After Hair Loss at 11, Shame Ruins Woman's Singing Career

Over-the-counter hair products like Rogaine can help, but it must be used continuously or the hair will fall out again. Results take about two to three months.

Low-light treatment is another option with a laser comb. Hair transplants are also being used on women. When all else fails, women can use camouflage techniques like hair pieces and hair systems.

For Susan Falcone, hair loss ran in the family, and she began losing hers at age 12 and is now a certified personal coach focusing on helping women with hair loss.

"My mom kept reassuring me everything was fine," said Falcone, now 40 and from Lancaster, Pa. "By the time I was 15, I went to an endocrinologist at University of Pennsylvania and he said I just had thin hair. The strange thing was that my hair was poker straight until I was 14, then it grew in curly and frizzy around the bald patch.

"I remember thinking I would never get married," said Falcone, who has an adrenal deficiency and polycystic ovarian syndrome that may have contributed to her condition. "I fantasized about a husband. I would wear my wig and take it off when I would go to bed."

She continued to lose hair through high school and into her 20s.

"A man can still look handsome without hair," she said. "But let's be honest. I looked like a 65-year-old man when I was 20-something years old. It was horrible. There is so much shame involved."

At 27, she had a hair transplant that she described as "a failure" because she had diffuse hair loss.

"Essentially, the surgery worked, but the hair around the transplant fell out," Falcone said.

By 32, she started wearing human hair pieces over the top of her hair.

"That was an epic failure, as well," she said. "It was very painful and expensive. I had to drive hours to the salon -- it wasn't working for me."

Falcone experimented with various cosmetic solutions, such as masking lotions and integrated and clip-on hairpieces. After much "trial and error," she said, she settled on bonded hair replacement systems as the solution.

These systems bond hair directly to the scalp with surgical adhesive and can be worn for 10 days.

"It's not going anywhere," she said. "I sleep in it and swim in it. I have a normal life."

Falcone began to meet other women online with the same struggle and wrote a blog that had 3,000 followers. Eventually, she partnered with hairdirect.com to bring educational materials to a larger audience.

She helped Lillian White restore her hair, and today White has the confidence to date and enjoy a full social life.

"My goal to help women focus on solution rather than problem," Falcone said. "I am trying to bust the stigma around it."

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