September 2021 - Alopecia & Mental Health Awareness Month
September is Alopecia and Mental Health Awareness Month - hear from Eva Proudman MIT IAT, Chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, about alopecia, its impact on mental health, and what can be done to tackle it.
Hello to all you Absoluters out there! September is the official start of autumn and also awareness month for both alopecia and mental health, so with that in mind I thought I would try to cover all three areas in this blog post.
Autumn Hair Care
As we move from the longer days into the shorter - and colder - days, our hair and scalp can suffer from the change.
Autumn often sees a flare up of scalp conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis and psoriasis, which is due to the change in the humidity and from us putting on the central heating and taking ourselves from cosy inside temperatures to chilly - and often damp - environments outside.
If your scalp becomes itchy or flaky, try increasing the frequency of washing to daily or every other day. Use a treatment shampoo with active ingredients such as piroctone olamine and cade oil. If you do this at the start of a scalp flare-up you can often keep it under control.
But if your scalp doesn’t settle, don’t worry! Make an appointment to see a Trichologist.
Often, a professional treatment by a Trichologist can really settle and clear the scalp so that you can then go on to manage it at home with the use of shampoos and a regular washing regime. Treatments take around an hour and really are worth the time to get instant relief from the itching and irritation.
The autumn months can, for some people, bring about an increase in hair shedding. The long sunny days of summer help to keep the hair in the growing phase for longer, but as the seasons change this hair moves into the resting and shedding stages, and can give an increase in hair shedding that is obvious when you shower and brush your hair. This is nothing to worry about and is not a hair loss condition; it usually settles after a couple of months as it is simply an adjustment of the normal hair growing and shedding cycle.
Alopecia Awareness Month
As a Trichologist I see people every day suffering from various types of alopecia. Some types are treatable and the hair can be recovered, while other types are permanent and cannot be treated, but there are ways to manage them.
Everyone who has a hair problem can become what we call “hair aware”. This means they focus on their hair in minute detail and become extremely aware of any small change, which can understandably cause anxiety and feelings of isolation.
It is really important to remember that a supportive network is essential in these situations. A support network can not only find options to help, but also to remind the person experiencing the hair issues that they are not alone. A good starting point is to suggest seeing a Trichologist.
As the Consultant Trichologist at Absolute Collagen I am always happy to receive emails from Absolute Collagen subscribers with a hair concern. I will always answer honestly and give you lots of information that will allow you to take control of your hair problems.
As individuals we all make different choices about what’s right for us. It’s vital that we understand that some people are happy to celebrate their hair loss, whereas others want to treat and retain their hair, or have access to the best cosmetic solutions possible.
So, during Alopecia Awareness Month, if a family member or friend confides in you about their hair concerns please take the time to listen and advise them to contact a professional, preferably a Trichologist. Help is out there and we can all do our part.
Mental Health Awareness Month
There is no doubt that our hair has a profound effect on self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Hair loss of any sort can affect everyone and the mental health effects on both men and women can be significant. You can read more about the different kinds of hair loss in my previous blog.
Hair loss isn’t just about the visual changes - it runs very deep into how an individual feels about their hair, which impacts their confidence, personality and feelings of attractiveness.
That’s why hair loss shouldn’t be thought of as just cosmetic. Often my patients tell me that they feel guilty about being so worried about their hair, and I always reassure them that there is no need to feel like this: our hair is an intrinsic part of our identity, and that’s totally ok!
I am really proud to be able to support and help every single one of my patients and to be part of the solution to improving their mental health.