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Facts and Statistics about Hair Loss in the UK

Hair loss is more common than you think! Check out these facts and statistics about hair loss in the UK for proof. We have created a separate resource for hair transplant statistics in 2022.
 

Key facts about hair loss and hair restoration treatment

  • 85% of men will be affected by hair loss at some point in their lives
  • Genetics is the biggest cause of hair loss, but diet, stress, lifestyle, and illness can also play a part
  • Smoking more than doubles the likelihood of experiencing hair loss
  • Women who lead stressful lives are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss
  • 40% of women with alopecia have had marital problems as a consequence, and about 63% claim to have had career related problems

We shed around 100 hairs a day

Believe it or not both men and women shed around 100 hairs in a single day [1]. Most hair (about 80% of your daily shedding total) falls out as a result of washing or brushing the hair. It’s perfectly normal to lose all of these hairs, so don’t panic. Most people grow more hair than they shed.

8 million women in the UK experience hair loss

According to the NHS, 8 million women in the UK experience hair loss or alopecia. Harvard Health Publishing estimates around a third of women will be affected at some point in their lives [2]. Female hair loss can lead to stress and psychological problems, including poor self-esteem and heightened self-consciousness. Women with high stress levels are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss [3].

40% of women with alopecia have had marital problems as a consequence, and about 63% claim to have had career related problems [3]

Male pattern baldness affects around 85% of all men

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. It affects around 85% of men by the age of 50 and usually starts around the late twenties and early thirties [4]. However, it can also begin in your teens through to your mid 20s.

Male pattern baldness generally results in a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. In some cases it progresses to complete baldness. The condition is hereditary and thought to be caused by oversensitive hair follicles that react to a by-product of the hormone testosterone, known as DHT.

Alopecia Areata affects 2 people in every 1000 in the UK

Alopecia Areata causes bald patches on the scalp, around the size of a large coin. In most cases, the hair grows back within a few months. However it sometimes grows back fine and white first before returning to its normal state.

Some people go on to develop more severe forms of hair loss. One of these is Alopecia Totalis, which means no scalp hair. The other is Alopecia Universalis, which is no hair on the scalp or body.

The condition is caused by a problem with the immune system and is common among people who have other conditions such as hyperthyroidism, Down’s syndrome and type 1 diabetes [5].

Hair loss can happen at any point, although it is most common in people aged 15 – 29.

This condition can cause severe emotional distress. An Alopecia UK study reports that alopecia areata causes dramatic and devastating emotions in patients, which can negatively impact their self-esteem, body image and self-confidence [6].

Vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss

A deficiency in important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron can lead to hair loss. This is because they affect the growth cycle and prematurely shift hairs into the shedding stage. Over-exercising, fad diets, illness and surgery can all cause vitamin deficiencies and lead to hair loss [7]. Vitamin infusion therapy is often recommended for people experiencing this kind of hair loss.

Read our complete guide to hair supplements to learn which vitamins are good for hair growth.

Illness can cause hair loss

A number of illnesses can also trigger hair loss including scalp ringworm, psoriasis and eczema. Scalp ringworm is a fungal infection that is usually passed on by sharing towels, brushes or sheets. It can cause bald, scaly patches but is easily treated with oral medication and a medicated shampoo.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that can cause scaly, itchy patches, in addition to hair loss. This is treated using a process of descaling. Steroids are often required to reduce inflammation.

Autoimmune conditions such as lupus and type 1 diabetes can also lead to hair loss. This happens when your white blood cells begin to attack healthy cells in the body, including hair follicles.

Whilst hair loss isn’t directly caused by eczema and conditions like dermatitis, the itchiness can cause people to scratch their heads excessively, causing damage and breakage to the hair.

Mistreating your hair can lead to hair loss

Although it’s unlikely to cause permanent hair loss, overworking your hair can make it weak and more likely to break. Processes that can lead to temporary hair loss include aggressive brushing, backcombing, straightening and using hair dye.

35 Million Men and 21 Million Women Suffer From Alopecia Or Hair Loss Worldwide

Hair loss is widespread among men and women. Although it is usually associated with men, women can experience it too. Hair loss can be highly distressing for all genders, and many seek a solution.

More Than 50% Of Women Experience Hair Loss Post Menopause 

Women will inevitably go through menopause in their lifetime, and this process will cause various changes in their organism. Menopause tends to affect women over 50, although younger women can also experience it.

Menopause can affect hair too. Some women may experience growth in new places, and others notice thinning. All in all, more than 50% experience hair loss after going through menopause. [8]

Hair loss is most likely caused by the changing levels of hormones. Hair might become finer due to hair follicles shrinking and hair growing more slowly. As a result, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help reduce hair loss.

It is unclear whether the loss of hair is permanent. Some may experience it shortly with later regrowth, and others may find they lose their hair completely. In any case, sufferers should contact their doctor to discuss their options.

Childbirth can have a similar effect on hair due to the hormonal changes mothers go through. 

Smoking more than doubles the likelihood of experiencing hair loss

We all have our bad habits or vices. Some smoke, some drink, and some overeat junk food. But did you know such habits like smoking can affect your hair?

With over 78,000 people in the UK dying from smoking annually, it is clear that it hurts your health. Premature hair loss also seems to be one of the lesser-known side effects [9].

This is because tobacco and its chemicals can damage hair follicles and prevent growth. Many studies were conducted to determine the extent of the negative effect of smoking, and several of them suggest hair loss is one of them.

One of the most notable studies, conducted in 2020, found that 425 out of 500 smokers were experiencing some hair loss. On the other hand, only 200 of 500 non-smokers were affected by hair loss.

Many experts believe that the nicotine and chemicals found inside cigarettes are the cause, but more research is needed. Researchers did find, however, that 47% of smokers tested had noticeable receding hairlines. 24% were experiencing balding at their vertex, but only 10% of non-smokers had reached this level of hair loss.

Wearing Hats Does Not Cause Baldness!

There are many myths when it comes to hair loss. Contrary to popular belief, wearing hats does not cause baldness, even if you wear them all the time. People believe scalps need to breathe and that hats limit this. This is an untrue claim as our hair follicles take oxygen from our bloodstream, not the air.

The same can be said for the suggestion that only older people suffer from baldness. If you have a genetic predisposition, then it could happen at any age! 

Frequent Shampooing Does Not Cause Hair Loss

When people notice their hair thinning, they pay more attention to what they do daily. We lose up to 100 hairs per day, many when washing our hair. People notice this and then believe shampooing to be the cause – even though losing hair daily is entirely normal!

50% Of Your Hair Might Be Lost Before You Even Notice You Are Losing It

This is quite a shocking figure, but many people miss the early signs of hair loss. Many of these don’t notice until half of their hair is lost. [10]

A recession of the hairline or loss of hair at the crown is something to look out for. If the hairs look shorter or wispier, you might lose hair. Over time, those follicles will stop producing new hairs. It would be best to act as soon as you notice a difference.

A receding hairline will appear uneven at first but will then develop into an ‘M’ shape. Those suffering may find themselves left with a widow’s peak. 

A bald spot on the crown may be harder to spot by yourself but may be spotted by a loved one or in the mirror. If you are unsure if you are balding in that area, ask a loved one what they can see.

60% of hair loss sufferers would rather have their hair back than money or friends

With hair loss being a problem for both men and women, many are looking for a long-term solution. Up to 60% of sufferers would rather have their hair back than money or friends. Almost 50% would spend all the money they had to regain their hair [11]. 

Nearly nine out of ten requests for hair loss treatment now come from women. This is in stark contrast to 20 years ago.

Every 13th Man Has a Hair Transplant

According to a Bookimed study, referenced on Business Insider, every 13th man has a hair transplant. As this surgery is one of the most popular surgeries, this figure is hardly surprising. It is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic procedures for men.  

Women With Stressful Lives Are 11 Times More Likely to Lose Their Hair

Our daily lives can be very stressful, and research has found that women with stressful lives are 11 times more likely to lose their hair [5]. Science supports the idea that a significant amount of stress can be linked with hair loss. In particular, one specific type – telogen effluvium [12]. 

Dandruff Affects Up To 50% Of the Population at Some Stage in Their Life

Dandruff affects up to 50% of the population at some stage in their life. [13] Whilst dandruff itself does not cause hair loss, it can cause a sufferer to scratch and injure their scalp. If this action is consistently repeated, they could damage the hair follicles. This may slow or even stop hair growth and can cause weak and thinning hair.

A quarter of men in their 20s show signs of male pattern baldness, with six and a half million males in the UK, affected.

Research has shown that there are many young men taking medication for their hair loss. 25% of men in their twenties are showing signs of male pattern baldness already.

Facts and Statistics about Hair Loss in the UK, Wimpole Clinic

 Sources:

  1. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding?
  2. Treating female pattern hair loss
  3. The psychological impact of alopecia
  4. Why Do Men Go Bald and What Can You Do About It?
  5. Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?
  6. The epidemiology of alopecia areata: a population-basedcohort study in UK primary care
  7. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
  8. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/female-hair-loss-menopause-treatment-study-rcna16389https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/does-smoking-cause-hair-loss
  9. https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/grooming/article/how-to-know-if-youll-go-bald
  10. https://www.raconteur.net/combating-male-hair-loss/
  11. https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/what-we-treat/hair-loss
  12. How Extreme Stress Causes Hair Loss
  13. Dandruff: The Most Commercially Exploited Skin Disease

 

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