Early Alopecia symptoms and 6 tips on how to manage them
2 years ago / in Blog
Over the years, I’ve learned to recognise how early Alopecia symptoms look like, and through a lot of experiments also learned the best ways to manage these symptoms.
Most people have not heard about Alopecia Areata, so in the early days it is not uncommon for people to miss the signs or be confused about what to do next. In this post, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about early Alopecia symptoms in children, and my top tips on what you can do to keep these early symptoms under control.
Why it’s important to recognise Alopecia symptoms early
My daughter was born with a full head of hair. Up until right before she started developing Alopecia Areata, she’d always had a full head of thick and lustrous long hair.
Because her Alopecia symptoms started right around the time she was recovering from a throat infection, we intuitively focused more on getting her over the infection and had missed the early signs of hair loss that would later lead to years of Alopecia Areata.
Because I took numerous pictures of her hair over the years, I can look back now to piece together how things had progressed on from those early days Alopecia symptoms.
Not knowing how to recognise these symptoms back then meant that I had waited until the hair loss had become quite visibly noticeable before wondering what to do about them. I also had no idea what to do to keep the symptoms under control, so things were a mess in the beginning as we were trying to figure out what was going on.
Knowing how to recognise early Alopecia symptoms from the get go is important because you don’t lose precious time that you could start doing things to help keep things under control.
Alopecia symptoms in the early days
Here are the main early days Alopecia symptoms for my daughter.
Early Alopecia symptom #1: Hair texture becomes dry, brittle, and easily tangled
In the beginning, the hair texture starts to become dry, brittle, and thinner than usual. Because of the dryness, the hair gets tangled easily.
My daughter always woke up with a bunch of hair at the back of the head all tangled up. The tangled bunch also looked dry and difficult to untangle.
Early Alopecia symptom #2: Noticeable amount of hair loss when combed or washed
It’s normal for hair to fall out when we you brush or wash it. But in the early days of Alopecia, you may notice more than usual hair loss. This is because the hair starts to get weaker and therefore would fall out more easily.
You may see signs that your hair is falling out more if you check things like your shirt or pillow case.
Early Alopecia symptom #3: Visible hair loss around the hairline
This may differ for everyone, but in my daughter’s case, we started to see receding hairline around the frame of the face about 1 to 2 months in.
The area along the frame of the face started forming the first bald patches, especially by the temple area, and they were quite visibly noticeable.
Early Alopecia symptom #4: Overall hair volume decreases and hair becomes thin and fine
By this time, bald patches have already formed randomly all over the head. Overall, hair is thin and fine, which also makes it look like you really lose your hair volume.
What you can do to manage early Alopecia symptoms
Over the years, I’ve learned that managing early Alopecia symptoms and hair loss comes down to managing the dry and thin hair texture from getting tangled up uncontrollably, as well as nourishing the scalp topically to help:
- prevent or slow down further hair loss
- stimulate faster growth on bald patches that have already formed, and
- improving the dry and thin hair texture
My top tips on Alopecia symptoms: What I’ve learned over the years
Tip #1. Use the right comb and hair brush made from natural materials
In the beginning, the mistake I made was using a plastic, fine-tooth ‘baby comb’. This tiny baby comb was terrible in getting the tangles out without really pulling all the hair around it, causing even more hair loss.
I switched to synthetic wide tooth comb next, which was slightly better in getting the tangles out, but wasn’t great. Combs made of synthetic materials also tend to create static on the hair.
After a year or so, I came to know about combs and hair brushes made of natural materials. We now use a sandalwood wide-tooth comb and a boar bristle hair brush.
Sandalwood wide-tooth comb
Wooden comb doesn’t create static when it clings on the hair. And a well made wooden comb also has a smooth finish that is easier on the hair as it glides through and distributes the natural oils from the scalp all the way down through the hair shafts.
The wide-tooth variety helps detangle your hair easily without the pulling that you get from fine-tooth synthetic combs.
I choose a wide-tooth comb made of 100% natural sandalwood.
Boar bristle hair brush
Similar to sandalwood comb, hair brush made of natural boar bristle helps distribute the natural oils from the scalp all over the hair shafts, keeping otherwise dry hair well a little more moisturised.
Due to the significant amount of bristles on the hair brush, you can really feel like it massages the scalp which helps stimulate blood circulation on the scalp and in turn helps with hair growth.
You’d want to use this sparingly, and when you do, brush through ever so gently so that it doesn’t pull out more hair due to the density of the bristles.
Boar bristle hair brush is also very helpful if you do a natural oils topical treatment on the hair, which tends to weight down the hair due to all the oils. The bristles and brush are great in helping to distribute the oils around.
Before using boar bristle brush, you’ll need to first comb through and detangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb. The dense bristles are not great for detangling.
Tip #2. Don’t waste your money on any hair detangler products.
I also made the mistake of using a hair detangler product in the beginning. I had even seeked out a leave-in detangling conditioner which turned out to do nothing to help.
Most of the products in the market also contain various chemicals and synthetic compounds, which probably do more harm than help.
Good quality essential oils diluted carefully in similarly good quality natural oils are a better and safer option if you’re looking to moisturise the hair so that you can more easily comb through tangles. I use Young Living essential oils.
Tip #3. Wear your hair down whenever you can.
In the beginning, I tried to cover the bald patches by tying up the hair into a low ponytail. I later learned that pulling the hair back and tying it up may put unnecessary pressure on the roots and hair shafts.
A hat or a cap may be a better idea if you want to cover up, but wear your hair down whenever you can.
Tip #4. Trim your hair regularly.
Trimming does not affect the hair follicles that determine how much and how fast your hair grows, but it gets rid of damaged, broken and split ends and keeps overall hair looking ‘healthier’.
Damaged ends look thinner, so cutting the ends off prevents the overall hair from looking thin and lifeless.
Tip #5. Apply natural and essential oils to moisturise.
Good quality natural and essential oils help to condition the scalp and hair, making it soft and shiny. They are also safer to be used on children while most commercially sold hair care products contain harsh chemicals that probably do more damage than help.
Tip #6. Make sure you have solid, good nutrition.
There is no getting around eating a healthy, well balanced diet. Stimulating healthy hair growth works from the inside out, so make sure you are on top of your nutrition.
For more insight on how to eat healthy, check out my other post on “How to eat healthy as your first step toward Alopecia recovery” and “The limitations of Autoimmune Diet (AIP Diet) for autoimmune Alopecia“.
Natural Alopecia Wellness
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