How do I hide these bald spots?
April 20, 2017 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I am finding coin-sized bald spots on my scalp, possibly from alopecia areata. I have long, dark hair and at least one spot on the top of my crown is noticeable no matter where I part my hair. How do I hide this? Also, is it possible any of this is related to the birth of my first child but NOT simply postpartum hair loss?

Like a lot of pregnant women I enjoyed a glorious mane of hair during my pregnancy. I bid farewell to all that lustrous volume after the baby was about 3 months old. The hair loss was hardly noticeable, but then again, I was massively sleep-deprived and could have missed a family of possums living in our kitchen. Anyways, about 9 months after giving birth I noticed a random bald spot near my hair part. At first it seemed about the size of a quarter, but later it appeared more butterfly-shaped and about the size of two misshapen half-dollars placed next to each other. I'm not sure if the spot grew or if my long hair covered up some of the scalp. Fast forward to a couple days ago when I examined my head from the back with the help of two mirrors and noticed another quarter-sized bald spot near the back of my crown, which I normally can't see. I have no idea if it's a recent development or one that I didn't notice earlier.

There is no way that my kid, hair-pull-y though she is, could have yanked out that much hair. I also don't think this is part of the normal telogen effluvium cycle that other postpartum women experience.

This leads me to ask two questions:

1. How can I hide the bald spots? I'm not *terribly* worried about them, as they seem consistent with alopecia areata. Has anyone with odd hair loss had luck using cosmetics? I'm not interested in cutting my hair super short, but I've definitely pumped the brakes on hair brushing, excessive shampooing, and styling in order to minimize further damage (not that I've been doing much of that anyways since the kid was born).

2. Have any other women experienced this weird condition, or something similar, post-childbirth? Did the condition resolve itself or did you need to get aggressive? It seems shots of corticosteroids help with alopecia areata but ugh, that seems like a lot of effort and possibly not cool to mix with breast-feeding.

Other points: yes, I will eventually see a dermatologist and an endocrinologist to rule out anything serious, but my time is pretty limited these days. No other weird health issues are cropping up. I am still breastfeeding 2-3x daily, but kiddo is 11 months old and I plan to wean her by about the 13th month.
posted by Hwaet to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I don't have this problem but I did have a (different) autoimmune disease appear postpartum. It is not especially unusual, though the mechanisms are not well known. In my case, nobody has ever expressed any thought that it will go away - it was triggered to start by the pregnancy, and now it's around forever.
posted by brainmouse at 12:43 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I dealt with alopecia areata on and off over the course of a particularly stressful four years of my life. My postpartum hair loss did not result in bald patches - I was worried it would, but it looks like my a.a was stress-related.

During those times I mostly wore my hair gently pulled back. If the hair on the front of your scalp seems unaffected, gently pulling your hair back with a fabric covered barrette or some tool that won't break or damage your hair might be an option. You could do ponytails or buns - the latter looks quite chic. I also rocked bandannas for a while, that was actually fun!
posted by Everydayville at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2017

There's a product called "Toppik"- it's little synthetic hair like fibres that you sprinkle on and they bind to peach fuzz hair / scalp with static, then set with hairspray; you could try that. There are also various "root touch up" sprays you can try, or apply powder or crème makeup the colour of your hair with an eyeshadow brush. You probably don't want to use those solutions every day though as they might irritate your skin and hamper re-growth.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have alopecia areata which onset after the birth of my second child and which I initially thought was post-partum hair loss. I saw a dermatologist and received 2 rounds of steroid injections to my scalp, as well as applying a topical steroid. Neither helped and I ultimately decided to stop those treatments and shave my head. Before I shaved my head, I was trying to gently pull my hair back and arrange it in ways that covered the bald spots. The kid is now 9 years old and I have continued to have bald patches on my scalp, though the number of patches and their diameter has varied over time and not in ways that I have been able to track and correlate to stress, diet, or other factors.
posted by danielleh at 1:37 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

To go with the practical aspects:

a) headbands/charming scarves (held in place with an X cross of bobby pins if like me, you have a weird shaped head that causes anything that goes to the nape of the neck to slowly crawl up the back of your head)


b) teasing/fluffing hair (lots of YouTube videos on hair styles in general but you might like a fluffy, messy bun on top of your head that covers the hair loss and makes your life easier; two for the price of one)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:19 PM on April 20, 2017

Have you seen a primary care physician? That's the first stop --- they can screen for a large percentage of the issues that could be involved and make it clear whether or not you need to see a specialist ASAP or not at all.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 4:40 PM on April 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

You might try the hair make up products like this.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:44 PM on April 21, 2017

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