In this day and age of celebrity worship, it seems that there is more pressure than ever for women to look the part and make the right impression. Whether its girls at school, or women in the workplace, it seems that more women are feeling the pressure of having the perfect body, the perfect outfit and the perfect hair. But does this obsession with image and worrying about how we look, actually make hair loss in women more widespread?
In a recent article in the Daily Mail, Stephen Hinshaw, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the bestselling book, ‘The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls From Today’s Pressures’ says, “We must also acknowledge that there is a problem with our culture’s growing insistence that girls must excel at everything: school, sports, relationships and looks,” says Hinshaw.
The pressure is constant acknowledges Hinshaw: “Girls are now expected to excel at ‘girl skills’, achieve ‘boy skills’ and be models of female perfection 100% of the time. This triple bind is putting girls at risk of eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.”
The Mail pointed out some worrying statistics. Firstly, In 2009, a report commissioned by Stirling University’s Suicidal Behaviour Research Group found that girls were three times more likely to self-harm than boys, while the number of girls diagnosed with depression, eating disorders and body dysmorphia is also increasing. Secondly, a 2007 survey of 2,000 teenage girls in the UK, found that 70 per cent dislike their faces and only 8 per cent are happy with their bodies. Two-thirds of the girls surveyed said that they believed their lives would improve dramatically if they lost weight, and said that images of ‘perfect’ celebrities caused them to feel this way.
Rapid weight loss and stress can trigger a hair loss condition called Telogen Effluvium. When the body undergoes a shock, it will respond in a way that is least damaging to the body and as hair is considered a ‘non-essential function’ by the body, one of the ways the body starts to cope with these changes will be to shed more hair. Some hair follicles prematurely stop growing and enter the telogen (resting) phase where they stay for three months before being shed. While some people will recover from the event before the hair loss starts, if a young woman continues to follow an overly strict diet or if she suffers from depression and ongoing stress, the hair may not return to a healthy hair growth cycle. In some cases, this hair loss condition can trigger Female Pattern (genetic) Hair Loss. The earlier that this condition is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is that a woman can prevent severe thinning and maintain a healthy and strong head of hair.
Any woman suffering hair loss should get it checked out by their doctor or by a hair specialist in order to rule out any underlying health issues. A hair specialist will also be able to advise on hair loss treatments. To book a free consultation with one of the specialists at The Belgravia Centre, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively you can complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website and a mail order treatment service.