After seeing multiple doctors and trying several prescriptions for thinning hair, Karen Doll had no results and no answers. As a freelance writer she is no stranger to research so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She joined an online support group, scoured the internet for suggestions and used trial and error to test new hair products until she finally found something that worked for her: CBD products designed for thinning hair.
It wasn't a fast or easy process but now she finally feels like she's made progress. Karen generously shared her story with us to shed light on female hair loss. So here's her hair wellness story – in her own words.
How long have you been on your hair growth journey and how is it going for you?
"I began my hair growth journey in September 2020 when I saw my family physician. She ordered bloodwork and diagnosed me with mild Hypothyroidism. She prescribed Levothyroxine, which if in fact this was causing my hair thinning, would take several weeks to see an improvement. Unfortunately, the medication had no effect on my hair and it continued to shed. Then, in October, I saw my primary dermatologist who briefly ran her hands through my hair and looked at my scalp but didn’t order any bloodwork. She did prescribe Minoxidil 5% Foam but unfortunately, the consistency is so light and airy, it kind of melted on my fingers before I could apply it. I stopped after 10 days.
So, I did some research and a lot of CBD and hemp oil hair growth products kept popping up and that’s when I discovered VEGAMOUR. I read the science behind their products but just for peace of mind, I called my dermatologist to ask her opinion. The nurse called me back and apparently, my dermatologist had no knowledge of or experience with these types of hair growth treatments but that she would give me the go ahead if I wanted to try it. I was so disappointed in my doctor whom I’d known for decades. I was more confused than ever and felt like I was all alone in this.
So, how’s it going? Well, after a bit of a bumpy start, I think I can see smoother roads ahead. It’s never easy navigating through an emotionally stressful journey but I think the key is to never give up. I know, easier said than done. It is exhausting to have to advocate for myself over and over just to get the answers I need but for me it means the difference between hope and hopelessness.
And, the more I learn and the more I surround myself with supportive women who are going through similar experiences, the better I feel and the more equipped I am to keep going."
How did you feel when you first experienced thinning hair?
"I was scared! I’ve been living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for more than a decade, a condition for which I do take medication; however, at the time, we were also in the middle of the pandemic lockdown here in Pennsylvania, so I was already way overstressed.
Unfortunately, my hair is fine and thin to begin with and although I’ve noticed some overall thinning as I aged, it was really scary when my hair started shedding more than usual all of a sudden last summer. The texture felt different, too. My hair looked and felt really dry and straw-like even though I condition it regularly. I was worried I had some underlying medical condition that was causing this. It was pretty much on my mind 24/7. I couldn’t sleep so I was tired all the time and I had difficulty focusing on work. Thankfully, I work from home as a freelance writer which is comforting."
What motivated you to take the next step on your hair journey?
"Fear, plain and simple. I was afraid that my hair would continue to shed until I’d lost most or all of my hair. Sadly, my hair is thinning everywhere except at the bottom one-third in the back which appears to be unaffected so far. Even though I can’t see those healthier hairs when I look in the mirror, I know they’re there and that keeps me optimistic especially when I see the daily reminder of all my lost hairs scattered all over the bathroom floor or when I’m brushing my teeth at night before bed and even though I haven’t even touched my hair, that slight movement causes a single hair to fall out and slide down my neck. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
I try my best to be proactive with my health and wellbeing, so I ordered the VEGAMOUR GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum and began applying it nightly before bed. However, knowing that results would take months, I decided to schedule an appointment with my secondary dermatologist (who I see for laser skin treatments) for a second opinion.
I saw him near the end of December 2020 and thankfully he took time examining my scalp and declared it healthy. He’d seen some telogen hairs but he said he felt 100% positive my hair would grow back. Finally, peace of mind! He also ordered extensive bloodwork. When all of my levels came back normal, he recommended I take hair vitamins. Fortunately, in November I had ordered a bottle of the VEGAMOUR GRO + Advanced Gummies and had been taking them with no adverse side effects (a previous biotin supplement had caused breakouts) so he agreed it was best if I continue. He also suggested I look into purchasing a low-level red light therapy cap which is quite expensive, so I put that on hold indefinitely."
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What changes have made the biggest difference on your hair wellness journey?
"I’m thankful every day I took the time to get a second opinion.
In addition to investing in several of the VEGAMOUR hair products, I continue to color my hair. It makes me feel good. However, I only use Henna now because it’s plant based with no harsh chemicals.
I also enjoy regularly chatting with the members of the VEGAMOUR Female Hair Loss and Wellness Facebook Community. Their support and advice is priceless! And if I’m able to help someone by sharing the things I’ve learned during my hair loss journey, it’s food for my soul.
I make leisure activities a priority. I enjoy reading, gardening, cooking and baking, bird watching, watching thrillers and old movies, and playing Bocce and going fishing with my sweetheart. I also exercise regularly, keep hydrated, and try my best to eat a healthy balanced diet."
What habits are you prioritizing to achieve the healthy hair you want?
"I suppose my number one healthy hair habit would be continuing to use less heat on my hair. The only way I can get any kind of volume and bounce in my hair is to blow dry it with my head upside down and then finish with a round brush, Velcro rollers, or a flat iron. My hairdresser told me that even my beloved go-to Velcro rollers could be yanking out my hair. So, much to my dismay, I currently let my hair air dry most of the time, unless I’m going out or have an appointment.
Second, I plan to continue taking the VEGAMOUR GRO+ Advanced Hair Care Gummies and applying the VEGAMOUR GRO + Advanced Hair Serum nightly. I typically wash my hair most days because it gets super sweaty after my morning workouts, so several days per week I wash and condition with my all-time favorite combo — the VEGAMOUR GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner — which not only nourishes and strengthens my hair but gives me the softest texture ever. Then the rest of the week I alternate with a different brand of shampoo and conditioner."
Tell us a bit about your hair wellness routine with VEGAMOUR.
"Every morning, I take a GRO + Advanced Gummy with my breakfast. Next, I wash my hair with the dynamic duo, the VEGAMOUR GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner several times per week in the mornings after my workout. The scent is absolutely lovely and invigorating and I love that it lingers into the next day if I don’t wash my hair. Definitely a win-win! Then, every evening before bed, I apply the GRO + Advanced Hair Serum and massage it into my scalp with the GRO Revitalizing Scalp Massager for a few minutes.
Also, on the rare occasion I don’t wash my hair and it is not sticking out in all directions, I spritz on the VEGAMOUR GRO Dry Shampoo, rub it in, and voila, instant volume with no more oiliness and I’m ready for the day."
What advice would you have for someone who struggling with their hair growth journey?
"First, schedule an appointment with your family doctor and dermatologist. Be prepared for your appointment by making a list of everything you want to discuss. I always print it out and take it along to write notes. I’ve even asked my doctors to write down more complex instructions and advice.
Second, advocate for yourself! Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Ask questions and if you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.
Third, equip yourself with knowledge. Like the saying goes, knowledge is power and hair loss can make you feel helpless. So read everything you can about hair loss, causes, treatment, etc. Read the Vegamour blog.
And fourth, join a support group. NO ONE understands the emotional devastation of hair loss except those who experience it and the VEGAMOUR Female Hair Loss and Wellness Community is my lifeline."
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Photo credit: Laura Chouette on Unsplash