Have you ever had that dream? The one where you get to work and something is off, like you forgot to put on a shirt, forgot your bra, or you didn’t do your hair. Being diagnosed with alopecia areata is sort of like that. It makes you feel like every day is sort of off. Like you’re wearing two different shoes. Only it’s every day.
Let me explain how I first realized that I had alopecia areata which is just a fancy latin way to say that I have bald patches (hair loss) on my scalp and yes, it’s an autoimmune condition. My scalp felt a bit itchy in one area and so finally I just went through my then super thick hair to see what was going on. As I parted my hair I saw it, right there. A patch of angry bald scalp. I started to hyperventilate like I couldn’t process what I was seeing. I was in complete disbelief. Then I found a second spot.
If you have Alopecia areata, I bet you can relate right?
So now what?
Well, the common next step is to see a dermatologist who will simply give you some Minoxidil or something similar, tell you it’s nothing that can be reversed and that sometimes hair grows back and sometimes it doesn’t. “We just don’t know” is what I was told.
Well the good news is, beautiful, that this is not a life’s sentence and yes, you do have some control and you can create changes to help you reverse this condition.
Know what you’re dealing with
This is an autoimmune condition and despite autoimmune conditions being split up into different medical specialties based on the location of the AI symptoms, its in fact a systemic issue. What that means is that your whole body is involved in this fiasco even though your main symptom is hair loss due. You are in a state of Dis-Ease. Happily you can get back into a state of ease.
Make a timeline
This is a great way to help diagnose a root cause(s) for what just appeared for you. Our body is actually pretty awesome at giving us clues to illness before it gets to this point so think backwards and jot down your health history. Try answering these questions along the way.
- What was happening in my life when I first noticed this? Were you stressed?
- Have you taken antibiotics or birth control pills? If so, when?
- How has your digestion been? Any issues with constipation? Diarrhea? Gas? Bloating?
- Have you had any infections in the past like Lyme or Mono (Epstein Barr Virus)?
- How has your diet been in general? Any bouts of way too much alcohol? Sugar? Processed junk foods?
- How has your sleep been?
- Have you been tested for heavy metals or aluminum toxicity?
- How are your vitamin D levels? Do you sit inside all day long?
The answers to these will help you get a clearer picture on what went “wrong” so to speak and how you can start to reverse alopecia areata.
Manage your immediate symptoms
Because it takes time to address your root cause(s), you’ll need some stop gap help to cover up hair loss.
- Buy a box of tissues and rent some super silly movies. You need to lift your mood hon.
- Get some hair fibers – this is such a life saver especially when you have spots near the top of your head. There are plenty of options on Amazon. I have used Topik.
- Find a couple of versatile hats for those days you really don’t want to spend time doing your hair, or if it’s a really windy day. I love Portland, Oregon based Flipside hats. Their hats are locally made and cotton (so they’re soft and breathable)
- If things get worse, you might opt to purchase a decent (not too expensive) wig. Unless you had a couple grand to spend on a really nice human hair wig, one in the $200 range could work in the meantime.
- Consider red light therapy device. I have i-Grow which worked like a charm when I needed to grow back pretty much all of my hair. This i-Restore is similar to the i-Grow I have.
Fix your gut
If you’ve had any digestive issues, food sensitivities or you’re eating processed or not so healthy for you foods/beverages, this is the place to start.
The fact is that 70% of your immune system lives in your gut so if you’ve had antibiotics, birth control pills, bloating, gas, BM issues etc… you’ll have a compromised immune system.
Secondly, you need a healthy gut to detox metals, plasticizers, petrochemicals and any other nasty chemically stuff we run into on a regular basis.
- Try and elimination diet to see what foods you’re sensitive too.
- Start eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods
- Cut out sugar (all types!) even fake sugar (stevia is ok since it has antiviral properties)
- Get a good probiotic, I like spore based probiotics like Megasporbiotic which can live through the stomach acid which many probiotics won’t. You need them to be alive when they reach your intestines.
- Eat prebiotics like asparagus, sweet potato and broccoli stems.
- Test for Candida Overgrowth. I recommend using an Organic Acids Test which is an easy to use take-home test that will give you a clear picture of what may be off with your gut microbiome.
- Skip the test and follow a Candida and Bacteria Overgrowth protocol that I highly recommend by Equilibrium Nutrition.
Stress is one of the biggest gut health enemies. When we’re stressed, we don’t digest our foods well, our cortisol levels go up, we don’t heal quickly and our sleep quality degrades.
- Try meditation. Just 5 minutes a day consistently can make a difference.
- Try reframing situations you’re challenged by. You don’t have control of what others say or do but you do have the ability to change how you respond.
- Practicing gratitude does wonders. Listen to some podcasts on gratitude or do some journalling at the start and end of each day. Or just jot 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for at the end of your day.
Do some detoxing
Our liver and kidneys take the brunt of our not too great eating habits and toxins that we’re regularly exposed too. By doing a detox you can begin to remove some of these toxins so your body has a better chance of healing.
To learn more about ways you can balance your body, join my 5 Day Detox for Beginners. This program starts on October 5th! Sign up by September 30th for just $77!
Remember, Alopecia areata is reversible, beautiful! This is just a wakeup call to listen too and nourish your body and mind. Time for a little action.