How to Cope with Medical Hair Loss
Losing your hair can be a frustrating and depressing experience. Though it is more common in men, women also suffer from thinning hair and balding; the condition affects approximately 40% of the population.
Hair loss occurs when hair follicles become damaged and stop producing new hair cells. The causes are varied and include genetics, diet, certain medications, stress, hormonal fluctuations, cancer treatment, trichotillomania, and physical trauma.
The condition can have a significant impact on self-esteem and mental wellbeing, leading to anxiety and depression. Despite this, many sufferers of medical hair loss don’t seek help as they feel there is nothing that can be done to slow down or stop the process. In fact, there are several treatments available that can either prolong hair growth or stimulate regrowth; these include medications that increase blood flow to the scalp to stimulate hair follicles; steroid injections directly into the scalp which encourage hair growth; laser therapy which has been shown to promote growth; and surgeries such as scalp reduction surgery where sections of bald skin are removed from the scalp.
Coping Strategies to Help Deal With Hair Loss
No matter what you decide to do, the key is to focus on finding coping strategies that allow you to feel more comfortable. These include:
Accepting that it's happening
Hair loss can be difficult to come to terms with at first. Accepting that it's happening can help you take the next step toward finding solutions.
Talking to your Hairstylist
Getting professional advice on shaving your head, wearing hats, investing in a wig, hair extensions, or hair topper, and finding new ways to style your hair can go a long way in helping with both short term and long term hair loss.
Speak to a certified hair loss/integration specialist
Not all programs are created equal; our unique Hair in Recovery program offers human hair extensions application specifically designed for people who’ve lost their hair as a side effect of chemotherapy, have androgenetic hair loss or fine thinning hair.
Exploring potential causes
If you're experiencing hair loss suddenly or at an unusually early age, it's worth exploring whether underlying medical issues are contributing to your hair loss.
Talking about it
Talking about your feelings regarding your hair loss can help you feel better and may also help others better understand why certain responses aren't helpful (e.g. "just get over it”).
It can take a few months for hair loss to resolve itself, and even longer for treatment to show results. In addition, choosing, ordering, and fitting wigs and hair extensions can take time as well.
As with any challenging situation in life, it’s important to take time and think about how you want to feel and how you want to handle your hair loss. There is no wrong way.
For further support, many charities including Alopecia UK, are available to help improve the lives of those suffering from hair loss.