Kellie Holloway from Winchester first noticed her hair was thinning when she was just 15 years old, but her obsession with covering her hair loss left her with bald patches.
Negative effect on confidence
When Kellie visited the doctor about her thinning hair he put it down to teenage hormones and told her to effectively ‘wait it out’. However, in the 10 years that followed, her hair loss got progressively worse – undoubtedly, at least in part, due to her attempts to conceal her hair loss.
Kellie explains, “I was so conscious of my hair loss and trying to cover it up, it became a massive part of my morning routine… My hair loss was never far from my mind which had a big effect on my confidence.”
This led to her spending hours creating hairstyles to cover her bald patches. Whilst working at a local salon she would experiment with styling products and various chemical hair dyes every other week in the hope that they might help to disguise her hair loss, saying: “I must have dyed it about 300 times. Once I started it become addictive”.
Aged 25 Kellie’s hair loss worsened after her son was born, so again she sought help, this time from a local dermatologist, but nothing worked.
The myth about hair dye and hair loss
The 28 year old mother of one seemed to blame her hair loss solely on styling damage from colouring when she shared her story on the Channel 4 TV show ‘Body Shockers’. The volume of product Kellie had used on her hair was also said to have caused her hair follicles to become blocked, preventing new hair from growing through.
Regular bleaching and/or dyeing can damage the hair, causing it to become dull, brittle and sometimes even snap off – as happened recently to actress Gabrielle Union, and is what Lady Gaga refers to as getting a ‘chemical haircut’. However, using normal amounts of regular hair dye should not cause an actual hair loss condition.
Although some of the chemicals used in hair dyes do have hair loss risks associated with them, this is generally only when those chemicals are present in much larger quantities than those needed to successfully colour a full head of hair.
Hair loss condition
On the show, Kellie is told that her hair loss is caused by over-dyeing but, given her problems with thinning hair started prior to her experimental phase, it seems to us that other hair loss conditions may also be at play. It is entirely possible for people to have more than one hair loss condition concurrently.
Thinning hair in teenagers – and adults – can be a result of the temporary condition Telogen Effluvium, or its more persistent form known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium (should it last for six months or more). Both these types of hair loss can be triggered by stress and, given Kellie was in her GCSE when she first started to notice this shedding, exam stress could well have been a factor in the initial hair fall.
Furthermore, premature female pattern hair loss is not unheard of in teenagers and is a progressive condition that worsens over time if the root cause – the hormone by-product known as DHT – is not tackled. In women who are predisposed to genetic hair loss, this displays as thinning hair around the top of the head, which is the area that DHT attacks, weakening the hair follicles to the point of submission. We notice from Kellie’s picture, above, that her thinning is all located along the vertex and at her crown so this condition should be a consideration.
Lastly, hair loss following childbirth is entirely normal and is due to the temporary hair loss condition, Post-Partum Alopecia. There are treatments available for all these conditions but the most important aspect is coming up with an accurate diagnosis in order to know what to treat and how to treat it.
Treating hair loss
“I’ve tried shampoo and conditioners, lotions from the chemist, hair vitamin tablets. I have spent an absolute fortune and nothing works” – Kellie’s words regarding her solo attempts to deal with her hair loss clearly echo what we are often told by Belgravia clients who come to us when their own efforts fail to produce significant, if any, regrowth results.
After seeing a specialist, Kellie abandoned a number of ineffective hair loss products she was using in favour of another over-the-counter treatment: Nioxin. As part of her transformation on the Body Shockers show, she was also given a weave to wear that would boost her confidence whilst she waits to see if her hair will grow back. “I no longer worry about having to cover my hair loss in the mornings as the system does that for me. It makes me feel so much more relaxed for the rest of the day and gives me important time to spend with my son.”
Hair loss in women can have a range of causes and, although diet and lifestyle changes may help to improve the condition of the hair, serious hair thinning, such as Kellie’s, should always be dealt with by a specialist. An early diagnosis and professional hair loss treatment course tailored to your individual condition and medical suitability will give you the best chance of recovery.
If you are experiencing unusual levels or patterns of hair loss, contact an expert as soon as possible for a free consultation and advice on the most effective treatment plan to suit your needs.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.