The first thing to do is not to panic.
Anecdotally there seems to be an increase in hair loss in recent years, with increasingly younger people being affected for a range of reasons including diet and lifestyle.
There is an important link between hair and identity and people with severe hair loss are more likely to experience psychological distress. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent. For someone experiencing hair loss it can be difficult to work out which type of hair loss they are experiencing.
When someone experiences hair loss a range of responses are possible. Some will be devastated and others will stoically accept it.
- The first thing to work out is whether you are seeing more hair shedding than usual. You may have noticed more hair than usual on the pillow, on your clothes, in the plughole after washing. It is usual to use between 50-100 hairs per day There is usually more hair shedding in the autumn, but it fluctuates through the year.
- If you can get someone to look at your scalp get them to see whether there are areas of thin hair or no hair. If you are not able to do this, take pictures of the top view, side view and back view of your head with your hair parted in different places.
- Ask yourself whether there have been any significant changes to your usual habits, such as nutrition, medication, stress or hair care practices
- Have a look at photos taken within the last year or so to see whether there is a significant difference in the thickness of your hair.
- Check whether you have had other symptoms such as scaling or crust on the scalp, loss of hair on the eyebrow, armpit, body or any unusual skin problems.
- Consider whether there have been other changes in your health such as heavy periods, joint pains or tiredness.