but the hair is the mirror to your health...
~"Hair can be considered a barometer of health because hair cells are some of the fastest growing in the body. When the body is in crisis, the hair cells can shut down to redirect energy elsewhere."
Quote: Mary Shomon
As long as we are healthy, the good looks of our hair are solely up to us. That applies for the wish of long healthy hair too, with disciplin even people that do not have killer genes can have beautiful hair at max. length.
But the sad part is that illness does not work like this and your efforts often seem hopeless. But are the really? And can something be done?
I guess I am about to find out. At this point, with some experience on illness ridden hair combined with my scientific knowledge I would say the prognosis is not all bad.
I will try to explain why in this post and start to inform about possibly working strategies.
"The hair cells shut down", but why do they do that? First of all, they may not completely shut down but if something is wrong with your health they will do bad work. This is because hair is of least importance to the body (not to us of course) and the body rather uses the energy for more vital parts of the body. This is good and necessary but that won't cheer you up when you see you hair coming out in hands full or your former luscious mane turns into brittle straw.
"It's just hair" does NOT apply here, in both ways...vanity and health. Yes, health! Your hair (also skin and nails, but first hair) will be the one to tell you that there is something wrong with your health long before you will start having noticeable problems.
For example - as early as spring 2009 I started seeing texture changes in my hair, the new growth just seemed a bit coarser than the rest. I also noticed an increased amount of kinky weird, wiry hairs, unexplained thin spots on my head and single hairs that seemed to loose and regain their color!
Of course at one point everyone will question their sanity and you will think you may just pay too much attention to your hair. But if signs add up and they persist - do be cautious, it never hurts to get to the bottom of this.
I now think I should have reacted sooner, but at least I was not all too late to get a chance to save my hair and health. Me as a person that has hair as a "hobby" of course will notice and pin point changes more easily. I document changes in my hair, mainly because I wanted to showhow I grow long and healthy hair, but later the photos let me see other important changes as well. And I'm glad about that.
Anyhow, on photos (as well as in the mirror of course) I can see the difference and the slow and gradual changes in texture. My hair was finer and silkier in the past and you can still see that on the hair below arm pit length (APL). The longer, the silkier it gets, which is a bit weird since my ends are not only 'old' but also carry chemical dye on the very bottom.
Above APL, the hair is coarser looking (although its not actually coarser), dryer, less smooth, more fragile a bit straw like. Granted not too bad, its only a rather big change for me personally going from very smooth to coarser.
I have also found many weird kinky hairs last year, more than normal with the weirdest most uneven texture. It's like my hair bulb just "shit out" a really poorly created hair that was not meant to live.
My new growth however seems to be in better condition I hope it will keep getting better.
If you are ill and experience texture changes as well, be assured that this is not necessarily the end. You should give it some time and create a battle plan.
1. Find the culprit - this is of course the most important point. Find out whats causing this, what illness(es) you have and control them. If you have a thyroid disorder for example, being on the right medication will often better things already. If you are ill and recovering it will slowly get back to normal, also after chemo therapy..the hair needs some time to get back to a normal texture again.
2. Nurse your hair - I know its frustrating if formerly sturdy hair turns more fragile, but do take care of it just like you take care of someone ill. Support it with a great lifestyle and diet, treat it gently, strictly cut out anything damaging (yes, hair dye and styling too), anything that could be too much for it. If it is dry, give it more moisture (oils, leave ins)...etc. Of course all that won't make it like before, but better and it will give you time to get better and keep your hair while recovering.
If you were growing your hair, consider taking a break and just maintaining your hair at your current length until things get better.
3. Stay positive, easier said than done...but stress can just greatly contribute to your hairs misery and slow down healing tremendously. Remember, if something is wrong with you your body first saves energy on your hair. If your hair is not so great to look at atm, see if you can hide it in updos a bit instead of going for a cut (if a trim is absolutely necessary, of course feel free to trim as needed...just evaluate before).
Depending on your illness, your hair might never be 100% what it was, but try not to be too critical and see how you can live with it. My texture changing is not what I want, but if it stays like that I still find it okay, just not like before, but I will make the best out of it.
When things are bettering....
Keep up your good behaviour. If you have new growth after hair loss you may look very funny at first, I'm currently experiencing the "pin head", which simply means that the crown is fuller due to 1-3 inch long new hairs all over, this will be more noticeable on wavier and more volumnious hair rather than pin straight hair. The fuzzy look can be controlled with Shea butter (weights down the crown hairs volume, smoothes fuzzy hairs) and certain hair do's. Currently I like braiding and twisting my crown hair into 'shape' before doing a bun when its freshly washed.
As your hair will grow, this will turn into a "mushroom head" and then slowly but surely blend in until it is unnoticeable. I had this before when I grew out damage from chemical dye (see pic left)...it really does get better and you won't have a mullet for life.
In another post I will go into more detail about nursing of hair and remedys that work, but I hope you now now about more about how the texture of your hair can change when your ill.