My Story

The Background

    I'm a 21 year old white male who has always had a high forehead and thin hair.  By thin hair I mean when I go swimming it's always looked thin but never looked like it was "thinning" or I was losing my hair until about October of 1996.  See pictures for visual hair background.  My Father went bald on top at around 45 guess he had probably been thinning for about 10 years before that. I have 3 uncles on my Moms side, one went bald at an early age while I'm not sure I'd say around 30, but he had a widows peak in college.  The other two one 55 the other 60 both have a full head of hair and NO evidence of any thinning. Both of by grandfathers had MPB but both are almost 90 and didn't lose there hair till a more normal age. 

The Beginning

    I first noticed an increase of hair on my comb around October 1996.   While visually my hair wasn't much thinner in October when I first noticed the loss, then it was just a few months ago when I had all the confidence in the world in my hair I started to see how thin it really looked.  A few months after I started noticing the loss I saw a recent picture taken of myself with wet hair from a few weeks earlier.  I was horrified to say the least and looked completely bald in the picture.   I even tried to swipe the picture, but the owner wouldn't let me and it bother me to this day that the photo is still out there.  I hated my hair loss and even though I only saw about 30 or so hairs on my comb (an amount of hair loss I only dreamed of later on) I decided to go see a doctor because in my mind I was young and something was wrong.   They did blood work and all that was normal.  The doctor said I had MPB with maybe a little bit of telogen effluvium (which would correct it's self in a few months if that was the case, but it is also usually brought on by stress which in my life at this time I had none other then my hair).  I also had a very dry flaky scalp from using Minoxidil 2% for a week before the appointment, which I stopped immediate afterwards because it really made my life uncomfortable.  I got a cream from the doctor for my itchiness and waited.  Nothing happened but more hair loss. I wanted a second opinion so I saw another dermatologist.  This was my first and greatest prejudices against the thinning hair me that I have experienced to date.  The well hared dermatologist looked for about 5 seconds said very rudely it's MPB your young try Rogaine, and implied leave me alone you prideful insecure loser.  Even the PA who was in the room seemed slightly shocked by the doctors attitude.  I continued to do nothing and saw the original well respected first doctor in January of 1997 he said things were still the same and was surprised that nothing had grown back.  He recommended nothing.  I completed my semester at school using T-gel shampoo for flaking and Panteen for thinning hair.   I continued to lose hair but kind of pushed it out of my mind.  I didn't wear hats much but was really cautious in rain as my hair frizzed out and looked very thin.  I recently saw some old pictures taken that semester and was shocked at how much my scalp showed though in many.  The last month of the semester was when my hair loss depression really sunk in.  I searched the campus for anyone with more loss then me at this age, I did find one, but he looked older, then I though maybe he looks older then me because of the hair loss.  I began to draw pictures of bald men study them and take a guess on there age, then I would draw hair on the same picture and notice the difference.  While everyone else spent finals week with their head buried in a book a refused to study the entire time. Why?  I tried but every time I looked down literally dozens of hairs filled those white pages.  It was a horrible feeling I'll never forget.  I just closed the book and quickly forgot about school.  The hair loss increased, I started to feel very old, I went to hats, I had lost by confidence, I was depressed.  I decided that this summer I would do something It would be a summer to remember and regret.

The Summer of 97

    What a way to start off the summer while I normally wore hats the few times I didn't and I was greeted with bald jokes and people noticing!  How horrifying before this only I had noticed my loss now other people said something.  I even had someone marvel at that I went "back" to college, I didn't understand what they meant.  They explained that it was great someone my age went back to school.  I asked her how old she though I was and she said well maybe a little older then me, she was 26, when I told her she didn't believe that I was under 30.  More depression.  I started searching the yellow paged for hair loss not really knowing what to expect. I had done no research on the internet (a big mistake) and basically knew that there were toupees (which would make me feel old), Rogaine (which I tried and couldn't stand), and transplants (which were expensive and I had seen the horror stories on Hard Copy and such).
    I called around and was treated surprising rudely by many brash barbers at the mom and pop wig places.  I went back to my half filled bottle of Rogaine and was going to tough out the itching if it meant more hair.  I finally schedule a free consultation at a place that looked very professional, Genesis II in Syracuse NY 1-315-458-1074.  I guy I talked to there was great, he explained stuff and said yea I was going thin but did have some hair and that since I was going from the front it could be 5 to 10 years before I go bald.  This was a relief because at this time I thought I'd be bald by the end of the summer.  My hair loss was incredible at this time I estimated about 200 hairs a day, boy was I wrong.  They were everywhere, the shower was plugged, my keyboard was covered by hats were filled.  The guy at Genesis II explained to me "integration system" they would make a small undetectable hair piece that would be permanently attached and have holes in it which my real hair would be pulled though. I thought that sounded great. The prices were higher then I expected and they had two plans of course the gold plan sounded great and if I was going to get it done I wanted it right as even greater then the fear of baldness was the fear of being found out.  Surprisingly the guy kind of played the systems down he didn't feel they would be right for me and my lifestyle traveling to get them serviced etc.  He said he did "lots" of guys in college but instead introduced me to Nioxin.   He said that he used to recommend Rogaine but now it was Nioxin, I said no thanks.   Two days later and hundreds of hairs later I called him up.  I had a thirty dollar starter packet in the mail that afternoon.  Nioxin now this was going to cure me... right?  Well it comes with a hair trap to use in the shower to catch hairs you then count them at the beginning of the month and the end.  It is supposed to shows you that Nioxin is working.  The guy warmed me that the first week I might have more hair loss then normal as the Nioxin clears out dead hairs.  I was shocked.

The Adventure with Nioxin

    It says use your normal shampoo the first few days when you catch hairs, So I did.   After the shower I inspected the hair trap.  It seemed like a lot but it was impossible to count the tangled wet hair.  I left it to dry.   That night I began counting 650 or so hairs later I was more depressed.  I looked in the Nioxin hair loss pamphlet they gave me it said 150 was excessive loss. I was off the scale.  The next day the same thing.  I started the stuff and started counting.  I continued in the 600-700 a day for the shower range but then decided that's not really how many I lose a day.  I started counting everything.  The dozens on my keyboard, Pillow, and usually over 100 in the back of my shirt.  I could run a comb through by hair and easily get 50 a swipe.  I found I was losing over 1000 a day constantly.  I freaked.

The Adventure continues

    I called the guy back at Genesis II and made another consultation to talk about hair replacement.   I also made two other appointments the same day.   By this time a month had gone by since starting Nioxin and the loss had gone down some after a month I counted 300 a day in the shower down by half, I wasn't thrilled.   The Nioxin pamphlet said it would reduce loss to 10-50, but I was still off there scale. The first place I went to was a total mom and pop toupee place the guy was extremely nice and educated me about weaves and showed me pieces and such.  He was an old guy that sews them himself right next to his chair.  He said he wouldn't add a lot of hair to make it look natural he seemed to know a lot about hair and immediately looked at me and said I had really blond almost white hair when I was younger and that it had always been thin and I've had a high forehead all my life. Dead on.  But his 300 dollar rugs just didn't cut it.  The next place was A & E Hair Fashions in Syracuse NY, 5781 Bridge Street, Rte 690 exit 17 The Chimneys Suite 30 1-315-445-1177, a place I would later know as hell.  The place was very clean and professional and the saleswomen/stylish was very pushy and dominating.  She was very outgoing and told me exactly what to do.  That was to do something now before it's too late!  Strap a dead cat on your head it will look great!  After a few measurements she said it would be 1000 bucks for an integration with my real hair plus she'd give me a free membrane so I could have a part.  A part wow I bet that will make this carpet piece look natural...   She assured me she does "lots" of young guys.  She also pushed hair transplants on me a lot, which she had done of the phone also when I made the appointment.   I was scared of those and she assured me of there affordability and safety.   Not interested.  Guess she would only get commission for the ruining my life for a few months instead of permanently scarring me.  She also bashed Rogaine and "whatever new pill they were talking about" she stated they don't work and never will.  I sort of agreed after my few weeks of itchy hell on Rogaine.  Little did I know that I didn't know the definition of itchy... yet.  The price was better here they what I had heard at Genesis II and the places seem really similar.  She finally brought in an example hairpiece and insisted that mine would have no where near as much hair then what was on this one.  Then she added her guarantee if I didn't like it at the time of delivery they'd take it off and give me my money back.  I left with a handshake and a good feeling about the place. I immediately when back to Genesis II and talked with the guy that sold me Nioxin.  After telling him about my rapid hair loss he said that if we did it he wouldn't do integration and instead just shave what was left.   That scared me, I still wanted my hair.  He said they have a doctor that did transplants and he was good but he does know several people that regretted them and that they wouldn't do it on me because I was so young and did not know what my pattern would be.  The price was more then A & E and when I told them about the guarantee he said they don't usually do it but he would match the guarantee from A & E because of my age.  I went home to think... I was depressed the idea of being 20 and wearing a toupee was horrifying, but the hair loss was worse.

And Continues...

    I decided to go for it.  I couldn't stand it any longer all my hair was falling out.  I looked in the mirror for hours.  I justified the price in that I wouldn't have to buy this expensive Nioxin and save money there.  Plus all the hours I spend worrying and looking at my hair in the mirror would be gone and I would save so much time I could work so much more and make more money... I was stupid.  I called up A & E and told the dominating forceful saleswomen/stylist that I wanted to do it.  I went up for a measurement and she said she would give me a lace hairline for free as she could tell I was going to be very picking and didn't want me coming up every week because it looked fake.  They matched the color she said they were going to do blonde highlight in the top so I doesn't look unnaturally the same color of the sides and that it would be done in 4-6 weeks just in time for be to have it for a few days before going back to college.  I though my problems were solved, but I was still more depressed that I was getting a hair piece not to mention the money I was wasting.  I plotted about how I would do it, I grew a beard and wore a hat everyday (this was the beginning of 5 straight months of hats EVERYDAY).  If any one said I looked different I would blame the beard perfect.  Time went by, I continued to use Nioxin, which was running low and I had run out of the special nutriment booster weeks ago.  The loss went down to about 150 a day in the shower I figured it was because there was literally nothing there left to lose.  I still lost about 150 not in the shower a day so about 300 a day I had read that 50-100 was average but when I was average I don't remember seeing any hair loss.  I figured I was watching for it more now but there had to be 50 or so hairs I day I never saw.

The Mistake

    A week before school and it was in. I went up to put it on.   The first scary thing was how it looked like a dark hared mop.  This was A LOT of hair, and they blew it off as everyone says that.  Some no name hair girl was to put it on and cut it.  In a effort which must of been a script she was shocked at my age and thought I looked much older.  She shaved a "track" in my hair completely removing what fuzz was left on my temples and leaving a tuff in the front to hang down.  Then they glued the thing on and cut it.  This was no integration in fact they never once pulled any of my real hair though this was a ugly toupee.  The lace hairline twisted up and was highly visible the hair didn't move and felt highly unnatural which is how they all feel but didn't know it at the time, I thought it was supposed to be "real" hair.  And of course it was very uncomfortable which I assumed was only natural.  After the cut I looked at it and didn't like it at all.   The main stylist/saleswomen came in and was "so" amazed at how good it looked and how young I looked... I was stupid.  I complained to her about how it looked and felt and she did some styling and cutting and thinning it looked better but still highly unnatural.  I didn't want it.  But she insisted I wasn't used to seeing my self with so much hair and I would get used to it and love it.  She thought it looked great.  They then forced be to buy 115 dollar in special color shampoo, gave me a video and took my credit card.  I left not realizing what I had done.   I went to McDonalds to see if anyone would look at me funny, no one did.  I went home went to the mirror and broke down.  What had I done?  It looked horrible felt horrible and was so expensive, I thought of all the good I could of done with that money and felt worse.  I showed my Mom and she even had a hard time pretending it looked good.  That night was one of the longest in my life, It started to itch and was hot and gross, I hated it.  I showered with my old shampoo, I wasn't going to open this expensive stuff in case I return it.  It was weird not to feel the water on my head and the thing too forever to dry.  When I left the shower it looked like a wet dead cat on my head and felt worse.  After further inspection the lace hairline was all over, the part was really unnatural and had white spots from the glue under it showing out.  And the blond highlights were gray I was older!  The temples looked extremely fake and the hair stood straight up in any wind.  I put my hat on and showed no one.  I was determined to try it out.  All day I spent itching and all night and the next day it was horrible.  I called the lady at A & E Hair Fashions and told her what I thought and that I wanted it off.  Her first reply "no refunds".  A drove the long trip to this place and she took one look at me and the hat crushed bad toupee and said it looks good.  I almost died.   I showed her all the problems and she grabbed it and said no way this thing is coming off it will take weeks for the hair to grow out.  My heart sank. I wanted it off now.  She re-cut and thinned it out a bit but I still wanted it out and her next time to check on it was a week away just before school started I took it and was mad.   As I left I went to the secretary gave her back the free video they gave me, why waste a video, and handed them my unopened shampoo and receipt to the secretary to get my money back.  She said she'd have to check on it and walked somewhere when she came back she said the the boss Tony Whatever said no refunds.  I was furious and asked to talk with him.  She left again and about 5 minutes later this guy walked in.  In the mean time I read a poster on the wall talking about how the customer is so important and always right and how they good they should be to customers.  Well this rude arrogant guy told me no refunds, all this while staring at my hairline. I'm a pretty calm guy but I was lit.  We had it out and I couldn't believe that a guy that owns a business where repetition is so important would treat anyone like this.  I laughed about his customer creed, I threatened BBB action, this was the final straw.  We screamed back and forth for about five minutes I hope everyone in there heard me.  I left itchy, mad, and poor.  A week passed and I returned again to get it off.  I also brought by 115 dollar bag of shampoo.  The week before this was horrible I don't know how anyone every wears a toupee, I'm sure I've been fooled in my life by a good one and I'm experienced and can look for them and pick them out pretty easy but I have to say most people aren't fooling anyone.  After bottles of baby oil it was off and my hair had never looked so bad in my life, but it had never felt soooooooo good either to itch and clean my scalp.  My head was now completely socially unexceptable days before school.  I wasn't sure if it would ever grow back.  I had them put clips on this dead rat I bought which now sits in my closet as I did everything in my power to avoid burning it.  The main stylist/saleswomen/liar took it off and she saw my bag of shampoo and had obviously heard the argument the week before. She offered to exchange some of the toupee shampoo for regular shampoo they use.  I of course accepted even though the
ridiculously expensive shampoo they used is nothing like I ever would buy and sits unused in my closet to this day, I do know that someday I might use it... I doubt it, but I know I will NEVER use toupee shampoo.  So I left scared, tired, angry, and poor on the way back stopped by Genesis II and resupplied with Nioxin.  The summer was over... now what?

The Internet

    After a horrible summer, I returned to school bald, and hit the internet. After discovering alt.baldspot and I educated myself to everything there is to know about hair loss and treatment.  I learned things that if I only knew earlier would of changed my life totally.  I spent lots of time worrying about my loss, which BTW had stabilized at about 150 hairs in the shower and about 300 a day total.  I still could comb and drop about 40 hairs easily, I still refused to study as opening a book and looking down showered the pages with hairs.   It was heartbreaking and my depression increase.  I wore a hat EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY.  I was bald on top when wet and only a easily see through wispy covering on top when dry. 20 years old and a Norwood 3A+.  I spent hours and hours reading up on how hairs grow everything I could find on the net including those sites which were never updated.  I looked at transplant pages, snake oil pages, and medical pages late into the night.  Slowly I picked what I thought would be best treatment for my situation and decided I must not give up I had to do something.

Continue on and read My Treatment

If you just can't wait go to My Pictures

mailbox.gif (1062 bytes)