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The Truth About Losing Hair Due to Illness at 24

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One of the things I have always been complimented on is my curly hair. It’s always been one of those things I have had a love/hate relationship with. Growing up, I can remember trying the L’Oreal detangled curly hair stuff. That stuff never worked and it would always sting my eyes. Tear free bull crap, L’Oreal!

I remember fighting with my thick curly hair every single morning. It was a nightmare. I hated it. Most mornings I cried over my hair because it wasn’t straight and flat like the other girls. I was always so jealous of the other girls at school who had their perfect hair in braids and ponytails. Meanwhile, mine was in a headband that looked like I had a mane around my head. It was bad. I won’t post a picture because it’ll turn into one of those mean memes. Trust me. It’s bad.

As odd as this may sound, as a little kid I remember praying that my hair would go straight and that I would wake up the next morning with Hilary Duff’s hairstyle. Ha! That clearly never happened.

In high school, my best friend taught me how to correctly straighten my hair (who knew that there was an art to it?! Not me!). From there, I slowly learned how to style my curly hair. I even got to the point where I was able to tame it… to a point. But for the record, to this day my curls have a mind of their own.

When I got home from my mission, I remember being at the beach with my family and noticing that my hair was starting to get thinner. I didn’t think twice about it. My hair had always been thick and curly — like insanely curly. As in the kind of curly that everyone comes up to you and says, “Can I touch your hair?” but before you can even answer they are already touching your hair (I still hate it when people do that to me. Don’t touch my hair unless you’re my mom, sister, boyfriend, or if I give you permission. End of story.).

Anyway, my hair started thinning while I was on my mission. At first, it was just a couple of clumps that would fall out every couple of months. Little did I know that was a sign of undifferentiated connective tissue disease/lupus.

Slowly, I started noticing that my hair was getting a lot longer but thinner. It was the weirdest thing. My hair was really long. In fact, that was the longest that I’ve ever had it. Then things slowly started changing.

My hair started to get stringy. It was really thinning out. Then I started pulling clumps of hair out. I started to get worried and Googled it. Dr. Google said I was dying. Great. Thanks, Google. That’s just what I wanted to hear. That night was the first time I ever cried over my hair as an adult. I never thought that I would be the kind of girl who cries over hair. I guess I was wrong. But on the flip side, I mean, it’s just hair! It’s not like I’m dying. It’s not like the world is going to end if I’m bald, right? …Right?!

But no matter how many times I tell myself that it’s going to be OK, no matter how many times I tell myself that I’m going to figure out something to get my thick head of hair back, I somehow always end up crying about it. Please, someone tell me I’m being dramatic over here, and that I just need to calm down!

As a 24-year-old you’re not supposed to be losing hair. You’re supposed to be starting a career, and thriving in your 20s. You shouldn’t be worrying about going bald in the next month. But, life has a funny way of throwing curve balls, doesn’t it?

Despite all of my insecurities with my lack of thick hair, I’m starting to learn how to manage it again. I’ve cut my hair, and learned how to layer (and I mean layer) on the hairspray to hide the random bald spots. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to grow my hair back. I’ve heard that coconut oil, and a few other treatments (someone told me something about egg white.. that sounds gross but I’m getting kind of desperate here!) that I’m going to try.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m going to do about my hair from here on out. Maybe I’ll go see another hairstylist and see if they can sprinkle some magic on my head. Or maybe I’ll ask my doctor about it again. I’m not sure. All I know is that right now I want to figure something out.

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Thinkstock photo by George Doyle

Originally published: April 19, 2017
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