How painful is living with hair loss? About 60% of hair loss sufferers say they would rather have more hair than more money or more friends.
Hair loss is a common condition among millions of Americans, primarily men over the age of 30. But while hair loss is a fact of life for many aging men, it can suddenly affect women, too. In fact, 21 million American women are suffering from some form of hair loss, and they’re starting to speak up about it more.
One of the women speaking out, Lauren Engle, was 28 when she first noticed her hair starting to fall out and her hairs getting thinner. She’s just one of the millions that are suffering from female hair loss, either from age, genetics or from alopecia areata, female pattern baldness.
“There’s tons of us out there, but it’s not spoken about,” Engle, now 35, writes about her experience in the Corner of Hope and Mane blog.
“It’s really sad for women. Their hair is oftentimes their crowning glory. That’s what we do to make ourselves look different, feel beautiful … Everything in the media is always women with long, flowing hair and we don’t have that, so there’s a lot of shame,” Engle said.
While there are many causes, the big culprit for non-chemotherapy hair loss in women is alopecia areata, says Dr. Marc Glashofer, a hair loss expert with the Dermatology Group in West Orange, New Jersey. Its an auto-immune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells instead of bacteria and viruses. In the specific case of alopecia areata, it attacks the hair cells.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, almost seven million individuals in the U.S. have or will develop the condition.
“For a man to have a bald head or even a shaved head, it’s so common. For women, there’s still a lot of social stigma to it and it’s tougher to accomplish that confidently,” Glashofer said. “Both genders can get Alopecia Areata, though it’s a bit more common in women. The trigger is a mystery.”
The article by Today is full of stories from women that are suffering from hair loss in some way or form, and from a variety of causes. Currently, there is no cure for the condition, though there are treatments that have been devised.