I wrote a post with the same title way-back but it seems it never made it onto the AUK website (I had had a personal blog site before my time working on Alopecia UK's communications).

Over the past ten years I have had many conversations about hair loss – no surprises here, it's my job! One of the things that continues to crop up (more than I would like if i'm being honest), are comments regarding who alopecia is ‘easiest’ or ‘hardest’ for. These remarks can be from people with alopecia themselves, but also family members, journalists and even doctors.

I’ve heard comments that make comparisons between different age groups but by far and away the greatest number of comparison comments are made about the experiences of men versus women. The following are the type of comments I’ve heard over the years:

“It must be so harder to lose your hair as a woman. Hair is a woman’s crowning glory!”

“It’s easier for a man to have alopecia. Society is far more accepting of bald men”.

“It is harder for men to have alopecia. There are far better options for wigs and brows for women”.

“Men find it much harder to seek support with medical conditions than women do”.

You get the idea. A real mix of thoughts and ideas around hair loss. But here is the thing; none of the above statements can be taken as fact. These are opinions. Not all men and women will be able to relate to the statements above. And, to be honest, I think opinions like the examples provided can be an unhelpful narrative, for both men and women. I think it would be far better to focus on our common challenges and adopt a ‘We are all in this together’ attitude than perpetuate ideas that can divide us as a community.

The psychological and socioeconomic impacts of alopecia can be just the same regardless of our gender. I would argue that our personality type, the support network we have around us, and the value we place on our hair*, all play a far bigger role in the outcome of how ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ an alopecia journey we have than our gender.

Some women with alopecia find it fairly easy to come to terms with their hair loss whilst others struggle hugely. Some men take alopecia in their stride whilst others find it extremely difficult to cope. We are all different. 

I have met many wonderful men, women and children with alopecia since I lost my hair 12 years ago. I think it would be helpful if we started to move away from conversations about who alopecia is ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ for and simply recognise the challenges that hair loss can bring to an individual – ANY individual.

Alopecia UK can play a role in this, by continuing to encourage media organisations to include both men and women in their articles and stories about alopecia.  Unfortunately, it is still the case that media requests about alopecia continue to only request women to take part. And, on occasions where we can convince the media to be more inclusive, we struggle to find men willing to take part. It is important that we find men willing to take part in more public-facing awareness if we are going to inspire a younger generation of boys growing up with alopecia or newly diagnosed men. If you are a man with alopecia reading this, and feel you could help us increase the visibility of men with alopecia on our website and/or help with media opportunities, please get in touch. 

As an alopecia community, there is more that unites us then divides us and it would be great to all support each other, whatever our individual alopecia experience looks like. 

*I wanted to explain this one a bit more as I think it’s an important one that doesn’t get discussed much. When I had a full head of hair, I was never that bothered by it. I didn’t spend hours styling it or spend a fortune on hairdressers. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t devastated when my hair fell out, I was, but I believe my alopecia journey has been easier than some because my hair was never a ‘big deal’ to me.