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Fitness and Weight Loss Heidi Powell from extreme weight loss: ‘I started noticing bald spots in my early 30s'

Heidi Powell, the co-host of Extreme Weight Loss, opened up to Women's Health about her own experience losing hair.

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Heidi Powell

(Women's Health)

“When I’ve talked about how this feels—and how hair makes me feel feminine—on social media, I’ve gotten a decent amount of backlash.”

Hair loss is a huge deal - especially for women.

Heidi Powell, the co-host of Extreme Weight Loss, opened up to Women's Health about her own experience losing hair.

I experienced some major trauma in my life about three years ago: My dad died; baby number four, Ruby, was born; and I had emergency kidney stone-removal surgery.

Two weeks after that, I noticed my hair was a little thinner, so I started adding clip-ins. Then I started noticing bald spots and got extensions in my hair. I didn't want to just cover it up, though; I wanted to treat it.

My husband, Chris, will never have to deal with this—even if he balds, he can just buzz his head and look amazing.

For me, I was like, "When I'm bald, am I going to have to wear a wig? What happens at night?" So much of my message is, "Be authentic, real, and perfectly imperfect," but now it's like being faced with, "Who am I going to be without this—without my hair?"

When I've talked about how this feels—and how hair makes me feel feminine—on social media, I've gotten a decent amount of backlash.

But I can't help how I feel—my mom has an absolute thick mane of hair, but my dad went bald by the time he was 26. I have three brothers, and every single one of them has incredibly thick hair, yet I—the only girl—am the one losing hair in my thirties.

I went to a few different doctors in Arizona.

One naturopath said I had the antibodies for Crohn's disease and irriitable bowel syndrome, and that I was intolerant to gluten.

Another was an endocrinologist who put me on a regimen that was supposed to detox my adrenal system.

Eventually, I was referred to a hair-loss specialist, who said, "While stress and hormones can initially cause hair loss, what it's doing in your case is kick-starting your genetically predetermined androgenetic alopecia."

She did a full scalp analysis, which included taking microscopic pictures that showed the hairs were actually shriveling up, as opposed to just shedding.

I started noticing bald spots and got extensions... but I didn't want to just cover it up.

I have a laser cap now, and I've been using it for seven months, four days a week for 30 minutes, and some hairs are starting to thicken under the microscope.

I will wear it whether I am in a hotel lobby or at the Starbucks drive-thru. My littlest son, Cash, thinks it's like Star Wars.

There's also a spray I use, Monat Intense Repair Treatment ($65, amazon.com), which has a cocktail of peptides and essential oils that are supposed to stimulate the scalp and encourage growth.

I do it every time I shampoo and at night before I go to bed, saturating the crown of my head and then the sides.

I still have the extensions in to help cover the thinned spots while regrowth happens, and I plan to do the plasma injections in the next couple of weeks. My philosophy is: If it could work, it doesn't hurt to try it!"

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Women's Health. For more confessions, pick up a copy on newsstands now!

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