- Over three million British women are living with some form of hair loss
- Diet, stress levels and appliances and extensions can all affect hair health
- There are simple ways that you can save your hair
From Prince William to Wayne Rooney, hair loss has long been seen as a male issue – but it’s rapidly on the rise among females.
An estimated three million British women are suffering from some kind of alopecia and one in three show signs of thinning hair.
Trichologist Iain Sallis, an expert in hair loss and scalp disorders, says that 80 per cent of the people who visit his clinics are now women, and celebrity hairdresser Daniel Galvin Junior admits that hair thinning is a huge issue with female clients at his Belgravia salon.
And although the problem – caused by everything from genetics to serious stress or too many extensions – can cause huge emotional impact, it is still seen as a taboo subject by most females.
Alopecia UK spokesperson and nurse, Jackie McKillop, says this is because society considers hair to be a hugely important part of how you look as a woman. She said: ‘Hair loss can affect your sensuality and how you perceive yourself. There are usually emotional trials and tribulations when it happens.’
So how can women tackle hair thinning without splurging on expensive treatments and supplements? FEMAIL spoke to an array of the best experts in the industry to find out.
WATCH OUT FOR THE WARNING SIGNS
Celebrity and royal hairdresser, Richard Ward, says there are warning signs to watch out for, and addressing these as quickly as possible will help minimise future hair damage.
‘The first indicator to thinning hair is breakage due to strong hair colour, over processing or abuse of heated appliances,’ he said.
‘If your hair is starting to burn or break then check on the products and ingredients in the colour that is being used on your hair. Go organic where you can.
‘If you’re still using heated appliances start using intensive conditioners to replenish the hair but also use a heat defence spray which will help protect.’
UPGRADE YOUR FRIDGE CONTENTS
Piia Toikka, general manager of hair health company Nanogen, explains how eating the right foods can lead to longer, healthier hair.
She said: ‘The healthier the scalp is the longer the hair will grow. It is all about keeping the hair follicles active that will then lengthen the period in the hair growth cycle, called anagen. The longer the anagen stage is, the longer the hair will grow. And you can lengthen the ‘anagen stage’ by eating certain foods.
‘Smoked salmon, avocado and bright berries are a good place to start. Anything rich in Vitamin B, that is the key.’
Research has shown that anything rich in Vitamin B (B3- niacin, B5 Pantothenic Acid, B9 and folic acid) has a major influence on the hair growth cycle.
Low iron levels are also known to limit hair growth, so make sure you’re getting your fill of dark, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach as well as seafood and red meat.
And Richard Ward suggests seeing a nutritionist, as simple changes can have big effects. He said: ‘Naturally, what we put in our bodies effects and reflects the way we feel and often a poor diet or a lack of vitamins or minerals in the blood can promote thinning hair.
‘A nutritionist can address these balances, and you’ll be surprised at how seemingly simple solutions can reverse the process.’
GET TO THE GYM
It might not be pretty, but sweating can help your hair stay in shape as it detoxes your scalp and system.
And try not to lather it all away. ‘Sweat is soluble, so it rinses out with water. You should wash your hair with shampoo a maximum of three times a week,’ says Adele’s stylist,Michael Ashton. ‘If you wash it too much you are causing more damage as it dries the hair out.’
Ashton also advocates a weekly treatment, advising: ‘Women should be doing a deep conditioning hair treatment once a week. Pop the treatment in your hair, clip it up and then wrap your hair in cling film.
‘The cling film traps the heat and opens up the hair cuticles letting the treatment go deep into your hair, you will notice an instant difference. Then for day-to-day styling, he loves the Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray to add lasting volume and texture to his clients’ hair.
EMBRACE YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Unless you are suffering from extreme hair loss (in which case Lucinda Ellery hair systems might be a good option for you) there are pros of having finer hair.
You can get away with shorter styles like pixie crops and shags, and you don’t need to worry about fighting with frizz.
As celebrity stylist George Northwood told Vogue recently: ‘Ultimately, learn to love your hair for what it is and play to your strengths.’
HOW TO COPE WITH HAIR LOSS
It’s important to address the psychological impact of hair loss. If you’ve lost your hair, even temporarily, life will be easier if you can accept what’s happened and learn to live with your altered appearance.
Jackie McKillop, Alopecia UK spokesperson and junior nursing sister at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said: ‘How well you cope with looking at yourself in the mirror depends on your coping strategies, personality, self-esteem and the support around you, so it’s really important to try to promote positivity in your life.’
Here are some useful self-help tips:
Join a support group: There are groups around the country where you can meet and socialise with other people with alopecia.
Go online: If you prefer to go online to talk to others, join Alopecia UK’s discussion forum.
Accept it: It’s not easy, but try to come to terms with your hair loss. One way to do this is to make a list of all your good qualities and focus your energy on celebrating these attributes.
Talk about it: Discuss your hair loss with your friends, family and loved ones, preferably early on. Let them know how you feel about it and what kind of support you need. If hair loss is affecting your relationship with your partner, going to therapy or couples counselling may help.
Cover up: Look into disguising and covering up your hair loss with things like wigs, hair extensions, scarves and make-up. Persevere until you find a product and style that suits you. If you have hair loss that you find difficult to cover up (around 50 per cent hair loss or more), or your hair loss is a result of cancer treatment, you could be eligible for a wig on the NHS.
Be patient: Many cases of hair loss in women are temporary. That said, regrowth is unpredictable and can take years. Remember that your new hair can be any texture and colour.
Taken from NHS.uk
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