Before the loss

Photos and thoughts from along the way…

Well, thanks for stopping by.

My name is Reece, I live in Scotland and this is my AA – self-help page.

Apologies to anyone who has landed here wanting help with alcohol dependency issues.

I mean the other A.A. Alopecia Areata!

Feel free to browse and take what you need and be on your way or stop for a chat.

I will posts pictures and share stories of how I am getting on with Alopecia and encourage you all to do the same – all comments and feedback welcome.

the back of my tilted head

global warming and erosion? 🙂

Cheers

Reece.

72 comments

  1. Hello Reece,

    My name is Mike and I recently started losing hair on my beard the way that you did starting back this past November 2012. I started to research it and couldnt find any answers other than people on forums describing their experiences. I came across a blogspot blog tittled “Splenda makes my hair fall out.The writer, ‘ZW’, talks about how he began using splenda with his coffee back in 2005 and began to notice a spot on his chin and then grew in size over the next coming months. After a year later and half his beard gone, he thought it might be the splenda that he switched over to when drinking his coffee. He went back to regular sugar and after a few weeks, started noticing thin white hairs growing on his beard. Over the coarse of six months, the hair began to grow thicker and gain its color back. It wasnt fully dark anymore but more of a salt and pepper look. To prove this after his beard grew back, he began to use the splenda again and witnessed as the hair began to fall out within days. He did this two times after the first time it fell out to prove it was the splenda. He took pictures to document his experience. He averaged an intake of 4.5 grams or 4-1/2 packets of splenda a day. I then started to ask myself if i consumed splenda and my answer was rarely. I went home and began to look at everything i consumed daily and found that there is a sweetner called sucralose(same as splenda) in my whey protein and pre workout drink. I try to stay fit and cunsume 2-3 servings of the pre workout before the gym and 4 serving of whey protein through out the day. I also use hawaiian punch packets in water bottles as a refreshment. With just the supplements alone, I am consuming 7 grams of sucralose a day! I started taking these two since Late November and it makes sense. Tomorrow will be my first day not taking these supplements along with cutting out all beverages or food with sucralose. Have you ever thought about it being caused by anything you’ve consumed? Now that this has been pointed out, do you consume artificial sweetners regularly? Check for sucralose under other ingrediants on the nutritient facts. Aspartame is also bad sweetner but has been around alot longer and no reports of balding have been reported. Try cutting them and see what happens. Search that blog and read his experience.

    Mike

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    1. Hey Mike – sorry I took so long to reply!!

      I did see that blog re: Splenda during my frantic search. I (like you it seems) also tried everything – including cutting out foods and restricting sugars – natural and not.
      I do not really consume artificial sweeteners and have a fairly healthy diet so I know for me at least – that is not my cause. How are you getting on now you have cut out the sweeteners? It may work for you as everyone is different. Hope it is helping you and not driving you crazy.

      Reece

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  2. Reece! Thanks man!! At the moment, my beard is where the hair is going. As you said, there is a great amount of fear and anxiety and I am neck deep in it. Obsession and constant mirror checks. I am terrified of the journey I may have to undergo. Your blog makes me feel better. Just even for today, I feel a bit better knowing that at some point you just said, fuck it, and embraced AA.

    I have some questions… do you mind if I ask by email?

    Thanks again,

    Dan

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    1. Hi Dan,

      Your beard may not be half as bad as mine so don’t worry unless you need to. And don’t be terrified. It is a condition which you cannot really control, second guess or understand and that is pretty much what is best to come to terms with. This you understand is my personal opinion but I suggest you seek out coping mechanisms that work for you.

      I emailed you directly last night and yes it is fine to ask me any questions you want.

      thanks

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  3. Hi Great blog. I am suffering from this on my beard and its very slowly spreading around my chin area. It started in July 2012 with a very small spot. I have lots of small white hairs grown back but without any pigment. Has yours grown back yet?

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    1. Hi Mike – I am getting a lot of regrowth at present and am going to post an update soon. The white haird (apparently) eventually turn whatever your hair colour is. However Alopecia is a fickle Mistress and they may just come away again. Having said that – my white hairs have stayed for over a year now. I quite like the two-tone look! Feel free to ask me any questions!
      Reece

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  4. HI Reece! I’m a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and I came across your blog through a google search since I wanted to see what peer reviewed studies there were on the topic to email to a client who is suffering from this. We’ve had TREMENDOUS progress merely via lab testing I did on him. As with every autoimmune condition, the process of attack starts in the gut. it’s VITAL to look for clues such as pathogens (bad bacteria in the gut where it shouldn’t be) as well as Food Sensitivities (things you eat – even if ‘healthy’ that aggrevate your genetic ‘weakest link’.

    I’ve heard of steroid creams and injections but that wouldn’t be addressing the root cause of WHY it’s happening. These things start from deep within and someone mentioned above ‘Splenda’ or other things we eat as the clues…which he’s on the right track BUT doesn’t it make sense to not guess, and be wrong for many years, but to find out for sure? I wrote a blog on this so you can see. 🙂 LMK if you’d like to chat. We can fix ya, I promise 😉

    http://www.dianekazer.com/foodsensitivities/

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    1. Hi Diane

      I have actually had a lot of dealings with a local nutritionist just before this all started. I am aware of the healing powers of food and what we put into our body and am an advocate of this. However personally for me – my alopecia seems to be simmering down and I would be wary to start to change too much at present. I try to eat clean often but as everyone – I could do better! Happy to chat to you 🙂

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  5. Dear amigo
    How is the decease progressing? I got mine a year ago and i am following your route.
    Lost 80% of beard and have 10+ patches all over the head plus my testy’s. I still try to cover them with surrounding hair but will probably have to shave all my skull apparently.
    I’ve accepted it but i quite often find my self angry cause there’s nothing i can do, After many doctor visits i decided that they studied 10 years just to give out some botox on ladies that can afford it.
    So as for my story it all started out when i had to attend my military training 9 months long. I had terrible stomach dissorders and later on (4th month) turned out that i had a bacterio in my gut called Enterobius vermicularis. It was easy to cure but my hair had already started falling.
    Can’t really tell if it has to do anything with my AA but fits with Diane Kazer’s hypothesis.
    So when i was on 7months with 50% or beard off and 8 patches on head started getting vitamin e+c+a on daily basis and has lowered down the spreading time.

    Looking forward to chat or answer any questions
    Geo Bas

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    1. Hi Geo – que tal??

      My alopecia is now in reverse. The patches are slowly starting to fill up.

      Good to hear that your spread has stopped or at least steadied. If you read some of my other posts you will see that I initially went mad trying to find a cause and only really found relief when I accepted what was happening. Once I did this – it came back.

      All i know about Alopecia from doing this is that is it is extremely unpredictable and varies from person to person. However I do believe that acceptance and learning to live with your ever changing appearance is key.

      Good luck and let me know how you are getting on.

      Reece

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    1. First bits of regrowth This image was lifted from a couple of my previous posts and if you look closely you can see the fine white hairs – which are STILL here! Though very occasionally more dark hairs coming through.

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      1. Same here. It’s taking it’s time turning black. A lot of the fine white hairs but almost no black hair. Your about a year ahead of me in this process was hoping it was all coming back for ya!

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  6. Can I have your email address? I would like to talk to you about your condition and how you are progressing through life. I have the same thing. Although, admittedly, not as bad. It has been five years for me.

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      1. Hi Reece! I just did a search on Google for my name and found this blog. I’m happy that Mike, in the first comment above, so accurately represented the content of my blog about Splenda making my hair fall out. I write now to ask that you kindly omit my name from his comment, perhaps replacing it with a “ZW” or “” or something like that, as I am trying to clean up Google’s results for my name. I’ve also removed my name from my own blog toward the same effort. Thank you and good luck!

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  7. Hi. I wanted to see if anyone has any experience with getting the injections? I just did round 1. I have a lot of loss so it took a while. I wanted to see what to expect. Did anyone do this?

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      1. It’s ok. I have had some regrowth where I got the shots. Actual black hair which is nice. It wasn’t that bad in terms of cost, about 100 bucks. I have round 2 this week. The re growth is patchy, but it’s the only regrowth i have had in two years.

        It’s a. It painful but not in bearable. I’m going to keep with it.

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  8. Hello everyone. My name is Angelo. I am a 44 year old white male with dark hair. I believe I have a similar problem. My facial hair in parts of my beard, mustache and under my chin area has turned into a fine white hairs. I went to a dermatologist when it was just my beard area (not mustache) and he said that it looks like its just from graying. Since then it started to spread to my mustache and I sent my dermatologist pics and he suggested that I get a biopsy done on my face which I really dont feel like doing just to tell me I have a form of Alopecia. I read the posts on here about switching deodorants to a natural one and am thinking of trying that out. Im surprised no one has mentioned anything about switching their shampoo or conditioner since maybe that can help as well. Any comments are welcomed. thank you Angelo

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    1. Hi Angelo

      I tried lots of different shampoos, deodorants and everything. Nothing worked. I am seeing full re growth and am just using the same products I always have.

      Let me know if you have any questions or would like to hear my thoughts in further detail on the subjects you mentioned.

      Reece

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      1. Hello Reece. How old are you? You didn’t change anything and just started seeing full regrowth? Did you also have fine white hairs growing in the areas affected or no hair at all?

        Angelo

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      2. I am 2.5 years in and starting to see regrowth in the beard. I lost most of my facial hair on neck, beard and mustache as well as 1 spot on the head. Trying potions is a waste of time and money. Changing what you eat or wear didn’t help me. The only thing that has helped is the dermatologist shots in the face. This is expensive and painful. Time heals this. That’s about it.

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      3. Thank you for your response. I guess I’ll have to keep an eye on mine. I’m hoping it just eventually makes mywhole face gray so it doesn’t look like it does in patches. Did you ever need to get a biopsy done on your face?

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      4. I didn’t go the biopsy route. It was pretty clear the issue. My hair fell right out but a lot of people say theirs turned white then fell out. When it comes back it starts a very thin, weak white hairs and after a considerable time regains piment.

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      5. I’m not sure. The texture of the white hairs is very different from the traditional beard hair. Thin, weak, more like peach fuzz. Not grey but white.

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      6. Hopefully it does without having to get injections. We shall see I guess. Not really sure though why he wants to do a biopsy. I wouldn’t think it would be cancer.

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      7. Shots are a round every 6 weeks. They will do 6. I have had 3 rounds. Painful and you get bruising. I have maybe 30% black hair back

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      8. Has anyone heard of a connection of this problem due to having very low vitamin C? Mine I was told was extremely low and I’m on daily vitamins now.

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    2. Hello,

      My beard spots have recently disappeared completely. I started using apple cider vinegar with the MOTHER every day on the effected areas along with drinking two teaspoons. I don’t know if this cured but I know it helps alkaline the body so that any bacteria or disease can not spread or get worse. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease with no cure but if you can strengthen your immune system, that will help your body fight it.

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      1. Thanks for the advice Mike. My Vitamin D level is pretty low being at 12. I’ve started taking vitamins to bring it up. Do you think that may have something to do with parts of my beard area growing back with fine gray hairs instead of normal black?

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      2. When it starts coming back it’s usually the first thin white hairs and they turn back over time. For some this can happen quickly for others it can take a long time.

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  9. The thing with mine is that it never actually stopped growing. It went from black to thin white grayish hairs. Would that still be considered being alopecia barbae in your opinion?

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    1. Hard to say. My hair only turned white when it grew back and then after a while is was back to normal color. It sounds like it could be since the discoloration can be a sign of the hair working against itself.

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      1. When I first went to to the dermatologist he said it’s fine that it was just graying differently. That was like 3 months ago. Since then it has affected my mustache area too. I sent the dermatologist a few pics and now he’s telling me to come in to have a biopsy done on my face which I’m very hesitant to do since I don’t believe it’s anything cancer related and do feel it’s because of my serious vitamin D defficiency.

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      2. Recently I was prescribed vitamin d. A large dose taken once a week. I could have been deficient back then too with it causing the hair loss. Maybe it is what’s causing your white hair?

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  10. i have the same issue in my beard.. i had a very dense beard and 4 years ago my beard on my cheeks fell out completely and my sideburns thinned as well as spots in my mustache. i attributed it to stress at the time (losing my only sib to cancer) but i recently saw this video and he’s suggesting multivitamins but be related. The dermatologist said cortizone injections would likely have little effect that time would heal it but its been 4 years and it hasn’t budged.

    I want my beard back! any suggestions out there?

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    1. Hey there – I haven’t spoken to anyone who has had results from injections. How are you doing now?? I don’t think multivitamins are related – mine is coming back and I haven’t started havig any injections or multivitamins. Let me know if you want to talk further – hope you are OK?

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      1. I have had 4 injections. Not sure in results. I have some pigmented hair back but don’t know if irbid due to the shots. It actually looks worse now with random black spots. It’s a roller coaster.

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  11. Very nice story. I had alopecia about 18 years ago up until 2013 when It returned. I had it for about the five years before I became a teenager and it went away. I’m wondering if it’s a cycle that your body goes through? It started under my chin in 2013 and now most of the hair there is gone but now I have a spot on the side of my head now. I am taking injections and they are working for me on my head but not on my chin. My question is did you make any lifestyle changes to get rid of the alopecia or it just happened like a cycle?

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  12. Hi Reece I am the grandmother of Declan . He is 12years old and has had alopecia areata for almost a year. He has several bald patches on his scalp but for him the worst thing is that he has no eyebrows. I would appreciate if you could help him cope with this awful condition. He is soon to start secondary school and is obviously dreading the backlash from new classmates.
    Thanking you
    K Gallagher

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good days, it wanted to ask for permission him for use your photo “dsc0513.jpg”, site in the direction “https://myalopeciajourney.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/dsc0513.jpg” for a photomontage for sell it.
    In affirmative case, I would like to know what information I have to put, author and web direction?
    Can you give me the email of the owner of the blog?
    Thank you very much for your time.

    Like

  14. I’m starting to look a mess. I’ve still got my eyebrows but my lashes are slowly falling out. I’ve got half a patchy head and beard. It feels active. I hope it calms down soon. The thing is I feel good at the moment. Life is not bad. When I’ve got my baseball cap on I forget all about it.

    What do we all have in common that has caused alopecia? Reece, did you go through a major stressful time before the alopecia? I think that’s what has happened to me. Losing loved ones and work stress etc.

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    1. Hey Ray

      I don’t think you will find one thing in common – Everyone has some form of stress in their lives – not everyone experiences Alopecia.

      I believe the reason for the majority of most auto immune diseases (specifically alopecia) wis impossible to pinpoint and is different for every single person who experiences it. Yes there may be some common thinking around why or when it occurs but I think it’s appearance is mostly arbitrary and a combination of:
      – genetics
      – diet (inc potential food allergens)
      – medication (one course of antibiotics years ago that may have messed with your internal bacteria)

      And a whole host of other things ranging from the weather to your mental health and the way you process what life throws at you.

      I know I am not helping by giving the answer you want – I think people are just unlucky in that respect. The same as the guy with bad psoriasis, the girl with lupus.

      To part answer your question – I did have some stress but nothing more than I had experienced before -I ended up feeling more stress after focusing on finding the cause of my supposed stress! Only when I started to not worry about where it came from and obsess over the falling hairs – did it start to come back!

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      1. Hi

        I swear mine was caused by sweetner. I had read about this online, completely stopped eating it and by about month ten my beard started growing back. Now it’s 98% complete.

        You will be surprised what sweetner is in, everything from beetroot to chewing gum !

        Regards

        Mike

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    2. Hello,

      So far I’ve been experiencing this hair loss for going on 3 years. I started with patches on my beard and then they grew back completely leaving me with a full beard again. In may of this year, I notices a dime size bald spot on the top of my head. It has since grown to about three times in size. I’ve done blood work and came back with a omega 3 and vitamin d deficiency along with high enzymes in my liver. After researching these past years on what’s causes it, I’ve learned it starts with kidney and liver health. The only thing the differs is the trigger. In my case, I suffer from work stress and lack sleep. Hopefully people reading this can fund there answer in their kidney/liver health. I also read that even when the blood tests appear normal, toxicity can still be present and effect your immune system once triggered.

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  15. Hi Reece

    I think your blog is great. Would you mind please giving me your email address so we can chat about things. Cheers.

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  16. Hi Reece,
    I have suffered with alopecia barbae for several years and still find it so embarrassing on a daily basis. I have tried creams, but not injections. The only this I use for my beard is dark pencil to make it less obvious but by the end of the day its rubbed off. To find the condition can depress me at times and it makes me anti-social. Your blog makes me realise that I’m not alone with this condition. Thank you for your advice. Keep it coming.

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    1. Hey Dean – thanks for your comment. I am going through a ‘why me’ phase right now as the hair is starting to shed again. How are you coping? I tried the pencil thing on my eyebrows but – like your example – it rubbed off and pissed me off – so much so I just left it.

      Try and not be anti-social – your friends will not care one jot how you look.

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      1. Hi. I have now tried a waterproof pencil with a lot better résults. Im starting to think that looking for an answer for this is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Its good to talk with people with similar problems as you dont feel so isolated. I cope on a daily basis and each day is different. Im booked to see a dermatologist soon but am not sure if this is a waste of time. Last time i had thé allopecia it came back within the year without seeing anyone. Will let you know how i get on.

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      2. I think you have hit the nail/haystack needle on the head. Everyone is different and there is no rule or method to this erratic auto immune disease. Your comment regarding the fact that your hair came back again within a year has just improved my mood – so yes – sharing our stories really helps. Thanks for sharing yours with me 🙂

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  17. I also have a a. I’ve had it for 20 years on my face. Now it’s attacking my head. I read that Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help. I’m on my third week of acupuncture, I will post my results.

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  18. Hello Reece, thank you for your courage. Would you say this is a sign of Alopecia? I too am a natural pessimistic and worrier. Doesn’t help I have OCD so I repeatedly check and engage in rituals constantly taking photos and asking people. I don’t know how to post pics let me see if I can figure that out.

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    1. Hey Jonathan, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a sign of Alopecia – but it definitely doesn’t help regrowth. Have you got to grips with the pics yet? I think that finding coping mechanisms for the pessimism and worry would not only help your everyday life but also your alopecia.

      Like

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