Circular hair loss: it also often hits the pocket

Alopecia areata is often associated with significant psychosocial suffering. But not only the soul suffers, patients often spend a lot of money to minimise symptoms.

Not every product offered is suitable for therapy

Alopecia areata is associated with high levels of suffering

Circular hair loss (alopecia areata, AA) can affect people of all ages. Both men and women can suffer from the disease. Depending on its severity, hair loss can be accompanied by considerable suffering. Younger people and women in particular often feel the psychosocial burden of receding hair. Social withdrawal and struggling with their self-image are often the result. Understandably, many affected people look for ways to curb the symptoms of the disease.

A cure is still not possible

Although there are now drugs that are approved for the treatment of AA, the disease cannot currently be cured. Moreover, medicines do not work the same way for everyone with AA, and they are not suitable for everyone. 

Many sufferers therefore look for other ways to reduce the suffering associated with the disease. For example, there is a large market of shampoos, dietary supplements, and tinctures to counteract hair loss. Some people also resort to hair replacement products such as wigs or toupees. Often, the costs for the cosmetic products or hairpieces are not covered by the health insurance.

Alopecia areata is associated with high costs

A recent study has investigated how much money sufferers in German-speaking countries spend on such products on average. For this purpose, 346 people with AA were interviewed. The average age of the participants was about 38 years and - this is important for the interpretation of the results - about 95% of them were women.

The result is surprising: alopecia areata patients spend on average about 1,200 euros per year. This includes cosmetic products, hair replacement products, as well as doctor's visits and medications that are not covered by health insurance.

The study authors state that the individual sum depends on the duration and severity of the illness, on the consultation of a physician and on gender: women spend more than men.

We cannot overlook the financial burden

As the current study shows, alopecia areata is not only associated with psychosocial stress, but can also be a heavy financial burden. At about 1,200 euros per year, it costs sufferers more than many other chronic diseases. As attending physicians, it is important not to neglect this aspect of the disease and to look for suitable solutions together with those affected.