The Hip Mom Goes Bald

Tulsa-area treatment options for people experiencing hair loss.

Several years ago, in the middle of a dry, cold winter, pregnant with some baby or another, I decided to direct my angst toward my dull, flat hair. I even wrote an article on what great hair products I should be using, and other tips for having gorgeous hair in challenging weather or circumstances. In retrospect, what a myopic article I wrote! I totally took for granted what I had:  a head full of fairly decent hair. But, what if you don’t have hair? What if you have thinning hair?  What if you have alopecia – that’s a fancy word for hair loss – like my dear friend, Gaby, whose hair fell out after pregnancy number two? (Hers is particularly acute: alopecia universalis, which means she has just about zero hair anywhere – no hair on her head, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, nada!)  What if you have more localized or spotty hair loss (alopecia areata)? And, of course, what if you have been battling the beast of the beast, cancer, like my friend, Jodi, and have lost your whole head of beautiful locks to chemotherapy?

Well, of course, full-on bald is beautiful, as I’m sure any observer of a bold bald person can attest. But hair is such a powerful marker of beauty in our culture – perhaps one that we with our hair currently intact take for granted! And, of course, you can flaunt your baldness, as so many men and women do. But maybe you don’t want to be stared at everywhere you go. More poignantly, perhaps your son or daughter doesn’t want to be known as the “kid with the bald mom.” Alas! People are buttheads. So if you have hair loss – for whatever reason – and want to have some options for hair, it’s amazing what you can do, right here in little Tulsa.

We’ll start with a lady who has been a godsend for Gaby: Kellie August, a certified Hair Loss Specialist. Kellie used to work as a hair stylist but felt called to help people with hair loss after she saw how prevalent the problem was for so many of her clients. She works at Prime Medical Spa, and is trained to look for hair loss problems in a holistic way. She evaluates clients based on personal history, lifestyle, genetic factors and environmental conditions. She provides treatments for male and female pattern baldness, effluvium (that’s where your hair falls out in big horrible clumps!), hair loss due to stress, chemical damage and breakage. Kellie also offers cranial prosthesis – that’s basically where she makes a wig out of human hair that is custom fitted and made especially for your skull!

Gaby was thrilled to meet Kellie, who was looking for some test cases to attempt laser therapy to stimulate and increase blood flow to the scalp. After just a few sessions, Gaby started seeing strands of hair coming out of her head that had been shiny and hair-free for 13 years! (The full protocol involves many visits over a year’s time.) Other cutting-edge treatments include ozone or O3 therapy. Kellie notes that these therapies can be a good alternative to traditional drugs like Rogaine and Propecia, which often have side effects.

Another unique service Kellie can provide is that she can refer you to Dr. Iftikhar Hussain of the Allergy, Asthma and Immuniology Center in the same building if she suspects there is an underlying medical problem causing hair loss. Among his many professional accomplishments, Dr. Hussain’s combined experience in immunology, allergies and dermatology gives him a unique perspective that differentiates him from many dermatologists. His immunology background enables him to integrate his knowledge of the body’s internal workings with external factors to determine underlying skin issues. He has had success with many patients whose symptoms have defied the usual treatments.

But perhaps you don’t have time to grow hair. You need it pronto! Gaby was going to a L’Bri convention in Wisconsin in a few days, and needed a new wig — her old one was wearing out.  So, we zipped on over to Wigs and More to try out the gorgeous, high-quality synthetic wigs.  Sherry, the owner of the store, notes how well wigs are made now. The styles are modern, and the colors are beautiful and natural. Sherry takes great joy and pride in her work. Often, she notes, her customers are quite emotional when they come in for the first time. She finds she is able to suggest styles, help the women fit the wigs correctly onto their heads, and guide the women through the process. She notes that when she’s busy, providentially there will be some of her more experienced customers in the store to help the “newbies.”  She loves watching women bloom in confidence and happiness when they find the right wig. And, when they leave, they often glance in the mirror with pride as they sashay off with a brandnew look — and outlook.  Gaby finds a very chic wig she likes — over the years she’s figured out what works for her. She also finds a new style, a darling wig with a cap attached that is perfect for sitting outside at her kids’ games or doing yard work. It’s lightweight and not hot at all!  (You might not think of it, but some of the wigs are heavy and hot.)  I try a few wigs on, too. It’s really fun and a great backup plan to a lousy haircut. To care for wigs, Gaby shampoos her wigs in a sink with cool water and wig shampoo. Synthetic wigs will keep their style even after they are washed. With care, wigs will last several months.

And then I talk to my friend Jodi, a dynamo mother of three who was diagnosed in early 2016 with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer. She went through the ringer: chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and injections for herceptin. Now, a year after her last chemotherapy treatment, she is 100 percent cancer free, and is the same beautiful, energetic blonde amazon she always has been. Predictably, her hair fell out during her treatment.

Jody has had great success with Monat, a hair care line that is aimed at thickening hair. After she shaved her head (her hair was falling out in horrible clumps, making her scalp hurt), she started using the Monat Intensive Oil, and her hair started growing back almost immediately.  She also took Monat’s oral supplement, which is purportedly even more potent than biotin. A friend of Jodi’s who used the drug Taxol during chemotherapy – which makes hair loss permanent – has even had some success with Monat. All of the Monat product line – even styling products – contain the same hair-growing oils that help stimulate and open up hair follicles. You can find all of the Monat line at Bellissima Spa at 61st and Yale.

It’s reassuring to know that thinning hair and hair loss is not necessarily an end of hair forever.  There are lots of options! And, you beautiful bald people, I say show off sometimes and leave the wig at home. It keeps us – and those rotten kids of ours – on our toes!

Categories: Hip Mom