I have Cicatricial (scarring) Alopecia. Wow. Saying it out loud feels both daunting and relieving. I have fully come to terms with this so I’m not sad and I’m working with a great doctor on my game plan. I did, however, want to share more details about what I’m doing, what this type of alopecia is and hopefully encourage anyone who is experiencing hair thinning to take action sooner than later.
Here’s a quick definition for you from the Mount Sinai’s website: “Cicatricial alopecia is primarily caused by inflammation that damages the hair follicle, although the damage may also be caused by a trauma such as a burn or serious infection.”
Here is my hair now
I have always had a small spot in the middle of my head that was thin, and when I say small, it was not even really noticeable. I had a stylist mention it to me once several years ago and I just kept an eye on it since then. Fast forward several years, and several sew-ins later, I started to notice that I was having to work a lot harder to cover my extensions in this particular spot.
Every morning, I would take pictures of the top of my head to make sure that the extension tracks were covered (something I never had to do before). I’d spend 20 minutes or longer adjusting to cover this spot that was clearly thinning. As a result, I decided late last year that I was done with sew-ins. I couldn’t see myself doing that “check” every morning — it was stressful and wasn’t how I wanted to start my day. This is why I made the switch to wigs. But of course wigs are only partly a solution, I needed to figure out why my hair was thinning.
Getting My Stitches Out
I started researching dermatologists in my area. It was important for me to find a black doctor, preferably a woman, who understood my hair type and could help me find solutions/properly diagnose me. Dr. Dornechia Carter of Affinity Dermatology is who I am seeing and I feel really good about my care so far. We did a biopsy as a part of my initial visit to determine exactly what is happening on my scalp and that is how I know that I have cicatricial (scarring) alopecia.
I wanted to share what I’m doing to take care of myself and stop the spread of the thinning. I’ve been doing some research and of course taking all of my doctor’s advice. Here’s my game plan:
- Increase my vitamin intake, specifically B vitamins
- Increase my consumption of anti-inflammatory foods
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
- Divi Hair Serum – I just got this product in and have seen great results for other users. I’ve used it a couple times and like how it feels on my scalp. I will keep you posted on what I think after more use!
- Applying Castor Oil
- Taking the medication my doctor prescribed – the goal with the medication is to stop the spread of the thinning
This journey is still very new for me and I’m honestly proud of myself for even saying that I have alopecia out loud, because I prefer to keep most health things private. But I do want to encourage anyone who might be experiencing any type of hair loss or health issue in general to make an appointment with a healthcare provider and get it checked out. Taking care of my health and not ignoring anything that doesn’t feel right has been my commitment to myself this year.
I will keep you posted on how I’m doing and what my progress is looking like. I have another check-in with Dr. Carter in about 5 weeks. I feel good because I’m doing everything I can do to take care of myself and that gives me peace of mind.
Thank you for reading!