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A fifth of women lose hair because of stress

There is nothing unusual about losing hair — we all shed an average of 100 hairs a day. Most of these, about 80 per cent, are lost when washing or brushing your hair; the rest will simply drift away throughout the day.

According to experts however, a fifth of women are losing their hair because of crash dieting, processed foods, increased stress and the Pill. Around 21 per cent in the UK are currently suffering from hair loss or thinning, while nine per cent have been affected in the past.

Hair and scalp expert, Philip Kingsley said almost 80 per cent of female clients attending his clinics in London and New York present him with this problem.

More than half of sufferers are between 54 to 64 years old, but one in eight are under 35, the survey of 2,000 women found.

As a result of their thinning hair, women said:

·      They withdrew from having photos taken (51 per cent)
·      Going to social events (47 per cent)
·      Meeting new people (40 per cent)

The condition made them feel:

·      Self-conscious (58 per cent)
·      Anxious (51 per cent)
·      Embarrassed (45 per cent)
·      Concerned (43 per cent)
·      Less confident (40 per cent)

Mr Kingsley said: “The percentage of women with hair thinning is much larger than is commonly thought, and many suffer in silence. Adverse changes in hormones affect the hair, but crash dieting, processed foods, increased day-to-day stress and certain oral contraceptive pills are also factors that play a role.”

In 2010 the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA) said that, “It is imperative for all women especially for those who have a history of hair loss in their family to be made aware of the potentially devastating effects of birth control pills on normal hair growth”.

Dr Lara Briden, a naturopath and hormone expert from Sensible-Alternative Hormone Clinic in Sydney, explained: “Birth control causes hair loss if it contains a progestin – a synthetic version of progesterone – with a high androgen [male hormone] index.This can be more or less testosterone-like depending on its molecular structure and that is called its androgen index.”

A 2014 L’Oreal survey of 2,000 adults found that a third of women polled said they had suffered hair thinning, with nearly three-quarters blaming life and work stress on the condition of their hair:

·      A sixth of women surveyed said they had experienced hair loss by their 30th birthday
·      While eight per cent said their locks had started to thin by the time they were 25
·      2.5 per cent had suffered hair thinning before their 20th birthday.
·      For British men hair loss set in at an average age of 38.
·      Two-thirds said they suffered thinning hair or baldness, with half blaming pressures from work or home.
·      Among both men and women, the condition was more prevalent among high-earners.
·      One in five high earning men and women on a salary of more than £75,000 a year blamed work stress for hair thinning, compared to just one in ten of those earning up to £15,000.

Adam Reed, a L’Oreal ambassador, said: “This research leaves little doubt that stress is currently the biggest factor facing women when it comes to their thinning hair.”

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