Look, Ma! No hair!

So I got up this morning and had my son take a few pictures for What I Wore Wednesday, and all I can do is stare at my freakishly non-existant hair.

Usually I only post pictures where I look my best — who doesn’t, right? Don’t tell me you guys really think I always look as good as I do in the pictures I post on here.

Oh trust me, I go to great lengths to stand the right way and suck in my momma gut, and I’m ALWAYS hyper aware of my dreadfully thinning hair. Friends in real life can attest that every time someone whips out a camera, I immediately start pushing my hair forward from behind, and then try to look directly at the camera, so that I appear to have hair on both sides. Then if I can get away with it, I check the photo to be sure I have hair before it goes out for the world to see.

I know, vain much?

But this morning, I couldn’t find a decent picture in the whole bunch. I almost just posted anyway and didn’t call attention to it, but then and as I looked at these pictures, I realized I couldn’t just throw them up there and be all, LOOK AT MY CUTE NEW SWEATS!

Because what I’m really thinking is, I’M GONNA BE BALD BEFORE I’M 40!

I know it doesn’t help that this photo is backlit, but still. It’s quite telling.

I have been fighting this issue for a couple of years now, and it has only worsened over time. I try not to whine about it too much and just put it in the back of my mind and carry on. I mean, what else am I gonna do? But every once in a while, I get a glimpse of it, and the reality hits me, and I just want to sit down and bawl like a baby.

The hardest part about hair loss is that you feel so. utterly. out. of control.

And before you ask . . .

Yes, I am treating my hypothyroid. Yes, I take biotin. Yes, I use sulfate-free shampoos. Yes, I’ve seen my doctor, and I’ve done everything she suggests — mostly she thinks I’m not absorbing protein b/c of my digestive issues, so she has me on digestive enzymes and things to hopefully get things moving in the right direction.

I’ve even gone off gluten, in case a food sensitivity is what is prohibiting my body from absorbing the nutrients I need.

I have no idea what to do to fix it, and with every change, it’s so hard to be patient until I can tell if it is helping (and so far, NOTHING is helping.)

You should see the hair on my bathroom floor. I could make a rug out of it.

Some say, just cut it off. Can I tell you how horrid I look with short hair? I’ve gone as short as I’m willing to go, although right now it’s a bit longer than it needs to be, and I plan to remedy that stat.

I will say that I’m thankful that it isn’t thinning in the scalp area. It’s all on the ends and towards the front. My hair dresser says it’s not breakage – she says it’s more like it is falling out faster than it can grow back in. She describes it as having a shelf life. It comes in, but it will only grow so much. She has not cut any layers into the sides or front in a year, as the goal is for it to be a bob. And as you can see, it is so not that.

Why do I share all this? I dunno. I almost didn’t. Everyone has something, right? I have a great life. I have three healthy kids and a husband who loves me and a nice home and good food and parents who are just a call away. It’s just hair.

But really, as every woman knows, it is so much more than that.

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41 Responses

  1. You know I have nothing to add on the hair loss but sending you hugs and wanted to say I think look great, always. And I’ve never ONCE thought “oh she has thin hair.” As I’m sure you know, you are hardest on yourself and you think it looks worse than it does.
    I also think you would look totally cute with short hair. Annnnnnnd, I like the sweats 😉

  2. For women we’ve been taught that our hair is our crowning glory & the longer the better. But that’s the media, beauty magazines and old wives tales speaking. I would have never known you have a hair loss/thinning problem if you didn’t mention it… to be honest when I look at your photographs I notice your (kind) eyes and smile 1st.

  3. For those of us who don’t know you well or see you often I wouldn’t even know you were struggling with hair loss. I’ve been having problems with it since my oldest was born and it’s coming out at the top…UGH! Good luck, and I hope you get it under control soon.

  4. What a brave post. It’s so hard to write or discuss what we perceive to be our own imperfections. You’re beautiful and I think that you have lovely hair! I agree with Whitney that you are harder on yourself and that it is not noticeable to others. That being said, I totally get it. I am super self conscious about my vitiligo and depigmentation but others tell me that it is not the first thing that they notice about me (even though it’s all that I see in pictures of myself). You’re not being vain at all!

  5. I agree, I wouldn’t know you were struggling with that issue. I do know how horrifying it can be. I hope you get it figured out soon.
    (And you look lovely in that photo.)

  6. Jo-Lynne, I know that all the “oh it looks great”s and “you are gorgeous”s and “how about a scarf?”s and such fall on deaf ears no matter how truthfully the speaker is speaking. I’m so sorry you are struggling with this, I do know how you feel. The hopelessness and helplessness and anxiety and the feeling that everyone is staring at your giant bald head and terrible disgusting hair is overwhelming. And not just sometimes. All the time. Every day. From the morning when you try not to look in the drain and when you spend an hour finding the part that reveals the least amount of skin to the times you curse the wind that blows and the vents of the car AC and the ceiling fans all the way to bedtime when you pull your hair back to wash your face.
    And when no one can help you or tell you what is wrong, the loneliness can just spiral out of control.

    You are not alone in this, though it seems that everyone in the world has flowing healthy beautiful hair. Not everyone does, I promise.

    Love to you. Today and every day.

  7. I too don’t notice hairloss when I look at that photo.. not that it makes that much of a difference to you… but hopefully it helps a little.

    Since you mention digestive issues, have you looked into the GAPS diet?

  8. My hair started thinning like crazy after I had my first daughter and I was mortified. I had it cut quite short and really liked it. My hair loss stopped after my hormones regulated.
    I can only imagine how hard this is for you to deal with. ((hugs))

  9. I’m sorry – hoping that you will find something that WILL work soon! 🙂 I know that I see what I don’t like about myself in pictures first too. Why do we do that to ourselves??

    I am being completely honest here when I say that I am getting my hair cut for locks of love this weekend and when I saw your picture I thought maybe I could get it cut similar to that? I think it looks like a cute, slightly sassy cut. I’ve never been above my chin line, but to have enough to donate, I will need to this time. Yikes! 🙂

    1. I think that’s my deal — anything above my chin and I suddenly feel naked. And I feel like it makes my face look longer or something, I dunno. I really do like the general IDEA of my cut – which was born out of necessity of course. I like it when it flips. I just wish you couldn’t see thru it! LOL.

      Good for you doing locks of love!! that is awesome.

  10. we all have have something…my “something” is invisible, it is MS….but I understand how you feel….we want to be perfect, not have “anything”…..hugs to you sweet friend. you carry it well. <3

  11. Thank you for this post. I appreciate the fearless honestly. My hair is thinning -falling out like crazy- from the top. I’m horrified. I keep asking my husband if he will love me if I go bald. My hormones have been tested. My thyroid has been tested. Nothing is wrong… but it is so wrong. I get the hair all over the floor. Sometimes I feel like I should wear a hairnet when I cook. What I am saying is, I understand and I appreciate a post that makes me feel like I am not struggling alone. I’m working on eating better. Next step for me, seeing a dermatologist.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Oh hon. I’m so so sorry. It is so completely dreadfully demoralizing. Keep me posted on what a dermatologist says.

  12. When I started to read your post, I scrolled back up to examine your picture again, looking at your part and thinking “What is she talking about, it looks like she has a full head of hair to me!” After reading the rest of the post, though, I realized that I was zeroed in on the place where *my* hair is thin – my scalp. I hate, hate, hate how thin my hair is on top – in fact, my scalp is currently extremely sunburnt (lovely, huh?)… so I totally feel you. It sucks. But thanks for the reminder to take my biotin 🙂

    1. See, and ALL I SEE is that big hole on the right where I have about 3 hairs that make it to my shoulder. I am sorry to hear that you’re suffering with this too. Let me know if you have any insight.

  13. Yes, every woman has something. But that doesn’t make it any better for YOU (or me). Somehow it makes us all feel better though to get it out in the open, kind of a we’re-all-in-this-together party. And it’s done me a world of good to see that you’re not perfectly put together EVERY SINGLE DAY. Thanks for being real.

  14. Jo-Lynne, you always look so great! Your hair always looks so stylish and as long as I’ve known you, you have always looked so wonderful! If I could, I’d give ya some of my hair…it’s just too unruly to ever look as nice as yours always does!

  15. I am crying while I read this and the comments are making me cry too. You’ve put into words what so many are struggling with but then writing is one of your gifts. Hair loss sucks, no other way to describe it. I thought I’d only have to deal with it once and then at least chemo explained it . Now I go to doctor after doctor, through test after test and no answers. They just leave you hanging.
    I think you look great but I know the feeling of looking in the mirror each morning and on the bathroom floor as the hair piles up.
    I wish I had some advice but the only thing I know to do is pray. Love you lots and if I had hair to spare I’d give you some…..

  16. Jo-Lynne- I feel your pain. I have been thinning over the past year LIKE CRAZY and it’s in the scalp. It is so difficult, and I think about it all the time. 🙁 🙁 I completely understand. I just started Nioxin Shampoo, and I’m hoping it helps.

  17. Ah shoot, I didn’t know this was going on with you. You always do look so nice and I am sorry that you are having to deal with this. I hope you find a solution soon. xo

  18. This is something that soooo many women are dealing with to one extent or another. I’m so glad you posted, b/c it helps the rest of us understand that we’re not alone. I have found personally, that it’s hormonal, and that’s how I’ve been treating it with some success. PTL! But it’s such a pain to deal with! Praying you find the answer….. 🙂
    I do concur with the others, you always look wonderful!

  19. Jo Lynne, I admire you SO much for being willing to talk about this on your blog. That was gutsy! And for what it’s worth, it’s nothing I ever noticed in any pics of you. Even in this pic, if you hadn’t said something, I would have just thought you had a new, shorter cut, seriously. B/c your hair is dark, it doesn’t look thin to me. In people with thin blond hair, it seems very obvious.

    I hope you find the answer to the trouble, but I’ll just say that I think you’re a very beautiful woman, with beautiful hair. Don’t worry. No one else is looking at you thinking, “she has thinning hair.” It wouldn’t never have occurred to me, from this photo, if you hadn’t said.

  20. Jo-lynne, I had no idea! For the record, I wouldn’t have noticed had you not pointed it out. It just looks like a super-cute haircut! I’m so sorry you’re going through that. I hardly know you, but I think you’re beautiful inside and out, and don’t worry, we’re all a little vain!

  21. I actually saw this post and thought “oh, cute hair!” call me crazy! Ha! But then I also noticed CUTE SWEATS! Lady, you gotta tell me where ya got em! Im in NJ so I know I can probably score them if, say, you got them at Le Target! :o)

    1. Oh yeah, I was GOING to do a post about them, till I saw my hair in that picture and stopped to bawl.

      They are PUMA. Got them on sale for 45% off at the PUMA store. I have never darkened the door of a PUMA store but I saw them in the window, went in, found out they were on sale… WOOT! SO comfy.

  22. Have you ever tried Nioxin? I have been using that for the past three years as I was getting extremely thin on the very top of my head. You have to put it on every time you wash your hair, every day at first if possible, but in six months or so you notice a difference and it continues to fill in. That was my experience, I know everyone is different but it’s worth a try. You can get it from your hairdresser. My hair is nice and thick now but you have to use this product forever or it falls out again. I can see myself in the nursing home having the techs putting it on my scalp in a few years!! ha! See you soon!!! xoxox

  23. Hair or no hair, you’re still hot!
    (And I don’t mean to diminish your feelings. But still.)

  24. My hair SUCKS! It has been thinning up top for years. It was really bad after both of my pregnancies. It grew back a bit, but for me it is probably genetic. All I have to do is look at my mom and grandmother.

    I try really hard to not get depressed about it, but I do. I have so many other things to be grateful for that I try my best to resist asking, “Why me, Lord”?

    1. I know, so many other people have horrible crosses to bear, and this one isn’t fun, but it isn’t painful or debilitating, I try to keep reminding myself of that.

  25. I noticed my hair thinning a few years ago -my ONLY saving grace was that I had too much of it to begin with. But, my thought is, what if I lose MORE…eeep. We are most critical of our own flaws, which isn’t so fun since we live with ourselves. I think you are absolutely gorgeous. Inside and out.

    And, gasp, WHAT?! Never entered a PUMA store before?! JL! I swear my kid has been stuck on PUMA so long we are on a first name basis. Prior, however, ADIDAS was our middle name.

  26. Nioxin works well. I have hair loss due to PCOS and hormones. My endocrinologist suggested Nioxon a long with my meds. I have been pleased with the results. I know how bad hair loss feels. So sorry you are experiencing it too.

  27. Oh my. I have spent the last several months trying not to freak out about the very same thing. You’re so right- in the grand scheme of things it is not a serious problem. It’s hard not to get upset, though. Like everyone else, I cannot tell that your hair is thinning- and I also think you look beautiful. I hope you find something that helps. I will pray for you. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve already said a few panicked prayers for myself. 🙂

  28. I have been reading your blog for a while now and this is the first time that I have felt compelled to add something. I had the same problem as you since my early thirties and completely understand the situation that you are in and how it can quickly sap confidence and make you very insecure. My doctor tells me it’s due to my stressful lifestyle but, due to my work and personal circumstances, avoiding stress is easier said than done. Through trial and error and by spending a lot more money than i’d like to admit I came across Viviscal. They claim to be a natural product really all I care about is that it works for me. It takes patience but I can vouch for it. Hopefully if you do try it then you have the same success that I did. All the best,

  29. I have a co-worker who is gradually going bald at the front of her hairline. It is SO hard to work retail in an image-driven industry when you have a problem like this.. it SUCKS!

    I can’t relate but I think your hair looks pretty great in pictures – I had no idea! Although… who ares what everyone else sees when YOU are the one who feels the problem.

    1. Yeah, it is almost worse when people say they don’t notice. I mean, I’m glad, and I tell myself that every day – no one else is thinking about it!! But on the other hand, this is such a demoralizing issue to deal with, having validation for my feelings really helps me feel not so alone in it. So I appreciate both sentiments – for different reasons. 🙂 And yeah, it doesn’t help that I am so active in fashion and style related forums. It makes it all the worse – feeling like I need to look the part, and I’m struggling to just keep my hair. UGH. Blech. Blah. Hmph.

      Anyway. Love ya, girl. xoxo

  30. I truly appreciate all of your comments. Just wanted to say that. So, thanks. 🙂

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