Monday, August 3, 2015

112 Pounds and Counting: My Hair is Falling Out, But My Mustache is as Thick and Full As Ever!

I'm a little conflicted about writing this post. And since it's not specifically about weight loss, I don't know if you'll call foul on this being the second post in my Weight Loss Journey series.

Let's Back Up…

Earlier this year, the glorious ladies of the Rockville 8 decided that we wanted to focus on life journeys. Since we're all headed somewhere, we might as well write about it, am I write right? I decided to blog about my weight loss, because it's very much what I'm personally focused on these days.

In short, my journey began on January 1, 2010, when I hit rock-bottom by hitting an unwanted highest-ever: 365 pounds. As of August 1, 2015 (two thousand thirty-eight days later, but who's counting?) I weigh 253 pounds.

(Hold for applause.) (Hold for ticker-tape parade.) (Hold for somebody to tell me to get over myself and get on with the blog.)

So that's 112 pounds, with a lot of ups and downs in between. It's been a long journey, and it ain't over yet! I have eighty pounds to go before I hit my goal of 173 (which is just within the "normal" BMI parameters for me). I posted my first blog about this, I've Lost 100 Pounds and I'm Still Fat, on June 15.

Okay, So What's With This Hair Loss Business?

That's what I'd like to know! Back in November I noticed that I was losing a lot of hair. It had happened a few years earlier, too, after I'd lost a lot of weight, and eventually the "hair fall" stopped and life went on as usual. Even the November hair loss also slowed after I stopped using shampoo (switched to baking soda and vinegar, which I loved). But about two months ago, my hair started falling out again. So now, yeah, I'm a little worried.

Worried enough, and embarrassed enough, in fact, that I wasn't going to write about it. But it's been very much on my mind, and since it's a health-related issue (and possibly a weight-related issue, still not sure), it seemed dishonest to keep it to myself.

I've done a fair amount of internet-related research on the subject. What I haven't done yet is talk to my doctor. But I finally made an appointment, so hopefully I'll soon be on the receiving end of some helpful medical advice. It could be something as simple as an iron deficiency. It could be stress-related. Could be hormonal. Could be a million, bazillion things. One of the most frustrating aspects of this situation is all the things it "could be."

That being said, here are a few things I've done that seem to have made a slight difference:
  • Stopped washing my hair every day. Although there was a time when I washed my hair every day, back in November I switched from shampoo to baking soda and vinegar. Recently I've tried going totally no-wash (except with water). Four days seems to be the absolute limit of how long I can go without cleaning my hair, although if I'm ever brave enough, I may push it a little longer. I can't say for sure that no-wash is making a big improvement, but I can say that my scalp feels healthier, less dry, and so I'm going to keep it up. (That is, I'm going to keep up the thing I'm not doing, which is daily cleaning.)
  • Taking a supplement called Phytoworx. I'm not going to include a link here, because I don't want it to seem like I'm not trying to sell the stuff. I will say that it's a combination of just about every natural remedy for hair loss that I've heard of, and after a couple weeks of taking it, my hair loss has slowed. Not stopped, but slowed, and that ain't bad!
  • Eating more protein, more often. Over the past year, as I've been eating lighter, meat has started to disappear from my diet. I've always felt philosophically drawn toward vegetarianism, and I even tried to go vegan a couple years ago (more on that in another post, if you're interested). But hair health and protein intake do seem to be related, so I've been making sure to include a couple small servings of meat a day, as well as eggs in the morning. I also eat nuts with my morning snack.

Anyhow, we'll see how this goes. If you see me walking around with a dramatic comb-over or a funny hat, you'll know why! I'm really hoping to get some helpful answers from my doctor. But either way, I'll keep you posted!

And if you've had this trouble yourself and don't mind talking about it, I hope you'll share your experiences in the comments.

Um, And What About The Mustache?

Huh. *blushes* Yeah, the facial hair is a whole other issue. Actually, I could have said "beard" in the post title instead of "mustache" but I just think "mustache" is a funnier word, so I used it instead.

Okay, this is an incredibly uncomfortable thing to discuss. But you know what, who cares? Honestly, more and more women are having facial hair issues, so let's get our fuzzy faces out of the closet and talk about it.

I started growing hair on my chin and neck when I was fourteen (not too devastating for a girl who already had major self-image issues!), and it's been a persistent problem. Over the past thirty years, I've tried:

  • Electrolysis – was too painful and expensive for me to finalize my course of treatment, so unfortunately this had no long-term results.
  • Laser hair removal – which didn't eliminate the problem, but did reduce it by about thirty percent.
  • Waxing – I recently tried to let my chin hair get long enough for it to be waxed, but unfortunately that was a no-go. The very sweet lady at the salon suggested I let it grow for two weeks. After I stopped laughing at that idea, I thanked her for her time and left.
  • Medical advice – I've consulted two doctors. One said that I exhibited symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). She prescribed birth control pills, but they made me crazy so I stopped taking them. The other prescribed progesterone, but I stopped taking it due to insurance issues (they're expensive, and I went through a period where I didn't have insurance, so there ya go). I'm thinking about asking my new doctor if she would suggest a similar course of treatment. But to be frank, I don't like taking a lot of prescriptions (already take two for my blood pressure), and since this a cosmetic issue, I chafe at the idea of swallowing any more. (I'm not saying this is a good attitude to have, I'm just saying that this has been my thought process thus far.)
  • Natural solutions – For example, at one point, I tried taking large doses of inositol after reading that inositol has a positive effect on symptoms of PCOS. Awesomely enough, the inositol definitely slowed the growth of hair on my face. But unfortunately it also seemed to accelerate the loss of hair on my head, so I stopped taking it.
All of the above remedies have their workability and validity. You'll notice that one thing that most of them have in common is that I didn't follow through long enough to see permanent results. (The one exception being laser hair removal). My best hope is for…

  • Weight loss – As I've lost the last fifty pounds or so, the hair on my face has stopped growing so quickly. I'm hopeful that as I continue to lose, the hair on my chinny-chin-chin will stop growing altogether. If it doesn't (which it very well may not), then I will probably go with a combination platter: medical, natural, and another round of laser removal.

Sometimes, you just gotta keep swinging until you hit something.

And Now What?

Well first, I'm going to end this post. It's already way too long! (Thanks for sticking with me this whole time, by the way. It's been incredibly cathartic.) After that, I'm going to keep doing the things that have been working, and weed out the things that haven't.

My next post will be on September 21. What would you like me to write about? Some ideas I've had are:

  • I hate going to the doctor, but I do it anyway (medical manifesto from a semi-hippie-chick).
  • Three silly things I've done to try to lose weight.
  • Five years of weight loss: what's worked, and what hasn't.

Those are my thoughts, but I am wide open to other ideas! Please leave suggestions in the comments. Also, if you have questions about anything that I've written, please don't hesitate to ask. At this point, I don't have a lot of secrets left, so don't be shy.

You can also contact me any time through the About and Contact page on my website:

Have a great week, friends!


  1. Thanks for your authenticity, Misha. These are issues that women don't often (in my opinion) discuss openly. Glad you're taking them on. I have struggled with hair loss (due to hypothyroidism & rapid/significant weight loss & periomenopause). For some women, I do believe that thinning hair is an issue as we age. Good you're getting input from your doctor. Because, as you say, it can be a host of medically-related issues. Good luck! And we'll wait to hear the verdict! ;0)

    1. Thanks so much, Mackenzie! Really appreciate the support and encouragement. It's funny how shy we get about these things, isn't it? Writing that post was very cathartic, if somewhat squirm-inducing, lol. I'll definitely keep everyone updated! :-)

  2. Great blog, Misha! It was both inspirational and beneficial. I thought for five years weight-loss next .

    1. Thank you so much, Deborah! Very glad that you liked it!

      I'm totally on board for the "Five Years of Weight Loss" blog coming next. I think that's the one. :-)

  3. Misha, I love these weight loss posts of yours. My experience echoes yours in several ways, including hair loss, and my doctors (I saw two of them, at different times) always said there was no indication that my weight loss had anything to do with the hair loss. Never have figured it out. Probably never will. But I'm def going to look for that supplement you mentioned!

    1. Oh, I am SO glad that you are enjoying the weight loss posts! They've been very cathartic and helpful to write. Who knew that making fun of myself would be so good for my self-esteem, lol! ;-)

      Ugh, how frustrating that your doctors haven't been able to give you a definitive "why" for your hair loss. :-/ That's been one of the most difficult issues for me: there are SO many things that can cause it that it's difficult to know where to start.

      I really hope you get some good results from the Phytoworx! (Amazon has a good price.) :-)

  4. Misha, thank you for being so open about your weight loss triumphs and trials. Best wishes with resolving the hair loss, too. Consulting your doc is a smart move! I'll be looking forward to the next installment of your weight loss journey!

    1. Thanks so much, Nicole! Yeah, I think smart people usually start by talking to their doctor, lol. I hope she can point me towards a resolution to this issue. I'll definitely keep everyone posted! :-)

  5. Misha, this is a wonderful post. Your honesty is refreshing and engaging. Weight-loss, like writing can be a lonely journey and this makes it less so.

    I vote for either topic 2 or 3.

    I have had a couple of times where I seemed to be losing hair - the first was after I had a baby and the other was during an extremely stressful time at work. It did level out for me and improve somewhat after each time. I do think that protein helps because hair is made up of mostly protein. Eating protein has never been my favorite, either, but I find it helps me. I will have to look for the supplement you mentioned. In addition, my hair was very thick during pregnancy and I credit that to pre-natal vitamins. So, maybe an overall vitamin supplement would help as well. Also, I remember reading in a magazine once that putting lavender oil on your scalp would help - I think at night while you sleep.

    1. Thanks Lisa! :-)

      Wow, I'm really happy that you've seen improvement with your issues. That's awesome! And very encouraging! :-)

      It's interesting that your pre-natal vitamins helped strengthen and thicken your hair. What is in those things, lol? I'm hoping that the doc will be able to identify where my deficiency is.

      Thanks so much for your comment! :-)