washes/conditions?

Perhaps she could try changing up the products she uses and be sure to keep the conditioner well clear of her scalp, and see whether that has any effect on her shedding?

Brunettebybirth
January 25th, 2016, 09:20 AM
Ok, she's slightly older than me but not by much. So, it's not hormonal then. The stress can't be helping. She definitely needs to see her doctor though to find the root cause of the shedding.

My doctor told me that black currant seed oil and gelatin also help with hair loss. He gave me several supplement options, and I choose evening primrose oil and Biosil for reasons specific to me. But he said he had patients that used the BCO and gelatin and had great results. Again, she should check with her doctor before starting anything new.

Once her shedding stops, she will feel so much better. Even if there's not much regrowth, just the fact that your existing hair is staying put and healthy is cause to celebrate. Trust me on that.

You mentioned she dyes her hair. Maybe she might want to let up on that a bit to see if that helps the shedding to slow?? And my hairdresser told me that fine-haired ladies like myself, and your mom have to extra careful with how we handle our hair too. Gentle is the key here. I found once I stopped "manipulating" it so much, my hair looked and felt loads better.

I hope she finds the cause and soon. :pray:

locddreamz
January 25th, 2016, 10:09 AM
Well it sounds like it's definitely from stress, so I don't think any form of outer care to the scalp will help with that.
Also I recommend reading up on the 3 stages of hair growth and the meaning "telogen effluvium."

Basically, when you're stressed out, the hair follicles can enter the telogen (shedding) phase too early. Once it enters that phase, the strands are going to fall out and there's no stopping it.
But if she can get her stress under control, those follicles can enter their anagen (growth) phase in a healthy environment so she can grow that hair back.
I know it's probably not an ideal "solution" but it looks like that's what's happening.:(

parkmikii
January 25th, 2016, 12:28 PM
Is she sensitive to caffeine? Coffee rinses helped a lot with my mom's shedding and she was grateful that I told her about them. Mom is 48 years old in case it matters ^^

Hairkay
January 25th, 2016, 01:43 PM
She should talk to her doctor and I don't think you can rule out hormones since these are produced by the ovaries unless she had her ovaries removed as well.