THOUSANDS of Brits are losing their jobs AND their hair. Money worries and anxiety during the recession are leading to an increased rate in hair loss in the UK.
A huge 41 per cent have lost their locks or are suffering from thinning hair, according to new research.
Trichologist Trisha Buller says: “A lot of it is to do with the environment and the pressures we are all under today.
“It is very difficult to reduce stress in this day and age. We have to go to work and, for many people, the recession has made work very demanding. There is a lot of anxiety because of the economic climate.”
A cold and sleep deprivation can lead to shedding too, as can over-styling with straighteners and hair products.
Here, we speak to three people who have suffered from hair loss. Plus, Trisha gives us her top tips for luscious locks.
Joanna Wojick, from Hatfield, Herts, is the manager of a cleaning company. She has stress-related alopecia. The 28-year-old says:
“Two years ago I was going through a period of intense stress. I was having problems with my partner and I couldn’t find work so money was tight.
Normally I am a very bubbly, extrovert person but I was really stressed and unhappy.
I began to notice that my hair was falling out. If I touched it or shook my head there would be a fine mist of hair. Occasionally it would come out in clumps. It came out when I washed my hair and my pillow would be covered in hair in the morning. I ended up with very defined bald patches, which was absolutely horrible.
I didn’t want to go out and see my friends. I stayed in the house as I was so embarrassed and upset about my hair loss. I had no idea that stress could make your hair fall out like this. It really dents your confidence.
I have been told my hair is very unlikely to grow back. I have invested around £1,300 in an artificial hair system with a company called Hair Solved. Attachments of real hair, shaded carefully to look like my hair, are woven to my head using a form of mesh. It’s very secure and I don’t worry about going out in a high wind and I can wash it normally.
I have tried wigs and they were awful. I felt that people were staring at me in the street.
Baldness really affects you psychologically. I felt so awful about myself when I had the terrible bald patches on my head.
Now I am back to my usual cheerful self and I am happy to go out with my friends. The problematic relationship ended and I am happily single.”
Adrian Goulden, 53, married to Collette, 45, runs a hairdressers in Lowestoft, Suffolk. When his last business failed he became bankrupt. He says:
“In 2009 everything in our lives was going so well. We lived in a five-bed barn conversion and I ran a hair-dressing business employing 35 staff.
I’d put my life savings into the business but then our client base fell because of the recession – and then our landlord put up the rent.
Our business went to the wall and over the next two years my life fell apart.
I was made bankrupt so we lost our beautiful home.
Overall I lost more than £250,000. The stress was unbelievable – I only got through it because of the support of my wife, Collette.
After my business started to fail I began waking up to find clumps of hair on my pillow.
Having a shower, I noticed the drain was clogged with hair – clumps of it were coming out.
Previously I’d been proud to have a full head of light brown hair and I realised it was falling out because of the stress of losing my business. This wasn’t normal hair loss – it was so sudden and dramatic – and it became extremely noticeable.
I was embarrassed about it. I do think that a man’s virility is linked to his hair as I noticed a loss of libido, too. I was taking anti-depressants.
My hair thinned at the crown and my formerly low hairline on my forehead began to dramatically recede.
One friend said to me, rather cruelly, ‘How is the leukaemia therapy going?’ because my hair was so thin.
I could have gone for the buzz cut, like a lot of men do, but instead I have chosen to grow it a bit longer and try to hide how thin it is. I’m not going to go for the comb over, though.
I’m speaking out about this as I think many others are going through it, worrying about the double-dip recession.
Men don’t like to admit it but losing their hair threatens their masculinity.
A lot of guys will be suffering and feeling isolated, as it affects us deeply – though we may pretend it doesn’t.
I do think that going bald makes you feel less of a man.”
Kerrie Boardman, 30, an IT sales executive from Swindon, Wilts, suffered hair loss in her twenties, following the sudden death of her mother. She says:
“My mum and dad separated when I was 18 so I moved from Manchester, where I’d been to school, to live with my mum, Pam.
I’d got on an art course at Swindon College so I could be closer to her. But after a few months, out of the blue, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the brain and was told she had just six months to live.
Almost overnight my world fell to pieces – when she died I felt so alone. I had to give up my course and my part-time hotel job became full-time because I had to pay all the bills.
Mum’s death made me anxious and stressed. Then, when I was 22, my fiancé of five years and I split up. The stress affected me physically, too – I developed the skin condition psoriasis and lost confidence.
Then, about three years ago, I noticed my hair was thinning on top. I went to see my GP who said that, like the psoriasis, it was related to stress and there was nothing he or I could do.
Whenever I was invited out by my friends I’d decline because I felt so unattractive.
Then, about two years ago, I broke down crying in front of my hairdresser. She recommended the supplement Viviscal, which claims to naturally thicken and strengthen hair by nourishing the follicles, so I bought some.
Slowly my hair did thicken – and my anxiety disappeared. I’ve started going out with my friends again and life really is on the up.
The best thing is having my confidence back and being the happy Kerrie again.”
8 tips for a healthy crown
GO FOR THE CHOP: First and foremost, the secret to long, thick healthy hair is strong hair. Trim off any split ends you may have.
No matter what a product claims, nothing will repair split ends except a trim. If split ends are left uncut, they will continue to split up the shaft and damage more of your hair. Get rid of them to keep the damage to a minimum.
WASH DAILY: You should wash your barnet every day. This keeps the scalp clean and creates a healthier environment for your hair to grow.
COLD RINSE: If you use cooler water to wash and rinse your hair it closes up the hair cuticles, locking in moisture which creates amazing shine and softness.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BRUSH: Never brush hair when it is still wet as this will create breakage. Use a wide-toothed comb and brush from the ends up to the top.
You can also buy detangler sprays to help keep hair knot-free. Buy a new brush every now and then, too. It should have all the teeth. If there are some missing it can lead to damage.
DRY NATURALLY: It’s best to let your hair dry on its own. If you do need heat make sure you use a heat-protection spray first. If you don’t, it’s like putting an iron straight on to your skin.
SUN PROTECTION: We all think about our skin in the sun but lots of us forget about our hair. When you expose your hair to the sun it can dry the outside layer removing moisture making it look dull.
You can buy products now that have UVA and UVB filters to protect the hair from the sun and the sea if you go swimming. Some people think a hat is enough but it’s not.
EAT WELL: Your nutrition is essential in making your hair look young and vibrant. Eat plenty of protein – milk, fish, nuts and eggs – and essential fatty acids, which are found in olive oil and walnuts.
GET HELP: You need to see a registered consultant trichologist. Make sure you don’t see someone who has only had four days of training and calls themselves a “hair doctor”.