‘People thought I unwell and lost my hair having chemotherapy but it was stress’
30th September 2022

A good hair day can do the world of good for your confidence – it's why so many of us blubber like babies after a bad trip to the hairdressers.

We've survived a really stressful and difficult few years through the pandemic, and sadly that has had a knock-on effect on millions of women’s health.

For the first time ever, more women are suffering hair loss and thinning hair than men.

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A study by hair supplement brand Hair Gain revealed that 75% of women have suffered from hair thinning and hair loss compared – and it’s happening as young as in your 20s.

One NHS worker revealed hair loss became so excessive that people thought she was seriously ill and undergoing chemotherapy.

Ashleigh Barned, from Manchester, suffered stress-related hair loss during the pandemic.

The 36-year-old, who works as an NHS mental health nurse, said work-related stress combined with the breakdown of a relationship and trying to buy a house took its toll on her.

It got so severe that people began assuming she was seriously ill and losing her hair through treatment such as chemotherapy.

Ashleigh said: "My hair just kept falling out. People started assuming I was seriously unwell and had lost my hair having chemotherapy.

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“I tried everything and spent hundreds of pounds buying specialist shampoos, ointments, stimulating sprays and hair treatments. I even shipped one over from America.

“I would always give things ten weeks to three months to work and if I didn’t notice the difference I’d move on to something else.”

Katy Hickey, a charity youth worker from London, experienced a similar situation.

She noticed a ‘big bald patch’ near her crown and believes it was caused by the stress of being made redundant and starting a new role.

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The 30-year-old said: “At the beginning of this year, I looked in the mirror and could see a lot of big bald patches on the crown of my head, and I was beside myself.

“You couldn’t see the hair loss from the front but from the top, you could see it was nearly totally bald and the scalp was totally dry.

“So I had a consultation with a dermatologist in March and they said it was Female Pattern Baldness.

“I took them because I’d read that they had worked for Tyla Carr from Love Island. It took nearly three months for me to see a big difference”.

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Hair Gain Founder Lucy Palmer said: "The results of our survey are shocking and show that there is a major women's hair loss epidemic happening right now in the UK.

"During the two years of the Covid pandemic, we saw a big increase in interest from female customers asking us what they could do to stop their hair from thinning. Not only was there a greater number of enquiries but we noticed that many younger women in their 20s and 30s were asking for help, which was unusual, so we decided to commission this survey to investigate exactly what was happening.

"The hair loss epidemic has dealt a devastating blow to women's confidence and self-esteem, and the increased stress from losing their hair is causing a vicious circle. The effects of hair loss on women's lifestyles are almost wholly negative, they are less likely to go out, they lose their confidence and some feel it has blighted their love life.

"Many women have come to us desperate for a solution to their hair thinning and it's heartbreaking to hear their stories.”


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