I had no idea my unhealthy diet and weight loss could lead to sudden hair loss
As I brushed my hair, I suddenly stopped and looked down.
Tangled in the comb, I noticed a huge clump had fallen out. In that moment, I felt my world come crashing down and just wanted to cry out for help.
How was this happening? My beautiful hair was falling out.
It was 2016 and at just 27 years old, I just could not come to terms with why this was happening to me. Over the next eight months, it continued – every time I’d wash or brush my hair, large parts of it fell out and seemed to be getting worse.
I felt so hopeless and depressed, I ended up hiding away inside due to the embarrassment of what I was going through. I completely hit rock bottom and had no idea what to do.
After over six months of continuous hair loss, my hair line was thinning significantly and I could see my scalp. I decided I needed to do something about it and made an appointment with my GP.
At first, the doctor didn’t take me seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever know why. Unanswered questions still plague me now – was it because they had seen worse hair loss? Was it because I was healthy and young?
I was suffering mentally as a result, but instead of being offered any treatment, I was just told that ‘it’s not urgent’ and that the best thing I could do was to be patient and keep my hair tied up.
With such little help, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started researching online. I was constantly looking up symptoms of extreme hair loss, and what causes it.
I became obsessed with getting to the bottom of why my hair was falling out and spent hours reading books and journals. I just wanted answers.
I then discovered alopecia and telogen effluvium – medical conditions due to hereditary or hormonal changes, weight loss, poor diet or ageing.
Looking for a quick fix, I would buy anything that I saw on social media that promised guaranteed results for hair loss. However, I was left so disappointed every time – I was just so desperate to try anything to help me grow my hair back.
Little did I know that I was putting my faith in unlicensed products which claimed to be organic and homemade, but only made the situation worse.
It turned out that most contained ingredients that were harsh on my scalp and contained a high percentage of acidic elements that over time affected hair growth.
At this point, I’d lost over half of my hair and was so worried I was going to go completely bald. I had considered buying wigs, but the one I had tried made me feel so unlike myself. It felt like I was still hiding away.
I continued to spiral – I’d spent hundreds of pounds on these so-called hair growth products and I was so angry at myself.
It affected every single one of my relationships – with friends and family. I felt ashamed to be mixing in large crowds and totally avoided social gatherings. I was not the sociable and confident person I used to be anymore.
I even wondered if anyone would ever want to settle down with me.
I could not come to terms with looking at myself in the mirror – I just wanted to cry and scream. I felt so alone.
Eventually, after a year of coping with hair loss, I visited a trichologist (a specialist who help people with scalp conditions) who examined my scalp and diagnosed me with telogen effluvium, the condition that had cropped up when I was googling alopecia.
The reason for the diagnosis came about for two reasons, according to the specialist. I’d recently undergone serious sudden weight loss because I’d started cutting out meals, which had left me very anaemic. I also had a pretty unhealthy diet because I was eating sugary snacks with no source of protein.
I did not realise how bad my diet was until my health eventually deteriorated over time. The two combined was probably the trigger for my hair loss.
In case that wasn’t enough, I was also told that the constant psychological stress itself and the harsh products I had used had made things so much worse.
The trichologist said that first of all, I had to up my vitamins as I was lacking a high level of iron and folic acid, and needed to make them part of my daily routine. They also recommended a gentle shampoo that would be far kinder to my scalp.
After my diagnosis, I spoke to my mum about it all, and she reminded me that her mother had created her own hair oil recipe out of the finest organic ingredients.
My grandmother was born in South Asia and lived there all her life, and had a passion for ‘beautifying’ her hair. However, in her day, it was very rare to purchase ready made treatments – so instead she would make an oil every week to apply to her head, something that would soon become a tradition for the women in my family.
Her formula used 10 different oils – all with their own special properties that would work together to help grow stronger hair and nourishing it to keep it healthy.
I never took it seriously though, I’d always been too busy to take time out for it – until now. This time, I decided to give it a go, after all I had tried everything and anything and nothing had worked.
My mum began oiling my scalp twice a week – leaving it in overnight to really get it working. Even after the first use, my hair felt instantly hydrated and there were less tangles.
Alongside this, I also changed my diet and lifestyle by implementing a nutritious diet that included a balance of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy low-fat meals. I also started taking daily vitamins, as well as avoided applying direct heat to my hair and stopped using any products that contained harsh chemicals.
Within a few months of doing this strict routine, I noticed new hair sprouting and the condition of it had improved immensely.
After 12 months, my hair was back to normal – but now stronger and thicker than it had ever been. I was so emotional about it but really happy – finally something that worked really well for me.
Knowing there must be other people suffering like me, I decided I had to share my family’s secret hair oil recipe and launched it as a product called Nosheen. On top of hair oil, it’s important to acknowledge that diet, fitness and lifestyle factors can all affect hair quality and quantity, as it did for me.
I completely sympathise with anyone going through hair loss and it’s so important for them to know that not only they’re not alone but there’s also support out there.
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