Whilst alopecia simply means ‘hair loss’, anyone who has experienced it will know that it is far more than that. The loss of hair can present challenging physical symptoms such as difficulty in regulating body temperature, increased sensitivity to light from a lack of eyelashes and a ‘running tap nose’ from the lack of nasal hair. These are just a few examples of the physical impact alopecia can have.

The biggest impact of alopecia is often the psychological and emotional effects on an individual. The change in appearance can lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem. Feelings of loss of identity, femininity, masculinity, and attractiveness are also commonly reported. The feelings associated with alopecia can, for some, lead to mental health impacts such as anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, we still hear that some people with alopecia are told it’s ‘just hair loss’ or ‘a cosmetic issue’. This might be well-meaning family and friends saying something along the lines of ‘Well, thank goodness it’s just hair loss’. Or it could be a doctor informing a patient ‘Funding for treatments/wigs is not available because alopecia is determined a cosmetic issue’.

Alopecia UK strongly advocates that alopecia is viewed as a medical condition that can have significant physical and emotional impacts on an individual. It can be damaging to people affected by alopecia when it is viewed as cosmetic and the result of this can be people believing their feelings are invalid.

Alopecia UK will continue to raise awareness of the various impacts alopecia and challenge any opinions that are dismissive of the impact the condition can have on some people affected.