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00brad00
September 6th, 2010, 11:17 PM
Clumps, daily. Every time you pull on the hair, some will come out.
I have nape-length (all around), Iím a man in early thirties, and Iím positively freaking out. It has been going on for two months, and I canít believe I have any hair left. Which I do, most people probably wouldnít notice that anything much has changed, but fact remains that something is very, very wrong.

I live in China, and if you think that stateside greedy companies cut corners any way they can and poison you (with the help and approval of their good and paid off musical-chairs friends/former colleagues in the FDA), you should see what goes on here.
Baby formulae laced with industrial plastic to increase protein content, hamburgers LITERALLY made from cardboard, etc, etc, etc.
So, in some way shape or form, I chalk it up to being here; the only question would be what it is.

Iíll run down the list of suspects.

1. NUTRITION

I am a vegan when I can be. While stateside, I got plenty of vegan protein and minerals; here itís hard, like everything is in a third-world bribocracy.
Lack of protein, iron and zinc can supposedly contribute to hairloss.
I had a bloodtest done when the problem started, and my iron was just shy of being too low (2.03; the normal range is 2.00-5.00).
Regardless, I immediately got US-made multivitamin pills (Costcoís Kirkland brand) which contain daily value of both iron and zinc among 29 others.
I also started carefully counting protein grams in my food and do my best to get the 70 mg (50 would probably suffice) daily, which is not an easy task without animal protein. Itís mostly soy-based, obviously, which is supposed to be as useful to the body, if not more so than animal-based protein, without any of the penalties. I do occasionally eat meat, like when invited for a meal, which happens fairly frequently in this country of very friendly people.
So nutritionís off the list, I guess. One doctor mentioned online that the hair would be falling out a few months AFTER the nutritional deficiency because of the hair growth cycle. My diet was likely protein and iron deficient a few months back, so that might roughly correspond. But the fallout has been ongoing on for 2 months of likely adequate nutrition, so this explanation seems unlikely. Not to mention that I never counted protein grams when I was younger, and thus must have got far less than the RDA, but I never experienced abnormal hairloss.

2. SULFATES

Upon reading the many SLS-related posts on this forum, I discontinued using shampoo and replaced it with glycerin soap, once weekly.
Not sure if the soap might have SLS in it; the wrapper only listed ďmajor ingredientsĒ (all natural) and the manufacturer (Pacific Image) didnít reply my inquiry about a full list.
I also switched to gel from mousse (which, being foam, is full of SLS). Have to use one or the other, without it my hair would look so bad I couldnít leave the house, unfortunately.
Despite these changes, hairloss continues unabated.
I have used SLS shampoos all my life, and mousse/gel for a decade at least, and the same brand of mousse in China for a year and a quarter, all without the Hiroshima-victim hairloss that I have been experiencing since July.
I plan to switch from the glycerin soap to soapnuts as soon as I can get them. Thank you, Mellie.

3. STRESS

Nope. No change, nothing special.

4. BENZENE et. Al WALL PAINT

I live in a brand new apartment. Had I experienced the hairloss shortly after I moved in (January), Iíd bet thatís the cause.
But I hadnít. Iíd been fine for 6 months. Plus, I was more likely to have windows closed back then (I have them open 24/7 now, just in case, though I donít get much draft, as they are only on one side).
The one change somewhat coinciding with the hairloss would have been finishing my university teaching job; since then, I spend most of my time at home working, but the university job was only two days a week (gotta love the inverted workweek/weekend expat lifestyle in China:)), so itís not a big difference.
The wall painting was likely all finished before Christmas.

5. BLEACH

I have bleached for about five years (have to because of graying hair), from my lightish-brown to beige, or about 10 minutes per treatment. It started as highlights, and somehow over the last year or so wound up as wholesale lightening. I have used the same blue bleach powder as long as Iíve been in China. I recently bought a new bottle of 12% developer (to replace the 12% developer I ran out of). Both developer and bleach are for salon use. I touch up the roots every few weeks or so.
In any case, I donít seem to see any broken, brittle hairs, just hairs falling out with root.
My hair texture seems different though, with some hairs curled and bent at sharp angles that indicates a loss of elasticity, especially as compared to some long female Asian hair I sometimes find on the floor of my apartment. Besides being wire-like and strong, they are impossible to bend permanently.

I can see some baby hairs sprouting along the hairline (and, presumably, all over scalp, replacing their fallen comrades). Some are as long as two inches, which would mean a 4-month growth.
Some of the fallen-out hairs are short (with root), though, so that might indicate that the underlying reason for the fallout is ongoing, not something that happened months ago.

6. NOTES

I take 1mg of generic-brand (Indian-made, I believe) Finasteride (Propecia) a day. I have done that for two years. I googled the brand name I have bought most recently (Finmax), and no complaints popped up.
I went to local doctors about the hairloss, but of course it was of no use. European and American doctors, who are used to pampering and tending to the tiniest of real or imagined ailments can do nothing in these cases (based on online testimonies). In a country where most people donít see a doctor unless they are dying on in excruciating, unbearable, prolonged pain, a healthy person with something as inconsequential as hairs falling out going to a doctor is, well, a joke, and as such, laughed at.
Or, at best, prescribed ďChinese medicineĒ, the supposed efficacy of which seems directly tied to a universally-known saying in this land of superstitions and arcane beliefs, namely ďif it tastes bad/bitter, itís good medicineĒ.
It tasted bad, but likely accomplished little beyond the placebo effect most people get out of it.

The thrust of all my theories is that nothing has really changed in my life. Same food, same bottled water, same apartmentÖ.

I am all out of ideas. Please post if you have any comment/experience/theory.

Like all of you, I love my hair. I recently turned down a potentially lucrative role in a TV show, because it was a soldier role and I would have had to cut my hairÖ
I donít want to play Lex Luthor next time around.

Sorry about the long post:(.
Thank you,
bm

ll
September 7th, 2010, 12:49 AM
weird... my hair started thinning very noticeably when i was in china, too. (i'm f, late 30s, was living in rural china). i'm also vegetarian, and found it difficult to get well-rounded nutrition in the area where i was living.

a couple ideas:

a. maybe cut down on the soy a bit. soy has phytoestrogens, so i wonder if this might be causing a hormonal imbalance if you are eating a lot of it. note that there is absolutely no evidence, to my knowledge, linking soy with hair loss, but this might be something to try.

b. i don't think that there is any evidence that sls is linked to hair loss (someone please correct me if i'm wrong.) sls *can* be somewhat drying and thus contribute to breakage, it doesn't degrade in the environment very well, and some think that it fades hair dye more quickly than some other similar ingredients, though.

c. when i saw a dermatologist about hair thinning, he recommended not dyeing my hair, or at least making sure that the dye did not touch my scalp. i hadn't dyed my hair for some years, so i don't know if this helps.

d. are you using a blowdryer? it's common to use one in the parts of china where the indoor heating in winter is inadequate. the dermatologist recommended not using a blowdryer. apparently, the heat from the blowdryer might not be great for hair follicles. if you need to blowdry, use the cool setting only.

e. is it possible that your propecia is fake? my chinese friends told me that about 90% of the western medicine in china is fake because there is such a high profit margin on it. although it seems unlikely that an indian-made version of propecia would be faked in china, i'm always astounded at just how rampant the pirating is in china -- as you are, too, clearly from your second paragraph. or is it possible that the medicine might have been exposed to too much sun and degraded, i.e., if you had it shipped in from abroad?

f. sometimes a high fever can trigger a temporary hair shed. since your shed sounds like it's ongoing, this may not be relevant, but i thought i'd add that in case you'd had an illness several months back.

g. definitely try biotin. my dermatologist recommended that to me, and it did help stop the shedding, though it didn't seem to help with regrowing. it's a vitamin; you generally have to buy it separately from a multi-vitamin. there are threads on it here at LHC.

h. that you're seeing regrowth is a very good sign. my understanding is that sometimes regrowth comes in very thin and fine, falls out, and then grows back more strongly.

i. you might try using an ayurvedic oil with bhringraj, brahmi, and/or amla. put a tablespoon or so on your scalp before going to sleep, put a towel over your pillow, and shampoo it out in the morning. one sheds a little bit more on the day one uses it, but i've found it to really help with regrowth. i use auromere, but henna sooq, better botanicals, dabur vatika, and other companies make similar products.

hth :)

LL

motormuffin
September 7th, 2010, 10:29 AM
You might look at DIM as another supp to take. It could be hormones. This might help, might not.
I notice that my hair likes to shed in the fall...for no good reason.
I've had a dramatic decrease in shedding while taking MSM and fish oils.

00brad00
September 7th, 2010, 11:55 PM
@motormuffin
Thank you, will look into the three supplements

@ LL
Thank you for spending so much time on your lengthy reply. It helped me look at the issue from new angles.

Wow, (teaching in?) rural China. You are a brave cookie. I find oodles of incon*veniences to gripe about in Kunming, a modern city of a few million, clean air and spring-like weather year-round.

The stories of people being poisoned in China through corporate (government-enabled, of course) malfeasance are chilling to the bone.
Probably just normally eating and drinking here gives you a good dose of heavy metals, antibiotics, growth hormones and carcinogens, among many others.
Heck, we have that in the States, despite oversight undreamed of here.

SOY
Could be the culprit. The Monsanto Mafia has taken over China with their genetically modified (using E-coli DNA strands, for more zest!:) frankensoy just as they have the U.S., so who knows. (DONíT watch ďThe Future of FoodĒ documentary online if you ever want to sleep soundly again).
Malesí follicles die because of dihydrotestosterone, so having more testosterone in diet (e.g. meat) makes that worse; Ďestrogení in soy, or supplements like palmetto leaf and finasteride should counteract that. Thereíve even been some cases of men growing breasts because of soy, I believe.
I would gladly go back to eating meat, perhaps temporarily, if it saved even one hair, but again, the horrid things they inject and feed animals with here makes one think twice.
I did eat meat for a few weeks after the problem started, and it hasnít made any difference.
I think Iíll give it a shot.

SLS
I agree. Nobody knows. People who stop shedding after cutting out SLS see causal relation when it might just be a temporal one. Maybe it would have stopped anyway, SLS or not.
I certainly havenít seen any change since cutting it out.

BLEACH
I wish I could cut that out, but even if that helped, a graying mane wonít look any better than a shedding one. I looked at some of the organic lightening threads (honey), and it seems to bring the color down only very little. I need brown to beige...
Still, Iíll keep looking into some alternative.

BLOWDRYER
Wouldnít touch one with a ten-foot pole:).

PROPECIA
Finmax made by Canada-based Zenlabs, marketed by their Indian division. The packaging looks very authentic (expires 2011), but will contact them nonetheless, canít hurt. Just ran out anyway, so maybe Iíll cut it out for a few months.

FEVER/ILLNESS
Nothing like that, thankfully, but good to know.

BIOTIN, etc.
Thank you, will try to buy those here.

Since you also seem to have experienced shedding just by virtue of being in the PRC, Iíll post on thebeijinger.com, an expat forum, and see if anybody has had the same problem.


Thank you again.

B

Elenna
September 8th, 2010, 03:50 AM
Can you get all of the B-complex vitamins?

Can you eat eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables?

Can you cut out using sodium laureth sulfates (etc)? This was the culprit in my own shedding problem.

Have you ever heard about castor oil for hair regrowth?

The environmental toxins may be the sole cause of your problem. Particulary since your hair loss started right after you moved into the new apartment.

aisling
September 8th, 2010, 04:07 AM
If you only get 70 mg (milligrams) of protein each day, I'd be seriously worried but I guess you wrote that wrong and mean 70 g (grams).

00brad00
September 8th, 2010, 05:44 AM
@Elenna
Thank you for the tip, will get B-complex.

The Vitamin Bible recommends this for hairloss:

B complex, 50 mg. twice daily
Choline and inositol, 1,000 mg. of each daily
Daily jojoba oil scalp massage and shampoo
Calcium, 500 mg. and magnesium 250 mg. 1 daily
Cysteine, 1,000 mg. daily
Vitamin C, 500 mg. A.M. and P.M.

I was taking at least those amounts of C, Ca and Bís stateside, but here theyíre expensive (like all decadent western ďluxuriesĒ), so Iíve been long planning a big, expensive shipment from vitamins.comÖ
The multivitamin covers RDAís, but those are much lower than the above.
I will look into the castor oil.
And Iíll lay off veganism for a while, so thatíll get some eggs in the system, too. Ironically, itíll help fruit consumption, too. In order to get enough protein on a vegan diet, there really isnít enough stomach space daily (for me, anyway) to ingest fruitÖ

Iíve cut out the SLS and hope to get soapnuts soon; the shedding didnít start until 6 months after I moved into the new apartment.

@aisling
Sorry, typo, itís grams:).

MonaMayfair
September 8th, 2010, 05:56 AM
Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Both under (hypo) and over (hyper) active thyroid can cause this kind of hair loss.

It happened to me, several years ago, and I was diagnosed hypothyroid.

The thing is, soy products make this worse by suppressing the thyroid function even further. I had to give up tofu, soya milk etc. There are other foods that suppress the thyroid too, eg broccolli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pine nuts (all the good stuff I used to love eating!)
It's worth checking it out if you can, as you might be making things worse by eating soy.

00brad00
September 12th, 2010, 08:52 PM
Yes, thanks, I had a bloodtest done for three different thyroid-related values, and all were smack-dab in the middle of "normal" range.
So that ain't it either. Interesting about soy. Well, Frankensoy, anyway.
Here's a great scietific breakdown of diffuse telogen hairloss:

http://www.ccjm.org/content/76/6/361.full

Gvnagitlvgei
September 12th, 2010, 09:01 PM
Diet might not actually be off the list. I know of other new vegans who are experiencing hairloss and they are women. They've upped their green foods intake...kale, broccoli, greens, lettuces, barley etc. It's not an uncommon problem.

00brad00
September 12th, 2010, 10:19 PM
I am definitely still suspecting veganism, and decided to eat "normally" until the problem goes away.

Also, several people on the Chinese forum said that they have the same problem, so in some way, shape or form, the population-poisoning Nouveaux Riches of the """"""socialist"""""" """"""people's"""""" republic are the most likely cause.

ll
September 13th, 2010, 12:06 AM
Dunno... The area in China where I was living was a non-Han area, and the environment was pristine. I know, really hard to believe if you've lived in China... Local people have worked really, really hard to keep the land, air, and water clean. Almost all of the food that I ate was grown in that area, with a few exceptions. So, I don't think the tremendous environmental issues were the trigger for my hair loss at least. However, the complete change in diet and environment (and the fact that as a stubborn vegetarian, I wasn't eating that well) could have been a shock to the system. I've definitely met international students who've come to the U.S. who have told me that they've suffered hair loss after moving to the U.S.

DragonLady
September 13th, 2010, 12:12 AM
You haven't mentioned your age. I had a *major* shed last year...so big I was getting scared for my health. But through it all I never lost my circumferance, and didn't get any bald spots.

I started thinking about terminal length. If a single hair lives about 7 years, you can expect a major shed about once every seven years. I'm sure I had my first real hairs before I was a year old, and I was 42 last year, so it would make sense that I was *due* for a large number of them to reach terminal.

I've stopped since then -it's all back to normal now. I really think it's just a cycle, but it's such a long one that you just don't notice it unless you start trying to grow long and become focused on it.

00brad00
September 17th, 2010, 12:01 AM
@ll
Yeah, despite all the egregious pollution here, both environmental and food-borne, Chinese food still cannot match the evil effects of our filthy-megafeedlot/farm-conglomerate genetically-modified frankefood.
Most food in China is still grown by small-time farmers who barely make a living off it while the number of millionaires here DOUBLED since last year. A veritable socialist “worker’s paradise”.
They spray and inject the S*IT out of it all (and then Wal-Mart and Carrefour brazenly label it ‘organic’ on the shelves here), but still.
I talked to Europeans and they could not believe how prevalent something as freaky and illogical as “food allergy” (what’s next, sleep allergy?) is in America. Hardly anybody has any allergies, let alone food allergies in Europe -- especially the farther EAST you go, i.e., the farther you get away from long-established wonders of the magic of capitalism (only profit matters) applied to things like food and healthcare.
@DragonLady
Based on what I have read since the problem started, losing so many hairs as to notice it as weird is NEVER normal, whether your hair is an inch or a yard. Even when the hair reaches ‘terminal length’ after 8 years, only 10-15% of all hairs at any given time are in the ‘terminal’ phase, so you should never experience what you and I have. You should just continuously shed 10% of your hair throughout your life. Whether you have it cut short or very long, it doesn’t affect how ‘old’ any given hair is. So, like me, your system must have been dealt a blow by who-knows-what.
The link I mentioned before explains is all in great detail.

Interestingly, somebody on thebeijinger also mentioned that some Chinese students experienced this problem after living in the U.S. for a while. So the signs do indeed point to the combination of factors and radical change in environment and intake, rather than one cause.
Got sticky soapnuts on Taobao (Chinese eBay ripoff), $3/pound, just harvested (supposedly)…