The stresses of modern life have left one in three women over the age of 25 suffering from hair loss, research has revealed.
Experts believe a major cause is society’s obsession with being thin.
This leads women to eat less as they try to imitate the skinny frames of celebrities, which means they are not getting enough nutrients which, in turn, is causing their hair to thin or even fall out.
A survey found that 37 per cent of women have experienced hair loss to some degree, with serious thinning a problem for 4.8million women in the UK.
Researchers argue that because the phenomenon is regarded as something that happens only to women in old age, the hair loss itself is adding to stress levels, accelerating the process.
Almost all of the 3,000 women aged 25 and over who were polled said they would be ashamed to say they were losing their hair.
A third of the women said hair loss made them depressed, while a quarter said their personal lives had been affected.
Trichologist Sara Allison said: ‘We are all leading more emotionally stressful lives and are more nutritionally deficient than previous generations.
‘The pressure on women to stay thin often means that they simply don’t eat enough to get all the nutrients or they are not eating the right foods.
‘Hair is essentially the least important tissue of your body; therefore, your hair only receives nutrients if there are any remaining in the body after your vital organs have taken what they need.’
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist, said: ‘In Western culture, hair is bound up in notions of femininity, youth and sexual attractiveness.
‘Because a woman’s hair plays a big part in value judgments made about youth and attractiveness, the experience of thinning hair is bound to be anxiety provoking.’
In some cases there are medical causes of hair loss, such as chemotherapy. Women are also more likely to lose hair after pregnancy and during menopause, although it grows back.
But there are conditions where the loss can be permanent, such as alopecia, in which the immune system attacks hair follicles.
The survey was commissioned by vitamin supplement specialists Vitabiotics Wellwoman Tricologic.
I’M ONLY 30… I’M SCARED I’LL GO COMPLETELY BALD
Paula Smith is only 30, but is already suffering from extreme hair loss.
She said: ‘I lose so much hair andfuls of it every day. If I sit on the sofa and get up then I leave clumps behind and I clog up the bath.
‘I have had to restyle my hair to cover up the bald patches and I can’t wear my hair up any more.
Paula Smith blames her hair loss on her post-pregnancy diet
‘It’s got to the point where I feel so self-conscious that I have stopped going out with my friends as I am sure people can notice it.
‘My confidence is very low and it seeps into every other bit of my life. My big fear is that I will go completely bald. My hairdresser has restyled my hair to cover up the problem but if things deteriorate I will have to go to the GP.’
The assistant Post Office manager, who lives with her partner Sean Juliano and their three children in Hertfordshire, blames her hair loss on the pressure to lose weight after the birth of her youngest seven months ago.
She said: ‘I felt pressured after seeing celebrities get back into shape within months of giving birth.
‘My diet suffered and that must have contributed to my Paula Smith: Post-pregnancy diet hair loss.’
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on Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 4:10 pm and is filed under FEMALE HAIR LOSS.
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