Following the recent events at the Oscars, there’s one news story making the headlines that is helping to shine a light on a condition that effects so many – Alopecia.
Hair loss in women is very common. A survey by NICE reported as many as 8 Million women in the UK are affected by some kind of hair loss. Shockingly 1 in 2 women will experience hair loss by the age 30, with 50% of women over age 65 suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia, Female Pattern Hair Loss, (FPHL).
Trichologist Eva Proudman MIT IAT and Eleanore Richardson MIT discuss their thoughts on Alopecia and hair loss conditions.
Eva Proudman MIT IAT says:
“I see people suffering from various types of Alopecia on a daily basis. There are some types of the condition that we can treat, meaning that the hair will recover, whereas other types are permanent and cannot be treated. So, it very much becomes our role to reassure and manage the expectations of our patients, whilst also seeking positive outcomes to this often very upsetting condition.”
“Hair loss isn’t just about the visual changes to your appearance – the psychological impact of losing your hair can run very deep into how an individual feels about their hair and themselves, so it affects their confidence, personality and perceived attractiveness.”
“Many people dealing with hair conditions such as Alopecia become what we call “hair aware”. They focus on their hair in minute detail and notice any small change, which can cause anxiety and can lead to them feeling isolated. Creating a supportive network is key, as is seeing a Trichologist. Without a doubt, the first step to coping with the mental trauma of hair loss is to get a confirmed diagnosis of exactly what the problem is and what the options are for treating it, managing it or covering it. Once you are in control of the situation, mentally it feels much better, and you know and understand what is happening. The fear that grips so many people is gone.”
Eleanore Richardson MIT comments:
“There is still a huge conversation to be had around hair loss in the black (particularly female) community. So frequently we are seeing black patients in our clinic coming in having felt dismissed or shamed by healthcare and the hair industry because it is assumed that they have brought their hair loss on themselves by the styling practices they use.
What is easy to forget is the societal pressure on them to change their hair from its natural appearance, the lack of education of many stylists to work with afro hair in a healthy way and the uncertainty of many health professionals diagnosing scalp conditions on darker skin types.”
“As a Trichologist the greatest gift I can offer my patients is my experience in diagnosing and treating scalp conditions (primarily on skin of colour) every day and understanding the care culture and pressures associated. We need to remove the taboo and get people talking openly about hair loss and accessing care sooner.”
It is clear from recent events that highlighting Alopecia as a distressing hair loss condition is important and understanding the support needed for those suffering and living with the condition.