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Who does hair loss mainly effect?

Hair loss can affect men, women and children of all ages; however, statistics show there are more women suffering with hair loss in the UK than men. 8 million women in the UK are currently suffering with loss according to the NHS, while there are 6.5 million men suffering with common forms of balding. This means that approximately 1 in 5 women over 25 experience hair loss or thinning and two thirds of all men will suffer with male pattern baldness.

For children, there isn’t any sufficient data to suggest how many suffer with hair loss problems, although we know it occurs and there are numerous conditions and causes. You can read our post on ‘Types of hair loss in children’ to understand better what they are.

Regardless of the gender or age category, there is enough data to suggest that depression from hair loss is seen in all 3; men, women and children. Let’s take a look at how hair loss impacts depression in women and how depression can trigger and lead onto hair loss.

Depression and hair loss in women

The British Medical Journal did a study that said “About 40% of women with alopecia have had marital problems as a consequence,” the authors of one study published “and about 63% claim to have had career-related problems.” These women are also more prone to anxiety and depression than women who don’t experience hair loss.

Another article by DermNet NZ says that “women who experience high levels of stress are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss than those who not report high levels of stress.

Healthline also did an article on a 2012 study which looked at 157 women to evaluate the links of depression in hair loss. This study shown that “Of the women interviewed, 54 percent said they experienced hair loss. While 29 percent of the women reported two or more symptoms of depression, 38 percent of the women experiencing hair loss also had at least two key depression symptoms:

a persistent low or sad mood

decreased interest and enjoyment of regular activities and daily life

fatigue and low energy”

The conclusion of the study didn’t “determine that depression actually caused the hair loss, however the researchers didn’t rule out all possible medical causes of hair loss. Still, the results suggested that changes in mood, such as depression, may be linked to hair loss.”

Looking at the variety of data and studies carried out, we can clearly see a link between depression and hair loss. We can suggest that hair loss can lead onto depression and the more serve the hair loss is the greater the depression can be. While hair loss can cause depression, depression can also cause the hair to fall out or thin.

What can trigger the stress and depression that leads onto hair loss in women?

The first study we looked at by the British Medical Journal identified that 63% of women claimed career related issues and 40% of women suffering with alopecia claimed to have gone through martial issues. There are also more stress related issues that can be a cause such as:

  • death of a loved one
  • relationship or family problems
  • chronic or serious health conditions
  • Busy lifestyle – work, children, household chores
  • Childbirth
  • Medications – antidepressants

Any of the above can trigger depression and anxiety which can sadly lead to your hair thinning or falling out. I myself have lost two loved one’s last year and clumps of my hair was falling out every time I washed it. I was beginning to panic which didn’t help and it ultimately led to more stress, causing further hair loss.

After a few months, I noticed my hair had stopped shedding, although it doesn’t feel as thick as it once did, I’m happy it’s not getting predominantly worse. I haven’t taken any medication or been diagnosed by a doctor but the fact it stopped, I would presume it was stress and trauma related rather than a condition or illness.

One of my best friends suffers with on-going hair loss, it occurs every time she has to study for an exam. She goes through weeks of studying and with her hair falling out alongside that makes her feel depressed and miserable. As her hair hasn’t grown back to its full volume and it keeps happening as a result of stress from exams, she’s bought herself some clip-in extensions that she wears every time she goes out.

For me, I started healthy eating: fruit for breakfast and salads for lunch, yoga in a morning and constant self-reassurance. It’s very hard to do when you’re in a certain mind frame, to pull yourself out of it and just be happy but with the right people around you who can support and guide you, you’ll be on the right track to a positive mind-set. Sometimes a change in lifestyle is all you need to feel different and less stressed which can then heal you from the trauma you endured and with time your hair will stop falling out altogether.

Ways to treat depression from hair loss

Whether your hair loss was a direct cause from depression and stress or the hair loss came first, depression and psychological effects are very real and serious. If left these emotions can spiral out of control and take over our lives. There are a number of things you can do to help yourself heal from the trauma and the worry of your hair loss; you could try the following steps:

  • Go to see your GP – your GP can help to determine the cause of hair loss, which could be alopecia, stress-related, medications you’re taking, genetics or age. Once they understand what the cause is they can suggest a ‘solution’ if possible, which could be new medications or hair treatments. They will also tell you whether or not your hair will grow back, in some cases sadly it’s not possible. This can become difficult for the patient to grasp that the loss is permanent so instead of finding a solution they need to learn how to overcome the psychological effects. Your GP should be able to refer you to a therapist who can help you to overcome these emotions to help you live with the situation.
  • Therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or support groups – this can help as I just mentioned above. The therapy will help the patient to learn how to live with the loss and general issues of coping with hair loss rather than on specific psychological treatment strategies. The support groups will provide confidence and reassurance that others are going through the same thing and you are not alone.
  • Antidepressants – You will need to speak to your GP who can say whether or not it’s necessary. In some cases, certain brands of antidepressants have been known to cause further hair loss so it’s very important to discuss this with the Doctor.
  • Talk to your friends and family – they will be your biggest support and rock through all your emotional conflicts, but only if you tell them. They will offer their support and will most likely attend support groups and therapy with you. A saying my mother use to tell me is “a problem shared is a problem halved”, basically just sharing the problem you’re going through can feel like a weight lifted off your chest and a step in the right direction.
  • Remind yourself it might not be forever – depending on the cause of your hair loss i.e., Telogen effluvium which is trauma related, your hair is likely to grow back in 6 months to a year. Likewise, if you have lost hair due to chemo and radiation therapy, it will grow back once the treatment has finished. Try and keep reassuring yourself of this, after all our minds can trick us and get the better of us, ‘what we think we become’ – although in our minds, our versions of reality can be quite different from other peoples. You might feel like your hair loss looks horrendous, while to someone else they can barely notice. Our realities and perceptions are always different but if you don’t feel ok on inside regardless of how it appears to anyone else, speak up and get help.
  • Look for trust worthy solutions – if sadly your hair loss is permanent and you’ve tried numerous medications and ointments, then you may want to consider looking for an alternative solution. One that doesn’t cure the hair loss but conceals it for you such as a wig or hair transplant.
  • Follow supportive influencers and bloggers online – People who suffer with the same issues as you can be a breath of fresh air in the respect that they understand how you feel and what you’re going through. These people can shift your mood and give you the motivation you need to carry on, they’ll have good advice and tips on how they dealt and got through it themselves. – Stay posted for our next blog which will feature the best influencers on Instagram we could find who suffer with hair loss for you to follow and get support.

The above suggestions may or may not help you personally but they’re steps you can take to try and combat your depression from hair loss. It’s quite certain that the experience of hair loss can have physiological damage on your mental health and personal issues such as relationships, the loss of a loved one and work-related problems can all lead to hair loss. If you’re currently suffering with hair loss and it’s making you feel depressed, talk to someone, whether that be your GP, a therapist or your friends and family. They can help support you in your journey so you don’t feel alone. It’s important to get help from professionals as they will refer you to the right people and provide a diagnosis of the cause which will identify the right solutions to combat it or prevent further loss.

Consult with Baguley’s of Cheshire

Children's wigs by Chris Baguley

Although we cannot offer therapy or medications to treat hair loss and depression, our services are for those who wish to conceal their issues. Our wigs for women can be a temporary solution if you are having ongoing treatment, or they can a permanent one where you can visit us as many times as you like to re-style your bespoke wig. All our wigs are handmade using the highest quality human hair and lace and we’re able to combine different tones and colours to match on your own hair. We’re also here for a friendly chat, we can give you advice on our wigs and hairpieces and discuss your situation with you, get in touch anytime you’re ready, we’re here for you.