Hairloss, Wigs & Toupees

Hair loss is a common and well known side effect of cancer treatment but also can occur for various other medical and psychological reasons.

Medical Reasons for Hair Loss

Positive Image Clinic‘Alopecia’ is the medical term used to describe any type of baldness / hair loss, on the scalp, or of other hairy regions of the body.

‘Alopecia Areata’ is a condition in which round patches of hair loss appear suddenly. The hair-growing tissue is attacked by the patient’s own immune cells for unknown reasons.

There are three stages; first, there is sudden hair loss, then the patches of hair loss enlarge, and last, new hair grows back. This process takes months, sometimes more than a year, but rarely does the hair never grow back.

‘Alopecia Nervosa / Stress related hairloss (called Telogen Effluvium) is caused by physical or emotional stress and triggers the shedding of from 1/2 to 3/4 of the hair. You may not notice stress related Alopecia for weeks or even months after the stress but the hair shedding will eventually stop but can take 6 to 8 months to do so.

Positive Image Clinic‘Alopecia Totalis’ is a condition where there is a total loss of scalp hair. However, mechanisms are still in place in the follicle making it possible for them to grow whenever the body decides to do so.

‘Alopecia Universalis’ is the complete absense of all body hair from head to toe. This condition can involve rapid hair loss from the body and can occur at any age. Although every case is different for some re-growth is possible whilst for others the hairloss can be permanent. It is impossible to predict when, or if hair will grow back.

‘Traction Alopecia’ is hair loss caused by styling such as repetitive use of straightening irons. I am worryingly seeing a new generation of traction alopecia in children from as young as 10 years. This type of hair loss is becoming more common due to lack of education of how to use hair straighters correctly. Traction Alopecia is caused by long term damage of hair follicles and unless children are educated now we are unfortunately going to see a lot more of this type of hair loss in the future.

Parents should look out for a receding hairline from the front to the temples, thinning in a horseshoe shape on the top of the head and eventually bald patches can occur. This type of hairloss may be difficult to spot at early stages but can be prevented if caught in time.

This can be include the use of repetitive hair straightening irons, by wearing hair pulled too tightly causing damage to the follicles. This type of hair loss is common in both male and female clients and although most cases are reverseable, sometimes permanent damage can occur.

‘Trichotillomania’ (also known as trich), is a hair loss dissorder caused by the compulsion to pull hair out from the head or body. This can result in bald patches and in severe cases major hair loss leading to permanent folicular damage.

Chemotherapy Hair Loss

One of the treatments for cancer is chemotherapy which can cause total hair loss or thinning of the hair.The side effects of this treatment can be traumatic, once treatment has finished the hair will grow back, it is quite common for the hair to grow back different, For example: Colour, thickness, curly or straight. This usually corrects itself within a few months of the hair growth cycle settling back to normality. The use of wigs and head scarves has become an alternative option whilst undergoing treatments, leaving you feeling less vulnerable during your stages of treatment.

Other Hair Loss Conditions are;

  • Radiation treatment on or around hair exposed areas (may cause long term hair folicule damage)
  • Thyroid diseases (causes shedding and thinning of the hair)
  • Tinea Capitis (ring worm of the scalp, seek medical treatment)
  • Burns, scaring and skin grafts (long term folicule damage)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (side effects include hairloss)

Your Feelings and Self Esteem

Positive Image ClinicNo matter what the reason for hair loss, the effects can be very stressful because personal appearance is vital to feelings of self esteem. Sudden changes in appearance can not only be hard to accept but can sometimes cause people who have lost their hair to feel alone and depressed. This can effect confidence, psychological welfare and the well-being of relationships at home and at work.

An important thing to remember is that no matter how much you worry about a change in appearance, your friends and family will not see you any differently. They will still love and support you whatever. It is important for you to express your feelings and how difficult you might be finding things. With their help you are more likely to cope with stress and difficult situations.

When Considering a Wig

Wigs are an ideal choice for many types of hair loss and come in a large variety of types, styles and colours. Synthetic wigs are the cheapest option, lasting approximately six months of everyday wear. The disadvantages of synthetic wigs is that direct heat can damage them so avoid using hairdryers and wash your wig in cold water.

Real hair wigs can have a longer lifespan, dependent on wear & care but can be more expensive. This type of wig allows more freedom with your styling options although it will need to be customised to suit your face shape just like normal hair.

Wigs and VAT

Positive Image ClinicIf you are buying a wig for selected medical conditions then you may be able to claim the VAT back on Wigs purchased. Covered conditions are Alopecia (Totalis and Areata), Post-Operative Hair Loss and Chemotheraphy treatment.

Please complete an application form when making your purchase and the VAT will be refunded from your order when we received your completed form. Please note that every order requires its own VAT refund form. For assistance please contact us.

Choosing and Fitting

The Positive Image Clinic has specialists in selecting and fitting wigs and we can help you decide on a style and colour that you will be happy with.

We understand that this can be an emotional experience and it is sometimes helpful to bring along a relative or friend for support and assistance. Our private suite allows our clients to take their time to make the fitting process as easy as possible. Sometimes a second appointment may be required for further adjustments.

Making a Booking

For a private and confidential consultation in our wig clinic, please call us on 01472 604070