Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Am I Bald?

a too-tight ponytail is one villainQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Am I bald?

Signed,
Claudia

A Dear Claudia:

Well, sweetie, it’s kinda hard for me to tell via email. But here are some thoughts about baldness from a delightful little book calledYour Hairdo, written by Elaine Budd. And if you are not bald yet, her words should help you avoid such a catastrophe!

1966: Fallout and Baldness

Normal Fallout. You normally lose between fifty and a hundred hairs per day ~ perhaps even more in spring and autumn when you, like most creatures, have a “moulting season.” Often a new hair grows in when the old one falls out, but sometimes follicles become dormant and rest for a few years. Other follicles are meanwhile reawakening, so in normal circumstances the number of hairs on your head remains about the same.

Sudden Fallout. The Problem ~ There are also certain “abnormal” normal reasons for hair fall. After certain diseases ~ especially if you’ve run a high fever or if your body is generally run down ~ hair fall may be higher than usual, possible resulting in baldness.

The Solution ~ This type of baldness, called post-infection alopecia is generally temporary; hair growth will go back to its normal rate when your body is up to par again.

Patchy Baldness. The Problem ~ Another type of “abnormal” normal hair fall is alopecia areata, or patchy baldness. Hair loss here is in localized patches in different areas of the scalp. Many young girls complain of this condition. One of the causes is physical ~ the destruction of hair by actually pulling it out. A too-tight ponytail is one villain; the same hair style worn week in, week out, without even changing the part, is another. Stretching the hair on rollers tightly in the same place every night is also destructive.

The Solution ~ To avoid this sort of hair loss, follow these general rules:

1. Avoid tight headbands, tight hats, a tight hairdo that skins hair back from the head.
2. Keep changing position of part, ponytail rubber bands.
3. Keep hair clean ~ excess oil can act as a depilatory.
4. Massage scalp gently each night.
5. Avoid too-strenuous brushing.
6. Don’t roll hair tightly on rollers, and do vary their position.
7. Avoid overfrequent permanents.
8. Eat a balanced diet.
9. Get enough sleep and exercise.

Source: Budd, Elaine. Your Hairdo. New York: Scholastic Books Services, 1966.
~ pp. 84-86 ~

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