August is Hair Loss Awareness month and a cue for many of us to get better informed about the problem and the possibilities for treatment. Quite simply, thinning hair or hair loss is increasingly a preoccupation for the client, both male and female, and of all ages, and we all need to join a conversation about the causes and the solutions. There are so many myths, preconceptions or misunderstandings about hair loss, and it’s time to unravel them.
Kicking off our journey of discovery, this week we accepted an invite from the British Beauty Council and Nioxin to attend a panel debate on the subject of Hair Loss. Guest speakers were hosted, organised and at times quizzed by Millie Kendall OBE, the Chief Executive Officer of the BBC who also welcomed a live Instagram audience to watch proceedings. The line up was illustrious but entirely relatable, each guest speaker being personable and keen to inform without deluging us with jargon or intricate detail.
The over-riding message is that there is a myriad of causes for thinning hair or hair loss. Consequently, there is no one-size-fits all solution to prevent or redeem loss. Let’s break it down a little. Causes might include (but not be limited to) genetics, the ageing process, Menopause, nutrition, hormone imbalance and conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, as well as stress and environmental aggressors.
Early diagnosis is inordinately helpful, as well as paying attention to the health of ones hair and scalp in order to avoid problems escalating. “You lose 50% of your hair before you notice,” observed beauty writer Nadine Baggott who didn’t realise she suffered hair loss until someone else pointed it out.
Podcaster Emma Gun has suffered hair loss for medical reasons most of her life. She says: “I used to work with what I had, and didn’t realise I could do anything about it.” And that is the point. While many sufferers don’t understand the possibilities, hairdressers can help if only to point clients in the direction of an expert on hair loss.
Trichologist Mark Blake confirms the importance of a referral to specialists, whether pestering a GP for help, organising blood tests which can identify causes, considering nutrition and lifestyle. He warns against the trap of thinking there’s one supplement to take, or one fix that works for every situation. And he stresses the importance of caring for the scalp, too, busting the myths that washing less often, or applying oils to the scalp is helpful – they’re not. It’s a matter of identifying the cause, as early as possible.
Presenter and model Lisa Snowden raised the issue of Menopause and Covid, and how a change in ones hair can dent confidence and self-esteem. The ‘skinification’ of hair ie thinking of caring for hair in the same way we care for skin, is important. Lisa described how regimes including stimulating the scalp with massage, and literally tipping upside down encourages blood flow to the scalp.
The panel’s experience and expertise threw up several key pointers and comments on how we can improve our response to concerns on hair loss. Remember, your clients want you to talk about hair loss. So be sure that you can! Arm yourself with good information and be prepared to refer clients to the experts. For the longer term, consider having someone in your team or company study for a trichology qualification – it’s got to be a great investment. After all, its in the interests of our industry to encourage everyone to keep their hair as long as possible!
For August 2022, and beyond, let’s keep talking about hair loss.
The evening on ‘Hair Loss’ was presented by the British Beauty Council and Nioxin comprised a panel with:
• Nadine Baggott is a beauty writer of 30 years standing
• Mark Blake, hairdresser and fully qualified trichologist with clinics in Harley Street, Gloucester and Liverpool
• Emma Guns is a writer and podcaster – with more than 10million downloads for the Emma Gun Show
• Lisa Snowden is a broadcaster with more than 410K IG followers and very vocal on the Menopause
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