Autoimmune disorders have many names and many shapes. What binds them all together – and us, consequently – is the shaping that occurs in our lives. When the first manifestations of autoimmune diseases start to show, our bodies go through some serious changes.
My first was my hair. I’ve had a weird relationship with my hair over the years. The curly-wavy kind, always with a mind of its own. At some point I only wore it straightened at such degree that my flattening iron was the first thing I would use after getting out of bed, to set my hair straight. After I’ve had my second child, something changed in my head and I was finally embracing my curly hair as it was. Long, unruly and slightly dried.
What you see below is a picture of my hair (and me) from 2009: see the amount of hair I was dealing with? Yeah, I miss that ^_^ . I’ll show you how, as the years went by, my hair was changing, thinning out, falling, so that year after year, my hair gets shorter. And considerably less (in density).
Here I am in 2012 – after giving birth in 2010, my hair started the usual shedding process and right there, in that picture, you can see the difference between the new grow and the old hair. I thought it was just a time consuming process, growing it back to where it was. Alas, it never went back to where it used to be!
Below is a picture from 2014 (well, actually two pictures) a couple of months after my first rashes appeared (and started to disappear again) and I was itching from head to toes. You see how my hair falls flat and so… different from how it used to be? Even then, it didn’t bother me that much, I wouldn’t dramatize over a new hairstyle and because I tend to never visit a hairstylist (cue my previous story about insecurities and media), I was ok with cutting my hair at home and styling it as I please.
(if you look closely at the picture above left, you’ll see my weird eyelids – swollen and with a strange rash – at least over my right eye, the rash/eczema was there and my eyes were still itching like crazy)
My new haircut (above and below) is an a-line bob – it’s my latest length. Soon – said my Adored Husband who supports me like nobody else – I’ll be joining the ranks of the pixie cuts ^_^. And that’s ok too, isn’t it?
Now, besides showing off my home hair cutting skills ^_^ – there’s a purpose to all this story! It’s the second part of documenting my journey in living a fashionable life with autoimmune disorders. I’ve started to share my experience from my head down and hair was an very difficult change to cope with.
Everyone knows autoimmune disorders come with episodes of hair loss, thin hair and even more – do share your experience with hair while suffering from an autoimmune disorder! Some people can take that lightly, some not so much. I was (although I don’t sound the part – I was traumatized by my hair going crazy).
Trying to come up with new ways to style it, to make it look better, fuller, more alive. More like it used to be. Remember I even wrote something about fixing bad hair days?
Perhaps seeing a hair professional would’ve helped me in my journey – or not? If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I would’ve helped the shampoo and haircare brands earn a lot of money out of my hair losing shape and life. And maybe – just maybe – my usual hairstylist, faced with my hair issues would’ve help me take note of the changes earlier…
How did I manage to live through my hair changing so drastically? By cutting it. I even tried growing it out eventually but it wouldn’t go below the shoulder level and it was so thinned out – just a couple of hairs in thin, thin strands, that it looked absolutely ridiculous. I’m keeping it short, trying to add loads of volume which is relatively easy since I still have some curls left. Every other day.
Yes, believe it or not, even my curls disappear sometimes! Not the dryness, though – that’s always with me. How do I keep my hair balanced? I apply Vaseline on the tips. Helped me every time.
Notice I do not dye my hair and much to everyone’s disbelief, I only wash my hair with baking soda dissolved in water (this is my 3rd year since I didn’t use any shampoo or conditioner and my hair behaves better than it did when I used $$$$ professional products on it!). If you need more details about that, do ask, I’ll be more than happy to walk you through this process (remember I already wrote about the benefits of natural, minimalist care routine).
If my hair loses shape, I shower it, without baking soda (or shampoo), and I let it air dry (I’ve never used a blow drier, go figure!). If it continues to thin out and fall (never knowing what the autoimmune disorder holds for your hair’s future), I will most certainly shorten it more and more, being careful to add layers and build volume as my head is flatter on top and in the back.
Do I still have bad hair days? Oh, yes! Many, many bad hair days! I camouflage them with a headband or a bandanna, a hairclip or a hat, I sometimes use bobby pins to create a faux Mohawk and that’s about how imaginative I got so far with my autoimmune diseased hair.
I miss my long curls and I wish I loved them more before they were gone… So! Bottom (hair) line: don’t waste a moment feeling desperate about what’s to come! Try to see the glass half full and see the good in every situation! Don’t let the disease get the best of you, don’t fight it – you’re the victim and the attacker in this case, a war won’t do you any good!
Love yourself as you are, understand yourself and have mercy – your body is taking a heavy coup from within. Turn the love cheek and love every bit of your body! Treat your hair like a friend and try to make it smile, try to make it look good. It will be worth your while!
And every time you’re feeling down, come have a chat here! I may be foggy or sleepy, but I’ll definitely notice your message and try to comfort you every way I know how! Thank you so much for your support! it was unexpectedly fast and so warm! It really helped me overcome this foggy day and the dry eyes, it made me get over my usual shyness and I shared my personal photos so you can see where my hair was and where I’m at right now!
I’ll be definitely adding more episodes to my autoimmune disorders fashion saga! thank you again!