Now that I look back, I believe my hair loss started ~10 years ago at the age of 21. During that time, my hair started to gradually recede, but I thought nothing of it - thinking it was going to eventually shape itself into the 'family hairline.' My family members have some pretty wicked widows peaks and they are quite evident in both our elderly and our infants. As time went on, I never took the time to really look at myself in the mirror and examine the state of my hair until my mid-20s. A couple things triggered this for me :
- when people tried to guess my age, they would guess over. An age over estimate is not common for an Asian, and has certainly not been the case in my personal experience.
- my appearance in photos showed major thinning. Things are different than they appear in the mirror each morning, especially when you add some distance and a different light source. A photo is worth a thousand words, and it speaks volumes about how you look physically to others.
- I look 'mean.' I am 99% of the time (not exagerrating) an upbeat, positive kinda guy - but I look grumpy, not because of how I am feeling about my hair loss (though that doesn't help), but just overall how I look physically with my hair being in its current state. Even when I smile, it looks insincere. I think some of you know what I'm talking about, for the ones that don't, snap a picture of yourself and just use MS Paint to alter your hairline...you will appear to look happier.
- confidence. I have never been one to shy away from attention, but once I spot a camera, I look for an escape. To my knowledge, my hair has not prevented me from having a healthy and active social life, but I do always wonder if things could be better. Though I don't agree with how image plays such a big role in society today, I am not going to pretend it's not important.
With all of this hitting at the age of 26, I felt I had to do something. I briefly read up on transplants during the time, but financially, I was nowhere ready. From the info gathered from various resources, at 26 years, I may have been too young for a HT due to my hairline not yet settling. Either case, something had to be done, and it would have to be topical for now. I switched to Nioxin shampoo/conditioner and started on 5% minoxidil.
Fast forward 5 years - hair is still receding, but looks to have settled. I have also started a saw palmetto extract supplement, not sure if it helped, but doesn't look to have harmed anything. Up until this point, I have been researching on and off bout hair transplants, but have now been focused exclusively on the subject for the last 3 months. Now that transplants are becoming more affordable and the FUE method has become more refined, I decided to take the plunge.
So there you have it - my hair loss story. And now I welcome you to join me on my hair GAIN journey.