View Full Version : Success and loss - personal story

01-10-2011, 04:21 PM
Hello all,

I'm 28 years old and in the early 00's I started losing my hair at the tender age of 20. It was noticeably thinning and it was devastating. It was a really depressing thing to happen and I was constantly upset about it. Suicidal would be an exaggeration but my hairstyle had always been my gimmick. I remember feeling so self conscious amongst my friends and would often avoid going out in the daylight. My friends weren't too harsh with teasing but some did mention they noticed it.

I went with my father to see an internationally respected specialist in 2003 and he prescribed me with Propecia. I used them for a few months and they didn't seem to work. He said if they didn't work then I should try Rogaine. I used it twice daily for the first year very diligently and never really missed an application unless I stayed at a friend's or went to a party or something.

It bloody worked a treat! My hair started growing back and I was delighted. I started using it only once a day and did that for a few years and it kept working superbly. Then I became lazy and also travelled a bit and would go several months without at a time which didn't seem to stop or reverse the growth. This year I've been sort of lazy - using it a few times a week so worse than when I started using it but more frequently than when I'd travel for months without using it at all.

I should say that I didn't take it for granted. For 7 years I was so happy and recognised how great the product was - I even wrote a thank you letter to the manufacturer for the way it changed my life earlier this year. I continued to look youthful and have a ball. I can't imagine what my life would've been like if nothing worked for me during those years.

Then I got my haircut 2 months ago and I literally noticed at that time, wow my hair looks so thin again and my hairline had receded (I usually wear my hair longish). It was as if it happened while I was in the chair getting it cut. The hair loss must have mostly happened between September and October so that most of the hair I grew back just fell out. I'm not sure if my lazyness caught up with me (even though I was using it more than when I was travelling in 08-09 but still not daily) or more frighteningly - if I've built an immunity to it.

I was quietly freaking out and started using Rogaine with more commitment than previously, applying it twice a day for the first time since 2004. I do go without using it for a few days at a time sometimes though because sometimes I stay at my girlfriend's from like Thursday night til Monday morning. I don't think she's really noticed the issue yet though. Many people probably wouldn't notice because of the way it's cut and styled or if the lighting is kind. It's more acceptable for it to happen to me now at the age of 28 than when I was 20 anyway.

Either way the situation is no better. I'm worried that the stuff no longer works for me and I need an alternative solution. Perhaps trying the pills again and the very last resort - some kind of surgery.

It really all just matters because I want to marry my girlfriend someday. She's moving to France for a year in June and I just wanna hang in there til then. Perhaps when she goes away I'll have surgery/transplant which would cost a heap and I'd really like to prefer to avoid.

Hopefully if I'm just more strict on my usage (eg carry it around in my bag so I always have it) it will start to work again and I won’t need to take such drastic measures. It takes an hour to dry and in that hour it looks very thin so I don't want to apply it when I'm in my girlfriend's presence.

Oh and I wouldn't shave it cos I'm sure I'd look horrible with a shaved head.

It seems there is a lot of apprehension and deliberation about getting a transplant. But I trust the specialist I've seen previously and if he can make it look realitsic I don't think that I should consider it a huge deal. Lots of people get some sort of plastic surgery operation so is it any different?

I think if I'd have had it done when I was 20 well then that would be unfortunate. But 28 is not too young anymore and I have enough hair on top that it probably wouldn't be too obvious if I'd had it done. It would just be a matter of filling in the thin spots and bring my hairline around the temples down a fraction. If it costs a few thousand dollars for my confidence to be heightened than I think it's worth it.

Thanks for reading!

01-10-2011, 04:46 PM
As you had a lot of success with Rogaine and re-grew hair, it's not surprising that you'd notice a difference when you stopped using it properly. Hair gained through the use of Rogaine depends on the stuff for it's existence.

Something that jumped out at me was the part about using Propecia for a few months and it having no effect. This really isn't surprising as the treatment requires 6 months at least for the effects to be seen. It's well worth trying it again.

You're fortunate to have a girlfriend. A year away sounds like a bit of an ordeal if you won't be seeing her. However, thinking of your hair, if you get on Propecia now then by the time she leaves in June you may have experienced some positive effects, and if you do have a transplant you'll be able to go through with it and wait out the growth period while she's away. She'll never have to know!

01-10-2011, 06:20 PM
Thanks Matt.

The confusing thing is that I have gone without Rogaine for months and I didn't lose the hair. However last year while I've been using it a few times a week I have been losing it.

I guess I'm approaching it now like I'm starting using Rogaine for the first time again and I think I'm starting it now with the same or slightly more hair than in 2004. I don't recall it taking very long to notice results when I used it all those years ago and it has been 2 months of diligent usage this time so hopefully things will get better in the following 2 months or so.

I don't think I've lost anymore hair in the past few weeks so that's a good sign. But I think I should be noticing vellus hair popping up by now.

If I can avoid using Propecia I'd like that because I haven't needed it in the past.

On the transplant topic, do you think if you spent a lot of time with someone (eg a girlfriend) it would be evident that you've had the surgery?

Does anyone know if transplanted hair looks different?

I really do appreciate having a place to post these thoughts.

01-11-2011, 04:22 AM
Reports vary on the look of transplanted hair, and it depends a lot on whether your donor hair is a lot thicker than the native hair at the front which will exist alongside the transplanted follicles. I think in general though, if there are differences then they are very minimal, and if noticeable at all then only to the most critical observer - which will be you yourself.
So many of the reports we read are from around month 12 which is like the 'official' finish date, but it's well known that transplanted hair continues to soften and improve for months after this.

It sounds like your hair has had some ups and downs and the density has varied. This might make the post-transplant change less noticeable to your girlfriend if she's used to changes already. Really though, I can't imagine not telling someone I was that close to. You can always claim that you've had success with Re-starting Rogaine (If she knows you use it).

01-11-2011, 03:37 PM
Thanks Matt. I haven't been with her for that long so she doesn't know I use Rogaine. Infact I didn't tell my ex girlfriend either and I was with her for several years. I'm quite discreet and I have never lived with a girl. It is embarrassing when I go to the beach and swim with my girlfriend because it's so totally obviously thin when it's wet. Yet she doesn't say anything -it's as if she doesn't notice.

I think I may be having some success with using Rogaine again twice a day. But somedays I think it's working and sometimes not. I don't think it has got worse in the past month so that's good. It may have improved but then it gets wet or I wash it and I think it's no better. I guess the regrown hair is much finner so would probably be even more invisible when wet.

Most of my loss has been on top (middle) and at the front of my scalp but I think I can feel it thinner at the back (is this the crown). I previously never applied Rogaine here but I am now. Boy I find it tricky to apply it to an area that I can't see in the mirror. Anyone else have this problem?

I am happy that I'm less scared and apprehensive about a transplant if I choose that down the road. it took a while but I think I'm at ease with that idea now. I also think styling products like hair wax could make transplanted hair look more at one with original hair.

Do you need to continue to use Rogaine or PRopecia after a transplant? I'm guessing you do but if you have a fuller head of hair it may be harder to apply Rogaine directly to the scalp.

01-11-2011, 04:29 PM
The crown is at the back, where the hair swirls out like a vortex.

You do have to continue the treatments if you want to keep the rest of your hair (or rather improve the chances of keeping it), but the transplanted hair, being from the safe zone, will remain with you.

Have you tried concealers such as toppik to make your hair appear fuller? Not much good when you've been in the water but it could improve the look of your hair under normal circumstances. It will also lead to there being less of a change between now and your appearance after your transplant, if you do go down that road.

01-11-2011, 04:37 PM
Do you know what, if a transplant looked natural enough, I think if someone commented to you 'Your hair looks thicker' or 'You look like you have more hair', you could probably just reply 'Yeah I noticed that too. It's weird ay. Oh well, not complaining'. And that would be the end of it.