When it comes to having plenty of hair to lose, I can thankfully say I hit the genetic jackpot. Losing over half of my hair still left me with a lot more hair than some people. Technically speaking, I lost about 3/4ths of my hair. In high school, shortly before my battle with hair loss began, I couldn't even wrap a large goodie ponytail holder around my hair more than once (if you have one nearby, stretch it out completely and you'll see how much hair I started with- more than a handful. Now, I can wrap one around my hair three times). If I ever tried to part my hair back then, which was pretty futile, I couldn't even see my scalp. To say I started with a lot of hair is probably an understatement. It was a bit of a nuisance, actually. So I decided to make a change and had it chemically straightened and cut to bob length. That's about the time my hair loss journey began, although I hesitate to blame it on the straightening treatment, but it most likely didn't help.
It may sound weird, but I was a bit fond of the hair loss at first. I was finally starting to get a definable part in my hair and didn't really worry about the fistfuls of hair in the shower. I thought it was probably just an allergic reaction to the chemical straightening and would go away on its own with time. But it didn't.
After months of still losing clumps of hair, I thought I may have been losing hair due to the use of certain hair styling products, as I'd changed my products with the new cut. So, I started to use products that were alcohol-free, silicone-free, and so on. Basically, I turned to using all of those "better for you" products, but didn't see any changes. And years passed on.
I spoke to my doctor and dermatologist about my hair loss concerns, but being someone with what still looked like a more-than-average amount of hair, they didn't seem too worried and basically chalked it up to getting older and suggested I try some rogaine. And I was excited to find that it actually worked- at regrowing my hair. It did not, however, stop the fistfuls of hair clogging up the shower drain, so my hair loss saga continued, although I still used the rogaine to counteract the hair loss.
I decided to try and up the rogaine quotient by using regrowth shampoos and conditioners. I was generally a "whatever is on sale" shampoo and conditioner user before that point, but figured the extra cost was worth it if it worked. Unfortunately, I didn't really see any remarkable improvement from the cheaper, drugstore stuff I had used before, so I went back to basics.
It was about this time I went back to the doctor for some other health issues and was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, which can cause hair loss. I was relieved that the mysteries of my hair loss were finally explained and that the medication would solve all my thyroid and hair loss issues. It didn't.
The hair loss persisted.
At this point in my hair loss journey, I basically tried everything else you could ever possibly read on the internet. I tried hair masks and treatments. I stopped using styling products altogether. I stopped using hair appliances. I started taking hair vitamins. I changed and improved my diet. I bought a boar bristle brush and brushed my hair and scalp a ridiculous number of times of day. I bought a tool that promised to stimulate the scalp for hair growth. I bought organic shampoos and conditioners and sulfate-free, paraben-free shampoos and conditioners. And then, one day, I started to use just cleansing conditioner and saw some improvement, and that's pretty much where I stayed. I was beginning to accept the idea that hair just falls out in clumps, it's perfectly normal, and I'd just continue on that path and keep using my rogaine to help decrease the visual loss along the way. And if it weren't for my acne, I never would've found the solution.
Several years before then, after battling yet another cold, a friend had told me she drank apple cider vinegar everyday and hadn't been sick in years. So I figured I'd give it a shot and started to drink it daily and, as skeptical I had been, I have to admit it worked.
I started to see more and more things on the internet about apple cider vinegar and other uses. I had been having problems with acne breakouts along my jawline and wasn't really seeing results with over the counter stuff, so I figured I'd try the apple cider vinegar as a treatment. It also worked.
That's when I started to wonder about apple cider vinegar for hair loss. I'd seen suggestions to use it as a rinse or conditioner for shiny hair, but never really anything beyond that for hair. Some sites said to use it full strength, but then I came across an article that said to dilute it for scalp PH. That was my wake up call, because before that point I had heard nothing about scalp PH from any of my doctors.
I started doing research on how scalp PH imbalances can cause hair loss. What our scalp PH should be and how chemical treatments, shampoos, conditioners, metabolic or respiratory issues, and even certain diets affect our PH, and how any or all of those things can wreak havoc on hair.
So I decided to give it a shot. I have to say, using a properly diluted apple cider vinegar rinse for my scalp in place of shampoo took some getting used to. First of all, instead of losing clumps of hair in the shower, I now lose maybe 10 strands. Secondly, instead of losing another 100 strands simply combing my hair out afterwards, I now lose maybe 30. And third, instead of pulling a ridiculous amount of hair out of the shower drain each week to keep the water from backing up, I don't have to clean the drain out at all.
This experience was a big eye-opener for me. After all of the years I spent trying supposed solutions and buying shampoos that promised to make my hair thicker, shinier, longer, stronger, and fuller, I had no idea they were all literally wasting my money and hair away. And I had no idea how much healthier and cleaner my hair could ever be without it. I still use conditioner on my hair (not the scalp). And I've seen other people mention the use of aloe vera instead. But I have to say that apple cider vinegar works..and if you've tried everything else imaginable like me and are still losing hair, your PH may be the culprit.
Daily Apple Cider Scalp Rinse
- In a spray bottle, mix 2/3 cup of water with 1 tbs unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar. (You can test with PH strips, but it should be between 4.0-4.5).
- In the shower, wet hair fully and spray all along the hairline. Gently rub into scalp and pour remainder on top of head and crown.
- Rinse with warm water and follow with your conditioner of choice.
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