My Natural Hair Loss – Davinah’s Story [pt. 1]
This is a guest post by Davinah Nabirye.
For a while I have been hesitant to share my story with the virtual community yet I know that many ladies struggle with hair loss. Therefore, this is my story. I hope ladies experiencing similar challenges will be encouraged to hold their heads high as they fight the battle.
A good start
My relationship with natural hair can be described as a love-hate relationship. God blessed me with fine natural hair. It is soft, has a bit of ‘body, and when given an opportunity and the necessary care to blossom it has the ability to attain good length. There is a time when hair grew as long the area below my shoulders.
I started growing and managing hair in 1998- that was in Senior One in a school that was liberal enough to allow girls enjoy this privilege. I learnt how to manage my hair on a very low budget; all I needed was hair food, shampoo and a scarf to wrap around my hair for the night. I acquired skills in making Bantu notes, twists, and corn-rows. To date, styling any length of my hair isn’t a problem.
I have always been proud to be a natural with no intention what so ever to relax my hair. A few years after university, I got a job. With money in my bank account, I explored all the best treatments and went to the best natural hair dressers at the time. Nothing in this world would have prepared me for hair loss given the extra hygiene and precaution I gave my hair.
Things go wrong
Three years ago, ‘out of the blue’, I started experiencing hair loss at the front and middle parts of my head. It started with itching of the scalp, followed by formation of thick layers of dandruff which I thought were a result of braids that I had just worn. When the itching became unbearable, removed the braids and had a thorough wash. However after combing the hair, I noticed the breakage was heavier than the normal or expected amount.
Hardly a week later, the dandruff was back. This was followed by development of painful tiny pimple-like-bumps which grew into wound. My scalp was smelly and the sight unbearable to see. It is then that it occurred to me that the wounds and dandruff needed serious medical attention. Something was stealing my hair away. Combing and washing became physically and emotionally painful. I feared that the worst could happen anytime soon.
Rocking the wigs and weaves
Within a period of two months, I had lost almost all of my middle hair, with visible patches of the scalp. The front hair was too thin. For the first time in my life I started wearing wigs.
I invested in both expensive and cheap wigs. I became a wig expert; knowing which wigs complemented my face. Many of my friends and workmates thought this was my new style. It was painful to explain why I was wearing wigs.
As I rocked my wigs, I sought medication. At first I went to a well known dermatologist with a clinic in Wandegeya who said I was suffering from a bacterial infection called Seborrheic dermatitis – whatever this meant. According to my web search, “this is an inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp, face or inside the ear”. It results into hair loss.
He prescribed treatment in form of three kinds of drugs, and an ointment for the scalp (please forgive me for not remembering the actual prescription).
A year ago, I chose to stop medication and burnt anything that reminded me of my loss. Three months later, the dandruff was no more and the itching was less but my hair continued breaking.
Seeking another opinion
During these darkest months, I called out to God for a miracle – to bring back my hair. I think God answered my prayer by bringing into my life a lady whose hair problems where worse than mine. She had lost all hair. This lady introduced me to another doctor in Mengo.
Basing on the medical history and symptoms (thinning of hair), he said I could be suffering from both Seborrheic dermatitis and Alopecia areata – a disease that causes hair to fall out in one or more small patches. The cause of this condition is unknown, although it is more common in people who have autoimmune diseases.
His prescription was stronger than the previous ones – his tablets made me dizzy. In addition, he recommended I use a combo of oils and ointments mixed at his clinic and of Johnson baby shampoo.
He insisted on taking numerous HIV tests to rule out any possibilities of the infection, even though I was 100% sure that I was HIV negative.
RELATED: Davinah’s Hair Loss Part 2 [Tuesday]