The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of hair loss on quality of life. Patients were recruited from an alopecia support group, and were assessed using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and an adapted version of the DLQI. Financial utility questions, an abbreviated version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and open-ended questions were also used.
Seventy (90% response rate) questionnaires were returned. DLQI scores in responders with hair loss (mean score = 8.3, SD = 5.6, range 0-23, n = 70) were similar to those recorded in severe psoriasis. The hair loss continued to have a significant impact on life quality well after the initial event (median duration of hair loss = 138 months +/- 114; range 7-588, n = 70). Forty per cent of patients also felt dissatisfied with the way in which their doctor dealt with them.
This study specifically identifies the feelings of loss of self-confidence, low self-esteem and heightened self-consciousness in people affected by hair loss.