Spangler’s TikTok about hair loss from chemo has received countless heartfelt comments from strangers eager to share her pain. But some people left comments that said something to the effect of: This is fair Hair. Spangler is doing its best to ignore these comments. “Most people who say that,” she points out, “have hair.”
“I hear this all the time,” says Dr. Goh. She sees women of all ages in her office, including many women in their twenties and thirties. More than anything, she says, they are anxious. “A lot of people have pre-existing anxiety, but it’s exacerbated by the hair loss, or sometimes just brought on by the hair loss,” she says. “I think it just goes to show what hair means to people, because anxiety is a social issue – it’s about how you feel about your role in society. And I think hair are a big part of our social well-being. The visual deception of social media and celebrity style doesn’t help. Most of us know that celebrities have personal trainers, makeup artists, dentists, and stylists. “What people don’t realize is that all these celebrities, like the Kardashians, are all wearing wigs!” Brun says. To add insult to injury from hair loss, most of we compare our hair to hair that doesn’t even grow on a head.
Your hair loss could be the result of extreme stress. It could be an underlying issue. Or it could be a combination of several things. “The most important thing is to try to stay calm and make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist,” says Dr. Goh. Dermatologists are usually associated with the skin, so you might not know that they are trained to treat skin, hair, and nail issues. A dermatologist will do things like examine your scalp and test your blood, things you and Google can’t do together. It’s important, Dr. Goh says, to make an appointment, even though you can get one several months in advance. Cicatricial alopecia, the scar form of hair loss, is irreversible and treatment is time sensitive. And for many women, their anxiety is reduced by talking to a professional who can walk through treatment plans. “We talk about what the process is, what’s going on, and they feel better just understanding,” says Dr. Goh.
When you’re losing hair, buying everything in sight seems like the easiest step. But you may be missing a simple drugstore purchase. “Honestly, anyone who loses their hair should give topical minoxidil a try,” Liu said. “Because here’s the thing: it’s the only FDA-approved treatment, the only well-researched product that’s been shown to regrow hair.” Minoxidil is the generic form of Rogaine, and Liu compares it to tretinoin, or Retin-A, one of the only drugs shown to have an effect on skin aging.
Retin-A and its non-prescription alternative, retinol, have been enthusiastically received by the beauty community. Rogaine, which is heavily associated with and marketed towards men, was not. Although, as Dr. Goh points out, “it’s the only thing that has solid scientific evidence that it helps.” The direct-to-consumer company Hers trying to change the public image of minoxidil – he enlisted J.Lo as a spokesperson. “I don’t necessarily say, ‘Just start minoxidil right away,’ but I think if it’s been going on for a while,” says Dr. Goh. “If there’s one thing you should try, I think it should be minoxidil. A lot of people come in and say, ‘I’ve tried everything! Everything!’ And I ask if they’ve tried minoxidil, and they say no. And I laugh because it’s the only thing that’s FDA approved, and it’s the only thing they haven’t tried.