UZOMA'S HAIR LOSS AND RESTORATION STORY

Around July 2015, I suffered a hair setback when I used a protein treatment. In order to recover, I decided not to relax my hair as planned and started using wigs as a protective style. In October, I got a new wig and it was a bit tight. I wore it for a few weeks, thinking that it would loosen up. That month, I noticed some thinning at the front of my hair. I thought it was the tightness of the wig so I stopped wearing it.
I went back to my normal regimen and I was still losing hair. It finally got to a point where I had a bald spot (about 2 inches in diameter). It was smooth like the back of my hand. There was no indication for the hope of hair growth.
During all of this, I had an awful skin rash that wouldn't go away. My skin can be sensitive and reacts to slight changes. Normally, I use a cream my doctor prescribed and it goes away after a few days but this one lasted for months.

 Off to see the Doctor
In early December, I went to a different doctor about my skin. I thought he would prescribe some cream or other medicine to treat the rashes. He asked me questions about my diet and talked about eating more fruits and vegetables. “Who vegetables don epp?”
At the time, I had a horrendous diet. I would usually eat twice a day and the meals were not balanced. I couldn't remember when I had fresh vegetables or fruit. My job involves standing and talking for long periods of time. When I would get home from work, I needed to lie down for hours before I could do anything else. I was basically running on fumes. The doctor told me if I improve my diet and rest more, the rash would go away. He gave me a follow-up appointment with the resident dermatologist a few weeks later.
After my appointment with the doctor, I decided to get a full checkup and to see a trichologist. I needed to know what was happening to me. My visit to the trichologist was informative. I was diagnosed with androgenic alopecia.
Being the nerd that I am, I asked plenty of questions and did further research on the internet. Based on this information gathered, I would continue losing my hair if I did nothing. With androgenic alopecia, once the hair is lost it does not come back. Needless to say, I was worried.
The trichologist recommended Rogaine to help keep the hair I had left. I was wary of using Rogaine because if I stopped using it, the hair would fall out again. There are also various side effects. 
After meeting with the trichologist, I had my appointment with the dermatologist. She said the hair loss was due to stress and it should grow back with time.
So, I had some conflicting information. Was my hair loss due to stress or a genetic issue or something else?
I also did a full check up with various blood tests. Most of the results were normal. Only two of the results had low levels: hemoglobin and alkaline phosphatase. Low levels of alkaline phosphatase are usually rare (Source link). When it happens, it is an indicator of protein deficiency or malnutrition. (Source link) Hemoglobin is a protein present on red blood cells that helps to deliver oxygen to various cells in the body. Low levels of hemoglobin can be associated with various blood disorders.

Plan of Action
With all this information, I took my time over the Christmas holiday to develop a plan to help with this problem. (click here to view plan)
Geared up, I pushed forward on my path to hair growth. I was prepared for the worst which is that my hair would not return. If this happened, I would reevaluate and make changes. In the first month, I began to feel better and my skin rash healed. I wasn't as tired and I had more energy for my everyday activities. By the end of the first month, I noticed that my bald spot wasn't smooth anymore. It felt rough like hair was growing in. By the third month, the spot was essentially covered. The progress has been so encouraging.

  
              Jan. 2016/Feb. 2016

To be frank, I did not follow everything in my plan to the letter. Hello, exercise. However, the parts I did really seemed to help. I plan to continue and have my scalp and hair checked at the end of the year.
  March 2016
What can you do?
There are a few things that I think helped me to deal with my hair loss. They may help you as well.
1. Be an advocate for your health:  No one can take better care of you than you. You have to be aware of what is going on with you.
2.   Take action:  Nothing can change if you don't change.
3.  Be encouraged: You are not alone in this struggle. Many people deal with hair loss every day. I almost didn't share this story on my blog because of embarrassment. People have reached out to say they are going through something similar.
4. Be patient: Rome wasn't built in a day and your hair doesn't grow back overnight. It will take time before you see changes.

I'm very happy that my hair has improved. Everything that has happened was due to the neglect of my health. It may seem vain because it took my hair loss to start getting my health in order. I'm glad that everything has improved.

Nat Says: Thank you for sharing your story with us Uzoma. Studies have shown that a poor diet and stress can trigger hair loss in some people. Take care of yourself, find balance in life, work, and family, and be very observant of the signs that your body gives when you are not being your own best friend. 
To follow Uzoma visit donttouchthehair.com

CONSIDER THIS BEFORE GETTING THOSE BRAIDS DONE

   

Ever wonder what kenekelon hair looks like close up? Well I did and I just had to share the pictures with you all  :). If you compare these pictures with the last two pictures of real African hair you wouldn't notice much of a difference.
     
 
134 strands of kenekelon hair. Not enough to give you that chunky full look.

Now lets talk technique... 

Notice how stylists section a tiny amount hair and tightly attach to it an amount of hair that is thicker than the one shown in the picture above? This is in my opinion is one of the reasons why a lot of us suffer from Traction Alopecia.
Lets forget about the hair and think about the follicles that we traumatize. For the first few days  after braiding, your scalp is on fire; no thanks to the technique used to attach the kanekelon hair.After the pain has subsided, the kanekelon  stays neatly attached to our hair strands but after a month, it starts to get loose. With new growth, you should notice the fake hair hanging from the real hair.  
At this point, the braid is moves a lot. Sometimes you'll even notice that the tiny section has rolled tightly around itself causing tension to the follicle. For many, this is when you notice the white specks at the root of the braid. Try to get rid of the specks and what you will pull out from the braid will be shed hair. While this might be normal, one can't help but wonder how many hair strands were lost due to the prolonged period of tension.
Add pain from braiding, to the weight of the heavy braid, to manipulation and traction alopecia should not come as a surprise. Fortunately our hair follicles can be very forgiving but years and years of doing damage can sometimes lead to permanent hair loss.

Tips:

1.Let the amount of kanekelon hair used (per section) be  proportionate to the amount of real hair carrying it. So for instance, if you want chunky braids, let the section of hair be big enough so you have enough real hair to carry the fake.
2. Make sure your hair is not braided too tightly to the point where you start having sores. If you can't sleep at night after getting your hair braided then I'll advise that you loosen it. Styling might cost N3000 but trust me when I tell you that the solution for hair loss will definitely cost you more. 

 Both pictures were taken from two clients with relaxed hair. Look closely at the picture to the left and your will notice hair strands pulled too tightly. In the picture to the left, the lady complained that her hair never gets relaxed. Notice that the curl patter in still intact. I told her to be grateful for her stubborn hair.




RELAXERS ARE JUST A PART OF THE PROBLEM (HAIR LOSS)


Women of African descent have a lot of hair damaging practices. We perm frequently, braid tightly every month (weekly for some), and use every type of tension causing weave known to man. As a result, a lot of us suffer from hair loss. Knowing that we are doing damage to our hair in one way or the other we are quick to blame every hair loss problem on our bad hair care practices.To get help we talk to our stylist who recommends a hair growth pill or oil and the money leak begins. 

Nigerian women are known to spend a lot of money on fake hair and when our real but much neglected hair starts to wave good bye, we add expensive pills and oils to the list.The sad part is that most of these pills/oils don't work and the simple reason is that you might be trying to solve your problem using a wrong approach. There are different reasons for hair loss in men and women. Styling and genetics are just two of these reasons. If you have been using Castor oil and Rosemary essential oil for months years without getting any results then you need to see a professional who will find the problem and help you correct it so your hair can grow again.
Meet Ora who agreed to share her story with us.
Ora has battled with hair loss for 7-8 years. She noticed some thinning but blamed it on relaxers and bad styling practices.When it got worse she sought for help, and the problem was either treated as traction alopecia, alopecia areata, or an infection. In 2015 she was introduced to Farida of Lumo Naturals who advised her to stop relaxing her hair and get medical help. Afraid of getting another steriod injection Ora refused to go but stopped using relaxers.
When Ora was introduced to me, my heart went out to her after hearing all that she has been through. She had a bag full of oils and products that she was using (yes, she used everything). When asked if any of them worked she claimed that her current find; a mix of Eucalyptus and Argan oil, seemed to be having some effect as her follicles were swelling up and getting ready to bring out hair (in her own words).
When I looked closely at her scalp it looked inflamed.The follicular swelling she was talking about was not a good thing because you could see the bumps on parts of her scalp. Normally, hair grows from the scalp without the follicle getting swollen in the process.
After taking her history, I found out that she she didn't just have hair loss but excess hair growth on her thighs, face, and chest. She had also had to see a doctor in 2014 when she found out that she was lactating.
Looking at her history and hair loss pattern, I'm sure some of you will see things differently now. Ora's problem was not what she suspected afterall.
UPDATE: Ora has since been sent to a doctor for tests and possible treatment. I asked her to stop using her eucalyptus oil mix and her scalp looks much better now (see picture above no visible bumps). The product junkie in her still lives but she has been strong enough to stick with her new regimen. Best of all Ora is much more optimistic now that she has seen a doctor and has a better understanding of what is happening.

Moral of the story:  Take care of your hair, be observant and talk to the right person when you see that your shedding has pass your power (more than you can handle :d ).
Until next time.
Happy Hair days :)

SAVE THE DATE

Yes o, you read right! CN is back and better! Spread the word and get ready for an interesting event. Interested sponsors and vedors should please call the numbers in the flyer or send an email to nn@naturalnigerian.com or eskinks@gmail.com.
We look forward to seeing you all on the 23rd of April and as a plus, two of you with hair/scalp concerns stand a chance of having a free consultation with yours sincerely. To win that AND hair care products, all you need to do is send me an email containing your name, age, sex, and hair/scalp concerns. Winners would be announced at the meet up. Hope to read from you.
Good luck and see you soon. :)

WHY YOU REMEMBER YOUR HAIR BEING DIFFICULT TO HANDLE (FOR THOSE WHO FEAR TRANSITIONING)



Want to transition but fear that your hair would not be as soft as the Naturals around you?  Here are 5 reasons why you remember your hair being dry, hard and difficult to handle.

1. No deep-conditioning: As a child, I can't remember anyone taking the time out to deep condition my hair. At the time, the only hair type that got that preferential treatment was relaxed hair (remember placenta? ^.^). The sad part is that today, most relaxed ladies in Nigeria don't even get their hair treated (steamed) in salons or  at home by themselves. This could be the reason why a lot of us have hair that never seems to grow.
Black hair needs to be moisturised because it easily gets dry; no thanks to weather and a few other factors.

What has changed?
Now Naturals know that deep conditioning keeps the hair moisturised for long periods of time so we don't joke with this part of hair care.

2.Combing: Back in the day, the combs used to comb our hair had little spaced bristles (rat tail comb). Even with tears streaming down your face, the stylists wanted smooth/knotless hair and smooth/knotless hair they got.  Using the wrong type of combs to detangle our hair means that a lot of us have bad memories of our hair being hard and difficult to handle. Stories of black hair breaking combs and crying spells during hair grooming sessions are popular amongst Nigerian (African) women.
What has changed?
These days, we stick to using the wide tooth comb and some naturals on youtube have done a good job of showing us how we can do without using a comb by finger-detangling our hair. You can show your stylist how to do this or you can find a salon that has stylist(s) who know how to take out the knots of your hair without causing damage. Remember, less manipulation = length retention.



3.No emphasis on conditioning: As most Nigerian women know, more emphasis was and is still placed on getting the hair clean without putting much thought into conditioning. So for instance, your hair will be washed 2-3 times and conditioned once with little or diluted conditioner.

What has changed?  Now we understand that the pH of shampoos causes the cuticles to open up. If the hair is not properly conditioned after shampooing, the hair cuticles stay that way when it gets dry, causing it to feel rough and dry. With this knowledge gained, we know that we can get better results by washing our hair once or twice with a shampoo/bar and following up with a THICK rinse-out-conditioner like Vo5 to close our cuticles and end up with soft , smooth hair. Remember that to have manageable afro hair, emphasis should be placed on conditioning and not just cleansing.

4.We got re-united with black soap: Yes, we totally forgot about the benefits of black soap and fell hard for imported shampoos. While I have nothing against shampoos, I have observed that they can leave black hair feeling hard and dry.

What has changed?
Quite a number of us have found the goodness that is black soap again. I used the word 'again' because our great-grand mothers used this soap to wash both hair and skin but for whatever reason most of our mothers and salons did not use this on our hair (for those who knew black soap, it was strictly for the skin). Unlike most shampoos you will find, African black soap leaves afro hair feeling soft during and after washing.

5.Much love for the LOC method: Taking care of natural has progressed from what you used to know. Among others, you will hear terms and techniques like finger detangling, low heat tension method, and my favourite; the LOC method (click on link to read more). These new techniques have made taking care of natural hair easier and cheaper. Yes, cheaper because you can do most of them by yourself; saving you the cost of frequent salon visits.


So now that you know, please go head and take the steps you need to get healthy hair. If you prefer your hair being relaxed still do your research by visiting other natural hair blogs and sites because what most of us preach is healthy hair and most of the techniques that work for natural hair will work for chemically treated hair.

I GOT CERTIFIED!!




Hi folks! 
It’s been long since I did a post and I am sorry for that. The good news is that after two years of study I got certified to be a Trichologist by the International Association of Trichologist.  I would love to tell you that it was easy - because I am a guru like that *wink*- but it wasn’t.  Switching courses meant that I had to read much more than I was given and put in more effort than I am used to if I wanted to finish the course on time   without reseating any of the tests or exams. To God be the glory all things worked out for good and today I am better equipped to  help people who suffer from hair loss and scalp conditions. Of course, this did not happen overnight because as a lot of you know, I have been in the hair industry for sometime now.

What is Trichology?
Trichology is the science of hair and scalp and other related problems.  A trichologist is someone who has been trained and has successfully completed a trichology educational programme (this programme usually includes theoretical and clinical training).  After completion, he or she can then work at helping clients with hair and scalp conditions.

Beware
As an organiser of hair meet-ups in Nigeria, I have had the opportunity of meeting and talking with a lot of you lovely ladies and gents and I have heard some very funny stories indeed.  People walking up to perfect strangers and telling them that they have a particular hair problem that they don’t have, “bad hair” pulling with coconut oil as a solution for hair thinning,  clean shaving to allow  "good hair" grow as a solution for traction alopecia… and the list goes on.
The reality is that anyone can claim to be a trichologist but you have to ensure that they have been trained and have actually completed an educational programme. There’s a lot of information online so if you ever feel uncomfortable do your research and get educated before trusting any one.
Bless! :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...