Hair loss and cover-ups

Experiencing hair-loss because of xx medicine or xx disease? I have touched on this topic several times (check out: this, this and this). It has been two years since I shaved my head, and to be honest, I would do it again! Being bald was an eye-opening experience and a life-changing event for me (the diva pre-lupus was lame!). But I do looove my hair. Although I have come a looong way and have enough hair to style (I use a hair dryer!), I still tackle bald spots on a daily basis. If you are in the same boat as me (i.e., have enough hair to go without a wig or scarf), let me elaborate on some options you can use as a cover-up:

1. Make friends with your hairdresser. Explain your situation and have him/her give you a cut/style that helps with your cover-up. It is amazing what a good style can do for you. My hair is styled with longer layers around the bald spot– so that I can use the Donald Trump move of swooping hair over the spot, without looking cheesy.

joan2. Joan Rivers Great Hair Day: My auntie, Joan Rivers ;), came up with a great product to give the illusion of thick full hair, hide hair loss, thinning hair, bald spots & root growth. This product comes in three shades: blonde, brunette, and salt and pepper (although I have seen shades for red-heads). This is a powder that dulls your shin y bald spots, therefore, giving the illusion of thicker hair. The powder comes in a compact, which includes a mirror and brush applicator for easy application. You can use the non-brush end of the applicator to separate your hair strands to expose the bald-spot, then you simply brush on the powder to the spot. It is very easy to use and is great for an easy cover-up. FYI: Running behind on your hair color maintenance? This product works for root-touch-ups. Diva tip: Although this product will not smear, I recommend hair-spraying the blotted areas for extra staying power.

Pros: Easy to use and on the cheap (no more than $19.99). Works great for smaller cover-ups. Can order from online retailers (QVC, etc) or from retail stores, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Cons:  If you are trying to hide a larger-than-dime-size bald spot, consider using the options below. When I used this powder for larger areas, it looked like I painted on my scalp.

2. Hair fibers (Products: Kamo and XFUSION)

xfusionThe new wave of cover-ups has arrived. Hair fibers are one-step ahead of the powders and spray-on bottles, by giving the illusion of hair strands on your bald spot. The problem with powders and sprays is that, when applied to larger areas, it looks like you colored your scalp. These hair fibers give dimension– you are literally applying hair to your bald spot. Hair fibers cling to your existing hair strands for a great blend. These fibers hold on for dear life and stay on until you shampoo your hair. These products are sold in salons and come in a variety of colors to match you. I have used both the Kamo and XFusion fibers, and they both do the job. No more worrying about exposing your bald spot– you have more important things to think about!

How to apply: USE ON DRY HAIR ONLY! You do not want a wet clumpy hairy mess on your hands. Style your hair as usual (i.e., apply all products needed). Find your spot, and shake on the fibers. Gently pat to disperse the fibers. Again, I recommend, hair spraying the area for extra staying power.

Pros: Easy to use and quicker than brushing on powder. Your cover-up will not look like a cover-up.

Cons: Cost is higher but you are paying for what you get. Kamo fibers are exclusively sold at Visible Changes in Texas only. 😦 XFusion fibers seem to more widely available, and you may order online.

It is unfortunate that we are young and have to experience with issues, such as hair loss, however, it does not have to beat us down. Luckily, there are options and products we can use to make the issue disappear for a moment. Jiggly women (i.e., ME) use SPANX all the time… why not use these cover-ups to give another illusion? The great thing is that you are still able to rock your hair and show-off your great personality. If you have any more cover-up suggestions, please feel free to add to the list!

Stay Fabulous!

Advertisements

New Hair Product Obsession

My journey of hair loss has led me to try several products to combat my rebellious hair strands. My newest obsession is the new line from Garnier Fructis “Fall Fight”. The system includes shampoo, conditioner and leave-in-treatment. The formula with energizing caffeine, fortifying biotin and fruit vitamins, strengthens hair from root to ends, reducing falling, breaking strands. The trick with the conditioner and leave-in-treatment is to take a moment to massage the product into your scalp; at this time you will feel your scalp being refreshed.

These products are widely available and are at a low-price.

Diva note: I have used this product for almost a month, and have noticed my hair is getting stronger. I have also noticed less rogue-strands on my pillow and in my fingers after running them through my fabulous hair.

If you try this product out, let me know what you think!

Stay Fabulous!

BITCH STOLE MY LOOK

As I have mentioned before, I lost my hair due to lupus and its treatments  starting in 2010 (click here for details). Many women experience hair-loss at differing degrees because of lupus. For about two years, I rocked my bald head around Houston (with the occasional cover-up on the cooler days or when having a fancy meal).

Rocking this look comes with some great perks… and some lows. The obvious perks include: 1) easy hair management (you shower and GO!), 2) showing off your beautiful face, and 3) showing the world that you have more self-confidence in your pinky-toe than any other long-haired woman around you. The obvious lows…. well… 1) being constantly looked at (which I didn’t mind), 2) being the topic of whispered conversations (“I wonder why she is bald…” etc), and 3) having to deal with ridiculous ignorance and stupidity (seriously, once a jackass came up to me and said: “Are you lesbian?… you have no hair so that means you are a lesbian. You shouldn’t be here.” Let’s just say he walked into my fist, and then walked out with a bloody nose. Somehow, I got banned from the drinking establishment…).

Diva note: Do not allow these lows (especially brought on by other people’s insecurities and ignorance) to bring you down. It is not worth your time or your emotions!

During my time of baldness I followed the words of my hair stylist (if you are in the Houston-area, check out these ladies at A House of Designersdiva-approved) and from my best male friend (who else would know about scalp therapy than a man with a great set of hair–check out thementoringsession): TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCALP!

Sidenote: I tried the steroid injections into the scalp by my dermatologist (a total of 13 into the scalp in one sitting). But after 5 sessions, I was not seeing any results!

I became an advocate of taking care of my scalp. I invested in great shampoos and condition (check out Nioxin products). Monthly, I visited my hairstylist for a buzz-check and for a treatment of Nioxin Scalp Renew Dermabrasion Treatment. This treatment is like a facial for the scalp, can only be done in the salons, and recommended for use every 30-45 days. I recommend also checking out Nioxin Diamax, a leave-on treatment that can be used with the Nioxin 3-part systems for thicker, denser-looking hair.

Nioxin, known for products for thinning hair, has taken the science of skincare and applied it to a new at-home hair-thickening treatment, DiaMax. The intensely hydrating formula—which contains niacinamide and panthenol, ingredients also found in some of the best skin-saving creams–directly infuses each strand with healing, strengthening, and protective properties for plumped-up, thicker locks (nioxin.com; $50). [credits: Christina Han; W Magazine]

By the beginning of 2012, I have noticed my hair was growing back AND thicker! This is great news even if I still have a bald spot in the back of my head (about the size of a fist). My hair still tends to abandon ship when I am going through a flare. I talk about how to cover these “character” spots in a past post: Methotrexate + Benlysta= ?? On the real, I certainly do miss my no-fuss-hair-less morning routine!

January 2012 with a dear friend. My hair was growing back blonde!

After loosing your hair, you come to realize that you are more courageous in choosing hair styles– because if you don’t like it, you know you can always shave it off and still look fabulous! I was rocking my own personal style with hair– half head shaved while growing out the other side. I loved my ‘do and was certainly the only-one rocking it in the City of Houston (…where the long-haired blondes and brunettes roam…).

April 2012

While watching E! Fashion Police (a diva-obsession), my auntie Joan Rivers was making a comment about Miley Cyrus’ new do. I couldn’t believe my eyes- that BITCH STOLE MY LOOK!

September 2012

Damn the man! <Slapping Hand on Forehead> NOW, in addition to receiving the usual “I love your hair” comment, a statement of “It looks like Miley Cyrus” follows!  

Which brings me to my quote of the day:

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery! 😉

Stay Fabulous!

Beauty is skin deep

“Beauty is skin deep and I am in a sh!#-load of pain” -The Diva

WARNING: This blog is dedicated to the ladies of lupus (sorry dudes).

While getting my infusion of Benlysta, I came across an article on allwomenstalk.com entitled “7 Great Make-up Tips for Ladies Undergoing Chemo…“. It made me think: “I wonder how many fabulous chicas in lupus pain look at themselves in the mirror and say ‘Geez, what has this disease done to me?!'” Maybe you haven’t because you are uber-fabulous, but I am going to be honest (and it may seem vain)… I have said those exact words. There have been moments when I look at myself in the mirror and do not even recognize myself. I know I am awesome but there are times where I cannot deny that my body image (defined as an attitude towards one’s body, especially appearance) is somewhat low. I blame lupus. I know I was NO MODEL pre-lupus but I have always loved my body and appearance. I had the attitude of “I can rock ______”, even if to others I looked like a damn fool.

Lupus and Poor Body Image: It is OK to Admit it

Lupus is a multi-systemic disease that mostly affect young women, and it is disfiguring. So it is no surprise that it may affect physical and emotional health. There are several reasons as to why lupus affects our body image… it’s because it affects how our body is looking! Are you on steroids (i.e., prednisone)? Go look in the mirror right now… is your face looking like the typical full-moon character that Disney usually draws up? Or, chew on this: Why is it that I am losing hair on my head but growing a mustache?! How about gaining 5 pounds within a 2-day span (how is that even possible when I barely can keep my food down from all the nausea)?!?! Do you jiggle? I DO.

Disease manifestations, disease activity, lupus treatment-related damage, comorbidities (i.e., other disease that tag along with lupus- osteoporosis, arthritis, renal failure, etc), and medications may adversely affect body image. Skin rashes, uneven pigmentation, vitiligo, scars, loss of teeth, alopecia (i.e., hair loss), facial hair, stretch marks, weight gain, fatigue, pain, depression, unpredictability of flares, or lack of independence all contribute poor body image in women suffering from lupus. This also can affect our quality of life. Although the literature on body image in lupus is scant and controversial, a recent article adds more evidence that body image in lupus patients is poor. If you would like a copy of this article, please contact me.

Younger patients and those with cutaneous disease activity or damage, or depression are more likely to have poor body image-related quality of life. The bottom line is that poor body image is a realistic problem that patients with lupus frequently face (i.e., I AM NOT ALONE… neither are you), and this needs to be addressed through focused research on these specific issues. Of course, body image-related quality of life can be dealt with through some effective interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy with a trained therapist (I have one… more to come on that).

How to Not Look Like You are in Miserable Pain

Back to the allwomenstalk.com article that motivated me to pop in two vicodins and type away. Although it addresses the women on chemotherapy (remember methotrexate is a form of chemotherapy), this article gives some tips on how to keep that healthy glow even though you may feel like crap, and some Do’s and Don’ts to make-up. Don’t hate on it just yet… there is some truth to it, and I think the tips can apply to all of us (regardless of the medications we are taking …keep in mind, lupus alone does some silly sh!# to our body).

Although I feel like crap, I have had some people compliment on my skin. I know it is the new skin regimen I adopted once I started to loss my hair. When I was bald, my face was my new money maker. Yes, my hair is back but I have not abandoned the skin routine. This is what I do (in addition to the cardinal rule of keeping your face clean), it isn’t much but I hope it helps:

1. INVEST IN A MOISTURIZER. My skin started to feel dry once I started taking medications and I looked like I aged soooo fast! I know I am 30, but just because I have lupus I do not need to look like I am 55. I do not use a very heavy moisturizer because I did not want to induce a bigger acne breakout. Not only was my skin super dry, but there are days where my skin was an oily mess, a la puberty-years. There is no reasoning to it. So, I opt to use a gel-cream from Garnier “Moisture Rescue- Refreshing Gel Cream”.  For the really dry days, I use Philosophy “Take a Deep Breath”. This gel-cream is oil-free AND it helps calm those morning red-blotches.

2. JOIN THE BB CREAM TREND. IT IS WORTH IT! BB creams are suddenly everywhere… and there is a reason. BB stands for “Beauty Balm” or “Blemish Balm” depending on the formula, and they’re basically tinted moisturizers with skin care ingredients and SPF built in. The last thing you want to do to disguise the fact that you are feeling like caca is to pile on a bunch of make-up… then you start looking like a woman who looks flu-ridden and should be working a pole. The major plus of a BB cream is that in one bottle you have just the right amount of coverage, moisturizer AND sunscreen. We all know how important sunscreen is to us!! Basically, a BB cream is a tinted moisturizer with a little kick and extra benefits. The tinted moisturizer helps even-out my skin tone, even during those random occasions when the redness and uneven pigmentation conquers my face. My first BB cream was from Garnier, because it was $12.99 and I wanted to see what the big hype was about. Once I joined the bandwagon, I went to Sephora and bought Smashbox’s BB cream. Smashbox is best known for its primers. Their version is fragrance-free (unlike most of the others), so it’s ideal if you’re allergic or sensitive to fragrances. It feels fantastic going on and looks great even at the end of a long, hot Houston day. I can be sweaty but still have a fresh face.

3. BRONZER/BLUSH the Color Back in. This is probably common sense. The use of bronzer will add some glow and life back to your pale skin. A light-hand will give just the right touch of sun-kiss that is needed.

Fans, please don’t forget that despite the weight-gain, hair-loss, and other-body altering stuff that lupus does to us, we will always be fabulous. Why? Because we are strong enough to go through and SURPASS something that the majority cannot even imagine.  And we do it with a smile.

Stay fabulous.