Alopecia UK is pleased to announce that we have received funding to study the socioeconomic impact of alopecia areata (including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis). This is a 1-year project, starting in January 2022.  The project will be led by Alopecia UK in collaboration with Fabio Zucchelli and his colleagues at the Centre for Appearance Research, Dr Matthew Harries (Consultant Dermatologist) and Professor Andrew Messenger (Consultant Dermatologist).

At Alopecia UK, we often hear from people that hair loss can have a significant financial cost to individuals. Costs we often hear about are associated with buying wigs, paying for permanent make-up such as microblading, buying specific products that may facilitate hair growth, and paying to see hair specialists privately, but there are other costs to hair loss. Some people tell us they struggle to find work because they feel anxious about their hair loss, others have said they don’t feel confident about going for promotion resulting in lost of opportunity and the financial incentives that go with that. In a nutshell, there are a lot of costs associated with hair loss – and this is what we mean when we talk about the ‘socioeconomic burden of alopecia areata’.

We have wanted to examine the costs associated with hair loss for some time, to help us to understand more about the impact alopecia has on everyday life. This can then help us advocate on behalf of people affected by alopecia to demonstrate the true impact it can have with the aim of dispelling the myth that ‘it’s just hair’.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with individuals affected by alopecia areata to help us think about the costs of managing the condition, whilst also thinking about how we can ask the right questions, in the right way. We will be working to develop a questionnaire which we hope many people with alopecia areata will complete. The more people that complete it, the more representative it will be of those affected. We look forward to sharing that questionnaire with our community later in the year. 

You may be reading this as someone with hair loss that is not alopecia areata asking why this is solely looking at this type of hair loss. The reason is that this funding-call was specific to alopecia areata.

As always, we want to thank everyone for supporting Alopecia UK. Hearing your experiences and listening to what is important to you is what helps shape what we do. This is a unique opportunity for Alopecia UK to lead on a piece of research that has individuals affected by alopecia areata at the centre of it and we look forward to sharing more information about the study soon.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Pfizer for funding this study.