Millions of Britons suffering from hair loss say their condition has left them feeling suicidal.
Alarming new research has revealed that one in five men and one in 20 women considered ending their life because of thinning or receding hair.
The survey also found that half of adults with hair loss experienced mental health problems, with 30 per cent feeling depressed and 27 per cent experiencing anxiety.
While women were more likely to feel depressed (39 per cent, compared to 25 per cent of men) or anxious (33 per cent compared to 24 per cent of men), men were more likely to say they felt suicidal (19 per cent vs 6 per cent).
‘Hair loss for men or women can be devastating,’ says Simon Lane, co-founder of Brandwood Clinic, which commissioned the research.
‘Many people think it’s superficial, or something to joke about, but we live in an increasingly image-based society and it directly affects people’s confidence.
‘We often see people whose lives are consumed by their hair loss, they won’t leave the house without a cap or very careful and time-consuming preparation. They exclude themselves from many social occasions.
‘It dominates their thinking and destroys their self-esteem. We frequently hear from men and women who have considered suicide.
‘Men feel old before their time and women – who are increasingly suffering hair loss and thinning at a younger age – say they feel unattractive and worthless’.
On average, the Brandwood study also found that people who experience hair loss think about it four times a day.
Many reported feeling ‘hopeless’, ‘always conscious about their appearance’ and feeling older than they actually were.
The survey also highlights the dramatic effect hair loss can have on sex lives and relationships.
Just under half of men and women questioned (46 per cent) said it had negatively impacted their sex life, with 21 per cent saying it had affected their confidence in the bedroom and 18 per cent reporting a loss of libido.
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said it had affected their confidence in meeting a new partner, with 30 per cent saying they felt people found them less attractive since losing their hair.
Many women said they felt less feminine, with some fearing their partner would leave them because of their thinning hair.
Meanwhile, nearly half (40 per cent) of those surveyed have stopped wanting to socialise because of their hair loss.
Among the younger age groups, this figure was even higher, with 68 per cent of people aged 25-34 and 63 per cent of those aged 35-44s saying their hair loss made them less keen to go out.
Men in particular also felt their hair loss had held them back in the workplace, with nearly 30 per cent admitting to this and 17 per cent – nearly one in five – saying it prevented them from applying for a promotion or new job.
We commissioned this research for Hair Loss Awareness Month to develop a greater understanding of the emotional issues involved for many people. We are dedicated to improving people’s lives by using SMP (scalp micropigmentation) which can provide an instant solution.
‘The change we see in clients’ confidence after a scalp micropigmentation treatment is quite incredible,’ says Simon Lane.
‘This is particularly relevant given that a worrying 60 per cent of people surveyed said they’d experienced negative side effects from traditional hair loss treatments,’ he added.
A quarter of men and women polled also said they have suffered burning of the scalp and skin rash or irritation – and a worrying 20 per cent had experienced further hair loss due to using creams and lotions. Others reported being made violently ill by the treatments.
Among men, 15 per cent had experienced erectile dysfunction after taking hormonal treatments for hair loss.
The survey also revealed that on average, Britons spend £3,768 on hair loss treatments a year. This includes products such as creams and hair growth shampoos and also hair transplants and spending ‘thousands on botched wigs’.
Young adults spend the most on treatments for hair loss, averaging at £6,748 annually for 25-34-year-olds, compared to £1,541 among 55-64-year-olds.
Geographically, people in London and the North East spent the most on hair loss remedies, the survey found.
© Brandwood Clinic 2018
For confidential support during times of emotional distress, contact the Samaritans: www.samaritans.org