When I was a child I was blessed with thick, bouncy and plentiful hair, as a teenager I discovered bleaching and loved my peroxide blonde locks which sadly split, broke off and thinned. Yet it wasn’t until I had my two children that my hair really suffered, as my hair literally fell out by the handful after giving birth and has never been the same since. Whilst I’m not missing any obvious patches of hair, nor do I have any bald spots thankfully, the overall coverage of my hair has lessened dramatically, it’s flatter to my head, limp and lifeless and I struggle to give it any volume even with products. I already have a high hairline which makes my forehead look massive and thanks to a cowslip that makes my hair grow in the wrong direction at the front I can’t have a fringe to hide it, but I think my hair would be too wispy for a fringe even if I could have one. So that’s why I’ve chosen the Theradome to improve the health, thickness and coverage of my hair from the comfort of my home as a single mother of two.
Over the past year I have stopped dyeing my naturally dark blonde hair, instead I now just have a few highlights in the top section of my hair a couple of times a year to break up the regrowth of my roots, take off any dead ends and look natural. I don’t use anything with heat on my hair at all as I simply wash with shampoo and conditioner and allow my hair to dry naturally with no more straighteners or hairdryers and it feels so much better for it.
The problem that I have is the quantity of hair that I once had is no longer there, the hair that I do have I am happy with the length and condition, but I would like there to be more of it like there used to be, as when I tie my hair up I have to wrap my hair tie round and round as it disappears into a tiny ponytail and feels rather scrawny, yet a decade ago it was nearly twice the thickness and I only looped my hair tie once to secure it in place. So I’m keen to restore my hair to it’s former glory and perhaps even prevent any further hair loss or thinning which I expect to occur with age. Being a vegan I’d imagine my diet may have contributed to my hair loss in some way as I turned vegetarian at the age of five and became vegan earlier this year at the age of twenty-seven.
It seems that I’m not alone with my hair struggle as hair loss affects an estimated eight-million women in the UK and more than half of all men suffer significant hair loss by the age of fifty. Female hair loss is not only emotionally distressing but often harder to treat than male pattern baldness, as we almost expect to see men losing their hair as they age but it’s less accepted for women. My father lost all of his hair at the age of twenty-one as my grandfather and uncles are bald too, and my mother has thinning hair with age.
After having my two children I spoke to a hair specialist about my hair being so thin and they advised that it may return naturally but it never did and I wasn’t a suitable candidate for treatment such as a hair transplant because no obvious patch of follicles were missing, I just have less growth all over. Developed by former NASA biomedical engineer Tamim Hamid, the Theradome is the first FDA cleared over the counter wearable laser hair therapy unit which is now available in the UK. The laser helmet has been deemed by the FDA as being substantially equivalent to a clinical laser having a similar wavelength, number of lasers and power per laser, and clearance was given based on the treatment of androgenic alopecia in women.
Now that the Theradome is available in the UK trichologists are able to treat their patents with laser phototherapy from the comfort and convenience of their home providing alarming results, especially to those over forty with age related thinning. The lasers help to provide an increase in new hair growth, hair quality and increased hair-shaft diameter to combat weak and fine hair. The Low Level Laser Treatment (LLLT) used increases microcirculation, reduces inflammation and promotes healing to benefit the health of both the hair and scalp. The only treatment available before this was cold lasering at a hair clinic with a six month course costing between £1500 to £3000. Unfortunately the cold lasering treatment wasn’t a cure for most hair loss conditions, more a way of maintaining hair growth, so it was necessary to continue the treatment for as long as the results were required which I could never have afforded in a million years. Through advancements in laser technology pioneered by Theradome, the same clinical strength laser therapy is now available in this home device and I happen to think that it’s rather fetching to wear.
The helmet is majorly similar to a traditional builders helmet and pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear, hands free so you don’t have to sit down and anchor yourself to a plug socket, it covers the entire head to complete an entire treatment at once in just twenty minutes, costs a fraction of the price of visiting a clinic, is fully rechargeable and has a single button for easy use. Surprisingly the helmet only generates less than one degree celsius of heat after a full twenty-minute session unlike cheaper lasers.
To use the helmet you simply have to put it on and press the large power button at the back where a ladies voice confirms “treatment started” and the red lasers light up. There are eighty proprietary lasers at a wavelength of 678nm, with the automated system counting out the remaining time as well as informing you of when the battery is running low. There are soft rubber pegs inside the roof of the helmet which help to part the hair to improve laser delivery to the scalp and the lasers themselves are encased in a protective clear plastic shell to protect them as well as making it easily wipe clean for hygiene. The grooves in the top of the helmet allow ventilation for optimum operating temperature and the inbuilt proximity sensors detect when the helmet is being worn to activate the lasers, turning them off if the helmet should be removed before treatment is complete. The Theraome can be used by multiple members of the household providing convenient, affordable, safe and effective results that can be maintained.
So here is my before photo and as you can see from the pictures taken today the front of my hair has thinned most noticeably, and whilst I don’t actually have a bald patch the coverage of hair isn’t what it once was. I’m hoping that using Theradome will increase the growth in follicles in this particular area which I will continue to document my progress in photos, but thanks to the helmet it will also improve all of my hair too. I’ve done my research and seen some really positive results from men and women of all ages who have used this and I know that this is the most safe and cost effective method for me.
Being a single parent to my two young children I simply don’t have the funds to make expensive clinic appointments and commit to entire courses of treatment that will be forever ongoing, nor the continuous childcare needed and hassle of travel in my already busy schedule. I do however have the ability to pop the Theradome onto my head for twenty-minutes at a time every other day whilst I’m cooking dinner, doing the dishes or helping my daughter to read. It helpfully comes with a USB mains charger and one single charge until full will provide a weeks worth of treatments. Thanks to its padded storage case I don’t have to worry about my little ones pulling it about nor it getting dropped or messy. I also love how discreet it looks as there is no obvious branding on the helmet not bold packaging to say “Hey I’m trying to grow my hair!” so if a friend pops over unexpected or the postman comes to the door whilst I’m having a treatment then they’ll probably think I’m wearing a cycling helmet or even dyeing my hair with a cool gadget. And I could always take it off and the lasers will stop until I’m ready to put it back on and finish my treatment.
After speaking with Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.FTTS and director of Theradome GB, she kindly explained why hair loss occurs in men and women, as it’s important to identify the reason why the hair is thinning in order to prevent any further loss whilst treating problem areas. She advised that I should visit my GP and ask for a blood test to determine the levels of B12 and Ferritin in my body, as low iron and vitamin deficiency, particularly in vegetarians and vegans can result in hairloss and this particular blood test isn’t something GP’s normally run when testing your bloods, so when I’ve visited my GP before for results and everything has come back fine it’s left me baffled as to why I still feel bad and my hair is so thin and lifeless. An under-active thyroid in women of menopausal age, Vitamin D deficiency, breakage from heat damage and alopecia can all affect how our hair is lost and thinning and most deficiencies can be corrected once identified.
I have therefore booked in for my blood test in ten days time and should receive my results shortly after. Whilst waiting for my blood test I am beginning my Theradome treatment by using the helmet on clean, dry hair without any products, sprays or oils. The lasers light up red throughout the twenty-minute session and automatically turn off when the time is complete so that each treatment is equal. The helmet is very comfortable to wear thanks to the padded inserts, and as the lasers are working I can feel a very slight warmth with the red lights being shielded from my eyes and others by the outer cover. I’m expecting the treatment to be noticeable over the next four months or so which will take dedication and consistency as Rome wasn’t built in a day; but it’s very little effort to complete a daily treatment and something that will make the biggest difference to my self-confidence once I get my hair back so I’m willing to be vigilant and ensure I don’t miss a day.
My Blood Test Results Are Back
So it’s 11 days since I started my treatment and I have my blood test results back from my doctor which confirms that I am lacking in Ferratin and B12 where low levels contribute to hair thinning and hair loss. My Ferratin levels should be at least 70ug/l or higher but are just 10, and my B12 should be at least 500ug/l or above but are only 144 so so I’m severely lacking in both.
I have been medicated with Ferrous Fumerate and Cyanocobalamin tablets which I must take daily forever if I wish to maintain a healthy level. It also explains why I have literally no energy feel breathless and dizzy and I’ve been advised by my GP that once I have an initial burst of tablets to push my levels up to where they should be I can then lower the dosage to maintain a healthy amount which will in turn give me bags of energy and make me feel on top of the world. I always put my tiredness down to being a busy single parent to my two little ones but never thought that I would be anaemic. Checking the health of my thinning hair has now lead to improving my entire health and wellbeing and I’m incredibly grateful. It goes to show that when we are lacking something it can have a major impact on more than one area of the body and treating the underlying cause has many benefits than those on the surface.
So now I begin my medication thanks to the advice of my Trichologist and will continue to have my laser treatment from home, I will return to my GP in three months time to have my bloods taken again and test to see if they have levelled. I will of course post progress pictures of my hair each month and hope that you will see a difference as already my existing hair is feeling stronger and thicker from lasering and less see-through. I have highlighted a red circle around a mole that I have on my scalp just to the right of my parting which is visible through my hair. I have used red arrows on the side of my before photo and day 11 progress photo to mark the height of my mole without getting in the way of my parting or covering my results. Despite my treatment time being less than two weeks so far the coverage of my existing hair feels so much better and my scalp isn’t as exposed as before. My hair looks and feels so much stronger and shines rather than being dry and wispy so fingers crossed that getting my body on par too will accelerate my results!
It just goes to show the power of visiting a Trichologist to deal with hair concerns as GP’s aren’t specialists in this area and have always missed my B12 deficiency which has caused me to suffer for many years from anaemia with extreme tiredness, a lack of energy, breathlessness, feeling faint, headaches, pale skin, heart palpitations, tinnitus and a loss of appetite. I simply saw my weak and lifelessly thin hair as an ageing process and never once thought it could be a symptom of my body needing help. I highly recommend speaking to Sally-Ann Tarver if you have any concerns about your hair, she has helped me enormously and I’m extremely grateful to have found her.
UPDATE January 2016: 4 Months Into Treatment
So I thought I should pop a little update into how I’m getting on with my Theradome seeing as it’s now January and a whole new year. I have been using my helmet and taking my tablets for four months now and this is the key time to start noticing results. As you can see from these side-by-side before and after photos my hair is growing back much stronger, thicker and healthier than before. I’ve used red arrows again to mark where the freckle is on my head which has always been visible through my hairline but is now nicely covered.
My hair takes a fair while to grow and always has done, so I knew that I wouldn’t have a mane like a unicorn within the first few months, but day by day I’ve noticed little changes and I can’t help but feel a sense of relief wash over me to know that my hair can and is being repaired and regrown. It feels far stronger and more lifelike with bounce and body to it rather than the wispy snappy straw that it once was after years of bleaching. Not only is my hair thicker and less easy to snap and break when brushing, but there is also more of it because my centre parting was rather sparse before but it’s now filling in which is so exciting to see. I hope that in another four months time I will have a second exciting progress picture to share with you as it’s important to be patient and remain consistent with treatments; good things come to those who wait.
Today Theradome USA contacted me after seeing my results and asked if I would like to make a video about my experience using the laser helmet to show others what can be achieved so I popped this together just now!
I welcome you to join me on my journey and follow my progress, if you have any questions, comments and thoughts then please leave them in the comment box below and remember to check back soon to see how I’m getting on!
UPATE: My Results One Year On
It’s been a whole year of using Theradome and I’m so pleased with the results, not only is my middle parting thicker and my scalp less visible but my hair sits, looks and feels so much better and stronger; so much so that I’ve now decided to go back to my natural colour and allow my highlights to grow out.
Before beginning my treatment I used to constantly dye my hair blonde to try to disguise the thinness of it as it was a light enough shade to subtly hide the contrast between my pale scalp and naturally dark blonde hair. Yet dyeing my hair left it weak, damaged and in such poor condition which became a vicious cycle that I just couldn’t break. Now I no longer dye my hair my new hair is regrowing most visibly around my fringe and looks and feels so healthy, sleek and natural.
I never would have dreamed of going back to my natural colour before as I’ve been dyeing my hair for almost twenty years but I love how glossy and strong my regrowth is and I wish I’d done this years ago. My hair also sits better without being so fly-away and wispy, it’s far less frizzy, has more weight to it and doesn’t snap so easily when I brush it. The difference between my new hair and old dye is incredible and because I’m keen to keep the length I’m going to spend the next few years having my dead ends trimmed off until I’ve eventually chased away all of the peroxide for good and then I’ll have the long glossy locks I’ve always dreamed of.
From the before and after pictures above you can see that the mole on my scalp is now covered by the regrowth of new thicker dark hair and I’m no way near as self conscious as I was about it thinning; whilst I’ve become a year older in age it seems that my hair has grown a year younger as and I absolutely love it. The biggest change however is undoubtedly in the quality of my hair; it has the life, sheen, body and natural bounce back that I haven’t experience in years – it’s true what they say, there really is no substitute for natural beauty. I highly recommend embracing your natural hair colour, reclaiming your locks and restoring their former glory. Thanks to Theradome I can once again have luscious locks after childbirth, kiss goodbye to thinning, restore my hairs purity after peroxide and rebuild my follicles after years of heat damage and styling.