If putting you in a male body ain’t proof enough that God hates you…then putting you inside a male body that’s going bald surely clinches the argument.
Baldness! Why haven’t the boffins invented a cure yet? I mean, Mars is 200 million clicks from earth and it’s got an atmosphere of CO2 and dust storms…but still Matt Damon got there and grew a bunch of potatoes. If humans can do that, surely we can grow some hair on a balding head.
A definitive cure for baldness still alludes us; and let’s face facts: this is a terrible state of affairs for transwomen. Every time I see a sister with a clearly male hairline, a little bitchy voice in my mind says…
“Girl, I don’t know what’s receding more: your hairline or your chances of passing.”
As I’ve resolved to tamp down my inner bitch and help people more, I’m dedicating my first article to hair loss in transgender women. Stick with me, homegirl, and people’ll be calling you Rapunzel within twelve full moons.
First things first: develop the right attitude…No compromise!
Acceptance is the foundation of slavery, so let’s start with a basic concept: there ain’t no being philosophical about hair loss or developing a thick skin. The only women who have receding hairlines live on the outskirts of Chernobyl, so let’s forget any notion of being noble and walking round with a hairline carpet bombed by testosterone.
You need a head of hair, and even if I have to tomahawk some skinny homecoming bitch Indian-style and stick her scalp on your head…we gonna get you some hair, Cinderella!
The NCA approach: Natural – Chemical – Artificial.
Before you even think about going pharmaceutical…get yourself a jumbo bottle of vitamins and start popping pills like your hair depends on it…cos it does.
But make sure they’re quality vitamins because in nature the fruit doesn’t just contain the vitamins but all the amino acids and shit that make sure the vitamin is absorbed. Cheap vitamins sit in your stomach fizzing away by their lonely selves until you piss them away: zero absorption. There’s only one brand of vitamins worth buying: solgar. Solgar are the NASA of vitamin research.
And one other piece of advice…don’t bother with a special vitamin formulation for hair loss. Get a good multi vitamin and it will have enough B vitamins to keep your scalp healthy.
Also, make sure you’re exercising…bad circulation will have your hair falling out like a follicle monsoon. And lay off the meth…that shit will leave you as bald as a turtle.
As you know, dihydrotestosterone is the criminal responsible for the murder of your hair. You gotta take that son of a bitch down and a good strategy is an androgen blocker plus oestrogen. However, you gotta bear in mind that this combination isn’t like a total victory…it’s setting up a frontier that hairloss can’t go beyond.
Yes, you might get some regrowth…but don’t go thinking that either anti androgen or oestrogen gonna turn you into Fozzi bear. It’s more about maintaining what you have rather than sending forth those follicles to multiply. Remember – a lot of ciswomen get hairloss (it just ain’t so freaky and shaped like a V.) so you can’t expect oestrogen to act as a magic formula for hair regrowth when it don’t even work for our cisters.
If you’re not even at the stage of taking hormones, then you can take propecia (drugs.com) (apparently the generic version called ‘finesteride’ is super cheap).
The only problem with taking propecia without oestrogen, however, is that you’re robbing your body of an essential hormone.
People will try and tell you that dihydrotestosterone does nothing important in the body, but a little bit of common sense tells you there ain’t gonna be random hormones running around the body doing nothing. The fact is that some men who take propecia get depressed, so whatever the hell you got in your little balls (where dihydrotestosterone is manufactured) it seems to keep you happy. (Note: androgen blockers without oestrogen is also a possible cause of depression in young transgender women.)
At the end of the day, like all drugs…it’s a cost benefit analysis. Personally, if I was going bald I’d get majorly depressed anyway, so I’d rather be depressed with hair…than depressed and bald. Furthermore, you could pop some anti-Ds or just try hard to keep mentally healthy and stave off the depression.
Some guy told me about a product called minoxidil but my research didn’t impress me. First of all, you’ve gotta start applying it to the scalp like some kind of travelling quack’s baldness tonic. In my case, that’s not only gonna interfere with my style, but would probably react with all my existing hair products to create napalm.
Update: April 2021 – topical (cream) versions of this drug are now available which means less risk of side effects.
Embrace artificial hair! All the stars add artificial hair to their hair…so let’s face it: if it’s good enough for Beyonce then it’s good enough for you. If all else fails then you can just go for the simplest solution of all: a wig.
I’ll be honest with you: I cringe when I see a transwoman in a wig. Why? Because it’s obvious she’s wearing a wig. But it doesn’t have to be that way just as long as you spend a lot of money on the wig. …which all leads to the aphorism – ain’t no shame in wearing a wig…only shame is wearing a cheap wig. Girls…please…just like Shakespeare said…the hair is a window to the soul. You can’t go cheap ass Chinese with something that looks like you got a mop, ripped it off its wooden stick and shoved it on your head.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment for Hair Loss
I’m going to be completely honest with you: I don’t really understand the science behind this treatment, so here’s the dumbed down version. Basically, the doctor takes some of your blood and extracts a platelet rich plasma from it. Then he injects it into your scalp.
Good news for transgender women is that, while no miracle cure, it has a good track record of real growth.
Hair transplants seem to be getting better each year. My friend Holly went to Bogota last year and got the maximum amount of grafts possible; six months later she had a perfect female hairline. It wasn’t as dense as most ciswomen have, but it was certainly passable. But again, transplants aren’t a magic soloution: Holly had pretty good hair in the first place…if you had serious hair loss you wouldn’t be able to restore your hairline.
However, although not perfect, the best thing about transplants is that it doesn’t involve major manipulation of your endocrine system and the results are guaranteed. (This 50 second video gives you a pretty accurate picture of the possibilities… surgeon is DR EPSTEIN who works in Miami and Florida.
For Europe many people told me that Facial team is best and I’d also recommend their page as a serious crammer course in the science of hair loss for transgender women and forehead restructuring. This of course reminds us that there are surgeries that go way beyond transplants and rebuild the forehead to a more feminine shape. That stuff is way beyond my brief, though. Read an in-depth page about surgery + transplants here.
Prospects for a future cure.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here because Ï really don’t wanna start summarising all the stuff I just read about growing hair on mice and laser combs and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t seem to hold any hope for anyone wanting to grow hair. Except for mice!
It seems the best hope is a massive improvement in hair transplants where, instead of only taking a small amount of hair from the back of your head and sticking it on top, they’ll be able to grow a whole tray of the stuff like watercress. That’s gonna come by 2020…which is probably about how long it’ll take most people to save up.
Summary: ninja strategy points for hair loss in transwomen.
– Propecia will probably halt hair loss and might give you some regrowth on the crown. (The downside are side effects but…many people take it with no problem.)-
– Eat well. No illegal drugs! Lots of exercise.
– Anti androgens/oestrogen will halt hair loss and might give you some regrowth.
– Take a good multi vitamin.
– Hair extensions are good.
– Wigs are fine as long as you go top of the range.
– Transplants – pretty good results – but not magic cure.
– 2020 should see a definitive solution.
Remember to buy vitamins! (Read Elle’s post on why she takes vitamins;) If you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered to eat brocoli and drink green tea etc, Solgar has all those extracts in one magic tablet.
Thanks for this excellent article Anna. Particularly the update on topical propetia/finesteride. I was a little uncertain about taking this in tablet form but was able to source the topical version which I’ll use daily.