Discussing & Destigmatizing Hair Loss
With August being national hair loss awareness month, we wanted to speak up as a brand to help tear down the stigma surrounding hair loss and shedding.
We know firsthand the significance of hair, as it serves as a major component of our identities and for many is a form of creative expression. At Rabbit Brush, we want to utilize our platform to voice the importance of hair health and create a safe space for those who have dealt with the emotional turmoil that hair loss and shedding causes.
We hope to inform and empower by providing the facts about the prevalence of hair loss, common causes and treatments, how to keep the conversation going to further destigmatize hair loss and tips on creating a preventive, healthy and sustainable hair care routine.
(quick disclaimer- please reach out to your doctor or dermatologist if you’re concerned about hair shedding or loss)!
Who Suffers From Hair Loss & Shedding?
Experiencing any form of hair loss or shedding is practically inevitable as we age; it affects roughly 80 million Americans annually, and that number is rising. 
An estimated 80% of men and 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss, shedding or both at some point in their lifetime, and will affect nearly 1 in 4 men before age 30, and 50% of women before age 50.  Millennials are already reporting receding hairlines and a significant loss in volume; even older teens are consulting their dermatologists and hair stylists about dwindling strands. 
Though seeing a decrease in volume or bald splotches at any age can be alarming, it’s important to understand the key differences between hair loss and shedding and how they’re treated.
Hair Loss vs. Shedding & Treatment Options
On average, we lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair daily. Losing more is known as shedding (telogen effluvium, or TE). Shedding is often attributed to:
- Excessive stress
- Prescription medication
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency
- Thyroid imbalance
- Giving birth
- Anabolic steroids
In the case of TE, hair can be expected to regain its fullness anywhere from six months to a year after the root cause has been addressed. In cases where TE is related to a temporary condition such as a stress following a traumatic event, hair is expected to regrow on its own. In more severe cases, shedding is treated with topical medications such as Minoxidil. 
Hair loss (alopecia), on the other hand, is caused by factors that stunt hair growth entirely and requires intervention by a dermatologist. Unfortunately, hair loss can be trickier to cure, as follicles usually cease to regrow. Common causes of hair loss are:
- Hereditary conditions (male/female pattern baldness)
- Alopecia areata
- Cicatricial alopecia
- Trichotillomania (hair pulling)
- Wearing tight hairstyles
- Using harsh hair care products (relaxers, dyes, shampoos, etc)
Conditions such as alopecia areata often result in permanent hair loss, as there is no cure. However, there are plenty of options to stimulate partial regrowth such as laser treatments or oral/topical medications. Hair transplants are also growing in number, and high-quality wigs and pieces are becoming more affordable and accessible. 
Though caused by different factors, hair loss and shedding can be equally as damaging to one's mental health and self-esteem.
Breaking Down the Stigma
Beauty trends are cycled constantly, but thick, luscious strands have been considered an essential part of one's attractiveness for centuries, regardless of gender.
This is an unfortunate product of society’s unrealistic beauty standards. As a result, there’s a stigma of shame around noticeably thinning hair, pattern baldness or complete baldness (especially in women). Roughly 34% of people who experience hair loss or shedding are susceptible to major depressive disorder, while 90% of people that suffer from major depressive disorder notice shedding. Sufferers also report experiencing embarrassment, low self-esteem, anxiety and social withdrawal. 
It's crucial to uplift those battling any form of hair loss or shedding through support, whether it be donating to reputable research organizations or simply offering to listen to their struggles.
Preventive Care & Tips
There’s only so much we can do in terms of keeping our hair, especially when genetics come into play. Regardless, it’s vital to focus on hair health by reaching for more clean, sustainable products and assessing your overall risks for hair loss. Here are a few things you can do to take action:
Ask About Family History
If anyone in your immediate family has battled hair loss or shedding, there’s a chance it could affect you later in life. If you’re aware of your chances ahead of time, make it known in any consultations with your doctor or dermatologist so you can collaborate on a game plan to prevent or delay future complications.
Easier said than done, but stress is the number one cause of TE in younger adults.  Other than the usual (therapy, mindful eating, exercise), consider taking just 30 minutes out of your day/week to wind down and give yourself and your hair some extra TLC!
Pay Attention to Ingredient Lists
Big box brands like OGX have been sued in recent years for failing to properly disclose harmful ingredients in their products that have been directly correlated with hair loss.  To avoid confusion about a product's safety, we recommend using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It breaks down product safety with scientifically backed research for the most accurate and up to date info.
And of course, whenever you can, consider shopping with your local, small businesses for hair care!
Use High Quality Oils
Hair health starts at the scalp! One of the best products to incorporate into any routine is a solid oil; we recommend our own Seriously Magic Hair Oil, as it contains jojoba and rose oils which have been proven to help encourage healthy roots and promote growth by locking in moisture.  At least once a week, simply rub a few drops into the scalp and allow it to soak in before your shower!
Ditch Tight Hair Ties
Wearing styles like tight ponytails and braids are also attributed to hair loss (and headaches). Instead, reaching for soft scrunchies or claw clips can prevent unnecessary damage. Heatless, overnight hairstyles can also serve as a solid option (check out our style blog for some inspo)!
If you’ve dealt with hair loss or shedding, know that we stand with you, whether you decide to rock a bald head, a pink and purple split dye wig, or sometimes both! We’d love to hear your story; feel free to send us a dm or email, and of course, thank you for being here!