How to cope with alopecia as Jesy Nelson and Katie Price reveal they struggled with hair loss

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For many women, our crowning glory is a major reflection of our identity and is central to our femininity. So it’s no surprise that a classic bad hair day can leave us feeling horribly down in the dumps – and reaching for the nearest hat.

But according to a recent survey, it’s not just the occasional frizz fest or greasy roots we have to contend with. Over half the female population will be affected by thinning or baldness at some point, losing significant amounts of hair during their lifetime.

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Admittedly, celebrities probably have hair stylists on speed dial and the use of realistic wigs at their disposal, but living life in the spotlight means the upsetting condition can still be psychologically damaging for them.

As top hair expert Lucinda Ellery explains: "People in the public eye are always scrutinised and often judged over their appearance, so celebrities suffering from hair loss find themselves under a microscope."

What causes hair loss?

Lucinda, who has helped a number of celebrities – including Cheryl, Gemma Collins, Katie Price and Kimberley Walsh – look their best with the use of hair extensions, explains why stars are so often plagued with hair loss, saying: "The nature of their job means lots of travelling, working long hours and needing to look at their best all the time can be tough on their hair."

But for any woman, overstyling hair with tools and products can cause big issues. A-listers like Victoria Beckham and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie have been papped with patches of thinning hair, possibly as a result of overexposure to heat and chemicals.

Losing up to 100 hairs a day is normal, but if your hair is coming out in clumps then you may be suffering from telogen effluvium, which can be triggered by an important life event or trauma such as surgery, pregnancy or serious illness. With this type of hair loss, the hair growth cycle is interrupted so sufferers are normally affected around three months after the event.

Hair loss can also be a result of an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata. Several household names including Little Mix member Jesy Nelson and TV star Gail Porter have been vocal about their struggles with alopecia.

Jesy, 29, began experiencing hair loss when she was as young as 13 and was bullied because of her alopecia areata, which caused noticeable bald spots from stress.

“My hair just started coming out,” she said. “Stress can cause alopecia, and it wasn’t nice. I got picked on.”

Katie Price has confessed to using wigs in the past because of her hair loss through extreme dieting and over processing her locks.

Gail Porter, 49, admitted this week she's given up on dating as she no longer feels confident and has accepted the idea of growing old alone. "I'm bald and I don't feel confident about dating. I'd love to meet someone, but I don't feel pretty and it's fine. When I lost my hair, I lost a lot of confidence," she says.

How exactly does hair loss manifest itself?

If make or female pattern baldness kicks in, then the tufts in the scalp lose hairs and it gradually develops bald spots. But whereas men tend to lose their hair from the front backwards, often getting a monk-like circe of baldness), women often find their hair things in the middle of the scalp.

Female sufferers usually find that their confidence takes a dive as a result. Simone Thomas started up her own hair salon (crowninggloryhair.co.uk) after suffering severe hair loss. She says: "My inspiration to start Crowning Glory came after I struggled to find good quality solutions when I lost my own hair to alopecia not just once but twice. I know the psychological impact that hair loss can have."

She adds: "Alopecia may not be life threatening, but it is certainly life altering. It’s not only important that the public become more aware of the condition, but that sufferers know that they are not alone and that there are solutions."

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What can be done about hair loss?

Losing your hair can have a huge impact physically and mentally, but you can take steps to find a solution. Hair expert Lucinda Ellery shares her top tips on dealing with hair loss:

Lucinda Ellery has studios in London, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh. Find out more about her work and celebrity clientele at www.Lucindaellery-hairloss.co.uk

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