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View Full Version : Ex-Dreadhead needs help! :)



bekstamonkey
July 14th, 2012, 09:42 PM
Hi all :)

I'm a newbie here, although I've checked out the forums on a few occasions prior to realising I just HAD to join-in, the hair I see on here is just soooo beautiful and healthy that it makes me smile! :D

I have been growing my hair out for about 2 years or so, prior to which I had dreadlocks for 6 years - and, as you can imagine, keeping those puppies in line so as to form into locks required a lot of backcombing, and root-rubbing, which caused a lot of damage to my hair.

When I removed them, I cut my dreads to shoulder-length and used an entire bottle of conditioner and a comb over 7 hours to brush the rest out. This was an amazingly unpleasant experience, quite ouch, leaving my scalp kinda sore for a couple days afterwards...but my biggest problem, is that I broke a lot of hair in the process, and my hair, from the root, is no long as thick as it used to be - and after a couple years, does not seem to be re-thickening back up...so I'm a little worried that I have caused damage to my follicles and don't know if there's any way of rectifying this or not...

I've had people suggest to me that perhaps it's just a 'getting older' issue, but the fact of the matter is, I had thick hair UNTIL I brushed the dreads out. The two are definitely connected. I don't know what to do :(

My routine for some time has involved washing approx 2 (3 max.) times a week with my homemade shampoo bars (make my hair grow quick, I've noticed, as opposed to commercial shampoos), and rinsing with diluted ACV that contains a little lavender EO. I blow-dry the roots (since reading on this forum about heat damage, I no longer use the hottest setting, but the lowest) and let the rest air-dry. The past week I have started oiling (and loving it! My tips were kinda dry). When at home, it's usually down my back, and at work I tie it back in either a braid or ponytail or flipped-ponytail, with a hat overtop (I'm a landscape gardener, and not wearing a hat = hair gets caught in trees/shrubbery etc)...

Any advice on what I can do? What I should be doing? Is it possible to rethicken hair if follicles 'may' have been damaged?

jeanniet
July 14th, 2012, 10:47 PM
I think you would get more replies and help if this was in the Mane forum, so I'm going to report your post for you and ask the mods to move it. :) There are a few members here who have or had dreads who may have some suggestions for you.

I don't know a whole lot about dreads, but one thing I'm thinking may be contributing to the problem is wearing a hat all the time. Are you noticing any thinness along your hairline in particular, where the hat might be rubbing the most? You might want to try wearing a silk scarf under the hat--silk is very kind to hair.

When you can post pictures, please do--before and after. It helps if we can see what people are talking about, plus I'd love to see pics of your dreads!

coneyisland
July 15th, 2012, 12:22 AM
Jeanniet's suggestion that you wear a silk scarf between your head and your hat is an excellent one. Also be mindful that sunlight can cause cumulative bleaching damage to your hair.

Do you mean that your individual strands of hair are thinner? Or that the (gathered) circumference of your hair is thinner?

From six years of wearing dreadlocks, which would have included your shed hairs, you may have in mind reference of your hair having for so long been thicker than it would have been without dreadlocks. Your indicated hair thickness (ii classification) is in the average range.

If you have less density (of strands) than before having dreadlocks, the usual weight of them, besides the added weight from their necessarily being wet at times, might have overstressed some of your follicles.

bekstamonkey
July 15th, 2012, 02:18 AM
Thanks, if I've written this in the wrong section, more than happy for it to be moved to somewhere more appropriate! :)

Well, I don't wear a hat all the time, only or maybe 4 hours a day, and it's a really loose hat, it doesn't fit snugly on my head or anything...would that still be an issue?

When I mean 'thinner', I mean the cumulative thickness, my hair used to be really thick - and it's not just a matter of my dreads having contributed to them looking thicker due to the shed hairs that remained within the locks...

let me explain...two sets of dreads. I removed one set, and after about 6 months or so, i redreaded, but after a few weeks, I noticed that the sectioning was kinda demented, and I brushed them out again and redid them. This is when i first noticed that my hair was wayyy thinner than it was a few weeks ago...and with baby locks of only a few weeks, there's really not much shed hair in there to contribute to thickness, they are still really soft at this stage (at least in my hair)...the amount of hair that I was able to gather in sections at stage 1 versus stage 2 (only a few weeks later) was remarkably different immediately upon brushing them out at this point, even my sister in law noticed how thin my hair suddenly appeared, practically overnight...and whilst it's improved a *little* it's still nowhere near where it used to be in terms of thickness as a whole.

Is there anything that can be done to help overstressed follicles?

Thank you both for your replies, by the way! :D

sarelis
July 15th, 2012, 02:42 AM
Hmm, I had dreads for 4 years, which I combed out fully (7 hours? Mine took 10 days!!) there was enough shed hair to stuff a sofa but the hair on my head was pretty acceptable, obviously a lot less of it than with the dreads though. I never had to do a lot to my dreads, my hair just wants to form them naturally so aside from an initial bit of backcombing & rubbing they were left alone. Maybe you were a little rough with your hair while forming them & your hair now just needs babying for a while. Have you tried scalp massages with oil? Castor oil is supposed to be very good :)

bekstamonkey
July 15th, 2012, 02:47 AM
My hair has always been rebellious...wanting always to do the exact opposite of what I want LOL...so when I had dreads, it was no different, wanted to be smooth and free and not locked...although wants to tangle now that I don't want that hahah! :P

I've not tried massaging with oil, thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go! I'm a soapmaker, so plenty of castor oil in stock :D Yay, thank you!

sarelis
July 15th, 2012, 03:20 AM
Oooh I should mention, a lot of people dilute their castor oil with a lighter oil as it's so thick and sort of sticky, makes it easier to get out. It's supposed to encourage hair growth & regular scalp massages that increase the circulation to the follicles will do the same :)

bekstamonkey
July 15th, 2012, 03:29 AM
No problem, already thought I'd add some rice bran oil or safflower or something, thin it out a bit heheh :)

spidermom
July 15th, 2012, 11:58 AM
Hair often does change over time, which you didn't notice happening because it was dreaded.
You'll get used to the new hair. The broken hairs will grow out, don't worry. I suggest occasional small trims, maybe 1/2 inch every 4 months (more or less).

jeanniet
July 15th, 2012, 12:19 PM
This isn't the wrong section to post--I was just thinking more people would see it in the Mane forum. I'm not always that good at looking in this one.

Castor oil massages are a good idea. I don't know what caused the thinning, but it should improve over time if you're gentle on your scalp. You just have to be patient. Avoid any overly tight hairstyles (severe buns or ponytails). Dreads don't really pull on the scalp, do they? The most likely cause of loss would be traction alopecia, but something would have to be pulling pretty hard to cause that.

woolyleprechaun
July 15th, 2012, 12:35 PM
I cant imagine blow-drying your roots is helping the matter, but I wouldnt take my word for that! ;)
I agree with previous posts though, that it may be that you are used to the thickness of the dreads?

bekstamonkey
July 15th, 2012, 04:35 PM
Hi all :)

spidermom: actually that's bizarre, cos your suggestion happens to be what I've actually been doing, coincidentally! :D I DO have a bunch of shorter hairs, but I don't know if that's full regrowth, or hair that's been broken and started regrowing from before I started wearing a hat at work (it used to get caught in shrubbery/trees and break/tangle).

jeanniet: Did my first castor massage last night, added a little rice bran oil to it, cos I know that's also good for hair, and some peppermint/rosemary/ginger/lemongrass EOs which I know are supposedly good for stimulating hair growth and usually add to my shampoo bars...I have been avoiding tight hairstyles...ponytails and braids are generally quite loose when I wear my hair up, as my scalp seems a little more sensitive to pulling than it used to be :)

woodyleprechaun: I know, it's bad, in summer I don't blowdry at all, but winter is just horrible with wet hair, and gently blowdrying roots seems to get the rest kick-started to dry quicker, and I have switched to drying at lowest temp setting rather than the hottest :P

Nah, not just being used to thickness of the dreads, as I explained, when I know the damage was first done, was when I'd only had baby locks, so only had them a few weeks before brushing that particular set out to re-do, and could clearly remember the thickness of my undreaded hair only a few weeks earlier, and it was a remarkable difference...think I may have been a little too gung-ho with brushing them out at that stage :(

Thanks to all for your replies! :)

coneyisland
July 15th, 2012, 07:14 PM
Now I suspect it may have been fallout from a seasonal shed. Some of us have regular (but not necessarily annual) marked sheds in some cooler seasons, some of us in warmer seasons. If that was the cause of your recent hair thinning -- and it may have been, if you do not notice at present some (continuing) conspicuous fallout rate -- you should not be concerned. The follicles involved would be taking a little rest.

Had you had any serious illness in the time about three to six months before the thinning occurred? If so, that might also account for it.

bekstamonkey
July 15th, 2012, 11:15 PM
So a seasonal shed can go on for a couple years? My hair is much more fragile than it used to be, I notice a lot of hair in my brush/comb, even when careful and treat it with 'kid gloves'...I *think* it has thickened a little bit since I first noticed the thinning, but still way off where it used to be at in terms of thickness (I could barely get a brush through it prior to thinning - and dreads lol). So, if it's just the follicles in a rest phase, I just gotta wait for them to 're-awaken' so to speak?

Can't think of any illnesses about that time, although it was quite a while ago...but since the thinning, I have had a B12 deficiency (now rectified and levels normal), plus I have a case of folliculitis (rash on my arm, biopsy confirmed the cause but meds didn't take it away)...I know B12 deficiencies could be a contributor, and folliculitis maybe? Although the ACV rinses should have rectified any fungal scalp issues, I'd have thought...

Thanks for your thoughts! :D

Arya
July 16th, 2012, 01:46 AM
yeeee. Root rubbing and backcombing are generally recommended against, from my research...dreads don't actually require maintenance. Root rubbing/twisting may have given you a case of traction alopecia, depending on how much you did it, and that may be what thinned your hair. Here's hoping that's not the case!

bekstamonkey
July 16th, 2012, 03:30 AM
Hi Arya :)

Well the thinning wasn't until I combed one of the sets of locks out, had no issues with thinning while I had the dreads (while I was root-rubbing and backcombing etc), so likely not that...phew! :D Thank you for your thoughts...you are all so helpful! <3

coneyisland
July 16th, 2012, 09:18 AM
So a seasonal shed can go on for a couple years? My hair is much more fragile than it used to be, I notice a lot of hair in my brush/comb, even when careful and treat it with 'kid gloves'...I *think* it has thickened a little bit since I first noticed the thinning, but still way off where it used to be at in terms of thickness (I could barely get a brush through it prior to thinning - and dreads lol). So, if it's just the follicles in a rest phase, I just gotta wait for them to 're-awaken' so to speak?

Can't think of any illnesses about that time, although it was quite a while ago...but since the thinning, I have had a B12 deficiency (now rectified and levels normal), plus I have a case of folliculitis (rash on my arm, biopsy confirmed the cause but meds didn't take it away)...I know B12 deficiencies could be a contributor, and folliculitis maybe? Although the ACV rinses should have rectified any fungal scalp issues, I'd have thought...

Thanks for your thoughts! :D

Oh dear. As far as I know, any case of (once clinical) B12 deficiency requires lifelong treatment.

Please watch through these videos linked here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrd_3P6LcaY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kir2quaVaGQ
 
Please read through this linked thread here and also through the one linked within by AndreaM.

http://www.pernicious-anaemia-society.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11756
 
You can get some excellent information and guidance at this website linked here.

http://www.pernicious-anaemia-society.org/
 

bekstamonkey
July 16th, 2012, 11:15 PM
Oh my! My GPs told me now that levels are i the completely 'normal' range, all's good...might have to do some more questioning on that, particularly with the stuff about skin rashes...I've had rashes on my arms for like 2 years, can't work out what's causing it. Biopsy came back with folliculitis, but a course of Nizoral did nothing to clear it up...hmmm got an appt with dermatologist next week, might pick his brain on the matter, too...