HEALTH experts hope the story of singing star Toni Warne will help the thousands of Scots women suffering from hair loss.
Almost 800,000 women and girls in Scotland suffer from hair loss but many try to hide the effects instead of seeking advice.
Singer Toni brought the problem into more than eight million living rooms at the weekend on the new BBC series The Voice.
She was chosen by pop star Jessie J during the first auditions of the new talent show, where contestants are chose by judges who at first cannot see them.
She told Jessie J and the other celebrity mentors, including will.i.am and Tom Jones, how alopecia shattered her self-belief and halted her pursuit of a record deal.
Now the director of a specialist Scottish clinic set up to help women suffering from hair loss says Toni’s story may give hope to other women.
Toni, 34, charmed the nation as a nine-year-old on Opportunity Knocks, a talent show.
Toni has said: “I suffered from alopecia as young girl and in my 20s I lost all my hair completely. It had a big impact. I lost all of my confidence.
“I didn’t think I could [perform] the way that I am.”
She experimented with using a wig, but chose to take part in The Voice as the show did not focus on looks.
Lucas Sojka, Director of Hair Solved, said: “Toni Warne struck a real chord with millions of TV viewers when she explained how this had blighted her life.
“It’s clear that she has come to terms with it now and it was fantastic to see her on the stage.
“But the truth is up to 800,000 women and girls in Scotland suffer from some degree of hair loss and the majority of them do so in silence, due to shame and embarrassment.
“Hair loss for women still carries a terrible stigma.
“We are trying to reach out to the women across Scotland and assure them they are not alone. Our clinic helps women feel as comfortable as possible when discussing hair loss. We listen to them and help find the very best solution.
“The good news is that we can give them natural looking hair, restore their confidence and give them back their lives.”
NHS statistics suggest up to 8 million women across the UK are affected by various forms of hair loss including general thinning, alopecia, post pregnancy thinning and trichotillomania, where sufferers are left bald by repeated hair twisting or plucking.
Hair Solved’s new clinic in Glasgow offers the company’s new‘Enhancer’ solution, which combines hair extensions and mesh and which is attached to the scalp to conceal all types of hair loss.
The treatment can help women who lose their hair due to chemotherapy.
Once the treatment is in place, users schedule clinic visits much as they would arrange visits to the hairdresser, which Lukas says helps women feel comfortable with the treatment and make it a part of their normal routine.
He added: “There are many different reasons for hair loss in women. We see different cases everyday with those affected right through from the age of ten until the age of seventy.
“We also help women who have experienced hair loss as a result of bad hair extensions or years of hair colouring.
“It is difficult to overstate how much hair loss can shatter a woman’s confidence and their ability to live a normal life. In fact, we even see women who have relatively thick hair, but have their lives blighted by the psychological fear they are losing their hair. Our treatment helps them too.”
While men can also be mentally scarred by balding, the relatively rarity of the condition for women makes cases more stark.
Meanwhile Lucas says women also tend to be more image conscious, which heightens the trauma, turning a trip to the shops or a family holiday into a painful and humiliating ordeal.
He added: “The good news is that we provide our clients with a solution which looks real and can give them their confidence back. We have had many clients coming back to us saying they feel glamorous again and they can do anything.”