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My Hair Health Journey Plus Added Tips

Updated: Apr 4

At the beginning of 2021, we were well into a global pandemic. I began to heavily question the priority I placed on my beauty maintenance and routine. People all over the world were becoming more resourceful. Between coloring our own hair and getting more comfortable in the kitchen. DIY was no longer a self-made culture; it became a lifestyle for most whether we liked it or not.

One day I decided to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask myself, “Am I indebted to this upkeep?” or “Do I even enjoy these services anymore? Do I only get them because I feel like I need them?” I certainly wasn’t enjoying them the way that I use to when we weren’t on lockdown. Even when life as we know it began to open back up little by little, things still weren’t back to normal quite yet. Society began to take on a more simplistic general theme.

I had been wearing, or should I say hiding under hand-tied extensions for the two years prior to the pandemic. Let me preface this article by saying this extension method can be incredible when done correctly. I still have tons of clients that come to me for hand-tied extensions, and they love them. When I first started wearing them, I was in the thick of my autoimmune illness, and one of the side effects of the medication was “thinning of the hair.”

This is counterintuitive to my illness naturally thinning my hair which is why amongst other reasons like fatigue, weight gain, low sex drive, etc. that they put me on medication in the first place. It was all I ever knew. If it was broken, fixing it wasn’t an option; you put a pill bandage on it and called it a day. I had no earthy idea at this time that I could heal naturally by changing my lifestyle and diet. After all, what sense did it make to be taking a medication trying to prevent one of the side effects of my illness that has the same side effect I was trying to prevent?

The hand-tied extensions honestly let me put these concerns I had in a cute little box and stuff them in the back of my closet until I had the mental capacity to advocate for myself full throttle in the medical realm of things. I felt gorgeous with the extensions, and for the two years that I wore them they did help me disassociate from the reality of living with an autoimmune illness. My friends and I used to joke that we would be in the nursing home one day still wearing our infamous hand-tied extensions. As much as the thought of that made me laugh, it scared me equally as much.

At the peak of the pandemic, I felt as though I was beginning to not only break as a female but break the matrix as a female simultaneously. Somewhat lost, but also feeling found I was ready to take my health into my own hands. I was sick and tired of hearing doctors tell me that I would have this illness for the rest of my life. I was exhausted running raged around town to every spray tan, hair extension, lash extension, nail fill, injectable, and color appointment under the sun. Filling the void in my heart with vanity, but it wasn’t sustainable long-term, and I recognized this. I was preparing to grab the bull by the horns and take my life back. I wanted to shed all the layers and find myself underneath once more. And I wasn’t stopping with the outside of my body, I wanted to heal from the inside out.

This meant goodbye, birth control, Adderall, and Synthroid. I was on a mission to balance my hormones naturally, send my autoimmune illness into remission through the change of lifestyle diet and supplementation, and overall find the girl that had gone missing under years of temporary bandages being thrown on every “problem” that posed my way.

I will never forget the last visit I ever had with my primary care physician whom I had been seeing for the last decade. I brought in an article I found on Pinterest talking about low ferritin levels and how that can affect the fullness of the hair.

Ferritin is the protein inside of your cells that stores iron, and it allows the body to use iron when needed. A ferritin test will implicitly measure the amount of iron in your blood. One simple explanation for why low iron levels lead to hair loss is that when the body has reduced iron, it takes the ferritin stored in the hair follicles for use everywhere in the body. The condensed levels of ferritin in the hair follicles could weaken the hair itself and lead to hair loss. I thought I had hit the holy mecca of hair-thinning possibilities.

As I presented the article to my doctor, she began to laugh in a demoralizing tone as she weeded through my head with her latex gloves. “Your hair’s not thinning!” She pressed, “These extensions are just pulling all of it out.”

Tears of frustration flooded behind my eyes. This woman never believed in me, and as a patient, I believe it is vital that your doctor should have the bandwidth to sit with your concerns and at the very least hear you out. Doctors shouldn’t minimize or gaslight your trepidations.

“But my extensions are right here and only here, look at my scalp everywhere else. I feel like I can literally see my scalp! This can’t be the extensions. My gut tells me I should really have my ferritin checked in my bloodwork like this Pinterest article is talking about.” I respond back trying to advocate for myself to someone almost three times my age.

“Ohhhh, your insurance won’t cover that test. Just take your extensions out.” She responded nonchalantly. Between this conversation, a shallow dig about my body, and a lackluster comment about my father’s recent passing I walked out of the office that day confidently knowing it would be the last time I ever saw this doctor. I had known for a while that things needed to change, and change was exactly what I would set out to find.

I believe that every experience that happens in life doesn’t happen to us but for us. I could choose to fester this anger and resentment I was feeling, or I could take it for what it was worth and keep moving forward as my father always said. Let’s just say I wasn’t stopping until I got that test. I was going to get my ferritin checked if it was the last thing I did. Because progression doesn’t happen without resistance, so the fact that I began to feel the pressure of tribulation in this experience certainly meant I was getting somewhere.

I took my hand-tied extensions out in January of 2021 in addition to discarding all of my medications. As far as I was concerned, I was raw-dogging life, and it felt incredible to be free for the first time in a long time. Mentally, physically, and emotionally free.

Fast forward to my first appointment at Optimal Bio in Wilmington N.C. They ran nine different labs as opposed to my usual one at my previous doctor's office, and yes one of them was indeed a ferritin test that my insurance did cover. Let me just say this one more time to reiterate…NINE blood labs as opposed to my usual ONE. The most they’re ever done at one time was eighteen different labs and this was incredible to have a good gauge on my levels, and the vitamins I as deficient in.

My new doctors at Optimal Bio told me that my ferritin levels were extremely low and that I would need to be taking an iron supplement that is designed to support healthy red blood cells in addition to a few other vitamin blends. Boom. There it was. The answer I had been waiting for. The answer my gut and intuition told me to seek. They put me on a supplement called “Hemagenics.”

This supplement began to work right away. My hair and nails started growing like a weed, and my ferritin levels jumped so high that at one of my next visits, they actually lowered my dosage to every other day as opposed to every day.

As much as I would love to tell you guys to get this supplement, I really don’t recommend this unless your ferritin levels have been checked and your doctors like mine can indeed confirm that you are iron deficient. Because otherwise, this could be pointless and a waste of money if your levels there are fine. Please take into consideration that I had an autoimmune illness that wasn’t being treated properly at the time of all of this.

However, I do want to share with you three different things that can significantly change the health of your hair for the better from the comfort of your own home.

1. Rosemary Oil- Rosemary oil benefits hair growth by blocking the effects of DHT, which is a type of testosterone that is naturally responsible for shrinking hair follicles that can lead to hair loss. It increases blood flow to hair follicles, which rises the delivery of oxygen and nutrients stimulating hair growth. It can also reduce scalp irritation from issues like dandruff because it is thought to be a vasodilator, meaning it heightens blood flow in scalp skin. This improved circulation is thought to help support hair in the growing phase and prevent shedding. I like to put rosemary oil in my scalp before working out, or before bed if I plan to wash my hair in the morning.

2. Herbal Hibiscus Tea- Hibiscus tea is a prodigious source of Vitamin C that boosts collagen production in your body. Since collagen is a vital component in increasing hair growth, drinking this tea will deliver incredible results when it comes to making your hair healthier and stronger. The most amazing part is that it can even stimulate hair growth from dormant hair follicles on bald spots. Another remarkable benefit of hibiscus tea is that dry hair problems can be managed efficiently. It is packed full of amino acids which thoroughly condition your scalp thereby keeping your hair looking thick, shiny, and healthy.

3. Peppermint Oil- Peppermint oil has been used as a remedy for hair loss, and this is because the menthol in peppermint essential oil is a vasodilator, and vasodilators improve blood flow. In many instances such as female or male pattern baldness, hair loss occurs due to starved blood to hair follicles. Increasing circulation with a vasodilator like peppermint oil has the potential to improve hair growth and prevent hair loss.

Make sure that your oils are an acceptable grade for skin contact. Don’t use a warmer oil, diffuser oil, or any extract not made for skin contact. With each oil you can either put them directly in your shampoo and conditioner bottles or massage them into your scalp and let them sit for about 15-20 minutes before washing your hair. I personally take peppermint oil as a supplement in vitamin form, but I am going to give the oil directly on my scalp a try!

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns please feel free to reach out! I am always happy to connect. Articles for reference are below.


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