Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hair Loss

(Continued from blog article posted on 28 Mar 08)

In fact, the residue from the sebum regulator produced tiny sticky white residue on my hair once my hair dried to the extent that my colleagues thought my hair had dandruff. Anyway my hair was still very oily and coated with some dandruff too, despites applying the supposedly strong and beneficial shampoos that the top dermatologist prescribed. I confirmed this fact when I popped into one of the hair treatment centre at a shopping centre for curiosity and did a free consultation with the centre. The ‘scanner’ that the centre operators used magnified my scalp glands many times over, revealing the oily spots, it really look disgusting with such a hundred times over magnification of the sebaceous scalp glands. The operators said my scalp glands were choked with oil, and this may cause hair loss; but I did not want to take any chance with this centre and off I left.

I went for a second consultation with the dermatologist I saw previously. Again, the dermatologist said there was nothing wrong with my hair or with my scalp and the results from the ‘hair-pull’ test she carried out on me revealed no extraordinary hair loss. After hearing the story of the medical treatment I did and the drug nimigen I consumed, she suspected that it may be telogen effluvium caused by the medication, a condition which could only go away in times to come; though my oily scalp may be a contributing factor too. She told me that she could not do anything except to help me diagnose the cause of my hair loss via a scalp biopsy ($589) and a blood test ($169); all price stated without GST. Hearing the prices, I hesitated but in an urge to find out the real cause, I decided to take the plunge and carried out the scalp biopsy and the blood test.

I did the blood test first and the pain was nothing compared to the scalp biopsy I undergone later on. It was no joke, having a piece of your head scalp being removed surgically and the pain was terrible despite the application of anaesthetics prior to the treatment. After both the tests, the nurse rubbed a Bactroban cream on the part of my scalp which was operated on to kill the bacteria; after sewing this part of the scalp. There was still little pain that subsisted everytime I shampoo the sewn part of the scalp. I was told to come back two weeks later to remove the stitch and to obtain the results of the diagnosis. I was given the remaining of the Bactroban cream to apply daily on the affected scalp to ease the pain and kill the bacteria.

Two weeks later, I returned to the same clinic to remove the stitch and the dermatologist handed me the result; and the result indicated that it was telogen effluvium. The dermatologist said it was good news as this condition which may be due to the medication I took would finally subside after some time. I would be waiting for this to come soon.

But alas, days pass and then months, it was futile. Seeing tons and tons of hair on the bathroom sink and waking up everyday to witness the hundreds of hair strewn across my bed and on my bedroom floor did nothing to assuage me that my illness would go away.

The visits to the dermatologist have also drained me financially and in a desperate move, I decided to try out some off-the-counter hair loss products available at pharmacies.

I tried the Himalyan Hair Loss Cream (Herbal) for about one month but it was useless so I went to see the dermatologist again for the fourth and fifth time (that was in April and May last year), but again the dermatologist assessed and said there was nothing wrong with my hair, no male pattern loss or whatever. But indeed, my hair was getting thinner and thinner by the day. She prescribed me with stronger shampoos and sebum regulator which I used without seeing any improvements. It was at this time that I finally decided not to see the dermatologist again as there was simply no use at all! Hair continued to fall and fall.

From then on (Jun 07), I have ‘more or less accepted my fate’ and accepted my hair loss fact. I tried Kaminomoto Hair Growth Accelerator and a good shampoo called Melaleucca Shampoo recommended by my friend but it was really no use at all. The telogen effluvium which I was diagnosed with did not seem to be the hair illness that struck me as it simply did not stop within a short period. It was over one year and my hair still continued to fall like rain.

Over the whole of this hair loss ordeal, I carried out numerous researches on hair loss over the internet, which further equipped me with all knowledge concerning hair loss. I tried all I could, from observing what I consumed (less oil), watching my diet, exercising regularly and even cutting down on some coffee and tea. But it did not help in the loss.

I have also shared my findings with others on an internet discussion forum posting and the thread saw some 55,000 odd readers before it was finally removed by the administrator. With my knowledge learnt from the internet and my ordeal, I shared with some of these forumers; some of them even emailed me to ask questions. For hair loss, there is really no one fixed miracle panacea: what works for one may not work for others.

The hair loss did affect my life a bit: waking up in the morning and after shampooing, I counted the number of strands of hair that I lost and any fewer in count would make me slightly happier. I used to enjoy the wind but now I avoid being ‘confronted’ with a gust of wind for fear that the wind would blow off some of my hair. It does not help that Singapore can get breezy at times! And definitely, my self-esteem would suffer a bit of loss and it did not help that I am still without a girlfriend at my age! Hair loss would certainly dealt me a serious disadvantage in this ‘image-conscious’ society; though it may not be always true: I still do my fair share of admirers as some girls are not particular over looks.

Entering the MRT daily, I always observed young man at different stages of balding; sometimes I saw friends who I have not seen for some years completely bald! This shocked me and brought me to the reality that balding in Singapore is not just MY problem, it is OUR problem !


Is it due to stress in this fast-paced society of ours? Or is it due to the diet here that causes more young men and even women to bald? And the fact that the coffers of hair treatment centres are constantly ringing? From June since I stopped the treatment and sporadically choosing some over-the-counters, I left it to nature to heal this sticky problem; it was till December 07 that I learnt some fact from one of the forumers to my post and I changed course and undertook another attempt against hair loss ……………

(to be continued)

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