What is hair loss?
- There are many reasons why people lose their hair.
- Hair loss doesn’t only affect men, but it is more common in men.
- It can be upsetting and difficult to lose your hair, but you’re not alone.
Hair loss is a common issue that affects millions of people. There are many reasons why people lose their hair, ranging from environmental and lifestyle factors to medical conditions. The most common type of hair loss in men is known as Male Pattern Hair Loss – a genetic condition passed down by biological parents and grandparents.
Our hair, and how we look, can have a huge impact on our identity, our confidence and how we feel. That’s why losing some, or all of it can be really difficult to deal with.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with their mental wellbeing because of hair loss, you can talk to someone about it. Contact the CALM helpline here.
How does losing your hair feel?
Hair is just dead skin cells. Weird. But as humans we’ve long used it to express ourselves. It’s something that’s tied to our perceptions of attractiveness and even success, so it makes sense that when your hair changes, it can make you feel a bit crap. Here’s some things you may be feeling if you’re experiencing hair loss.
- Lack of confidence
- No longer feel attractive
- Anxious about how people see you
- Worried about how much/quickly you’ll lose your hair
- Loss of identity
- Worries around finding a partner
Why do people lose their hair?
There are many reasons that someone may lose their hair, from genetics to medical or environmental conditions. The most common reason that men lose their hair is Male Pattern Baldness – a genetic condition that causes hair follicles to stop working (and growing). If you’re not sure why you’re losing your hair speak to your GP.
Other causes of hair loss include:
- Iron-deficiency (anaemia).
- Under active thyroid.
- Fungal scalp infection.
- Some prescribed medicines.
- Stress and conditions like Traction Alopecia where someone pulls their hair so much it breaks or comes out.
Where can I find help?
- Talk to CALM from 5pm to midnight everyday. Our professional helpline workers are there to talk about whatever is getting you down. Calls and webchats are free, anonymous, non-judgemental and confidential.
- Outside of these hours, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
- Contact your GP for an appointment.
- Self-refer yourself to NHS Psychological Therapies here.
Dealing with hair loss
Everyone who loses their hair feels differently about it. While some people think it’s best to embrace their hair loss, some investigate options like medication with their GP or private clinics, and others experiment with wigs or head coverings to create a new look. There’s no right way to deal with hair loss – you just need to find what works for you. The important thing to remember is that your hair does not define you, and that there’s nothing wrong with you.
You can find more about hair loss here.
Talking about hair loss
It can be difficult or embarrassing to talk about anxieties or worries around losing your hair with your friends, family or a medical professional. But if it’s causing you distress, it’s good to get how you feel in the open. Here’s some ways you can start a conversation:
“I need to talk to you about how I’m feeling. I feel really low because of the way my hair looks right now. I don’t need you to find a solution, I just want to share how I feel”
“I need to talk – I’ve been struggling with my confidence and don’t know how to feel better about myself”