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Addressing the Social Stigma of Female Alopecia

MA 2023
Social Impact, Healthcare, Alopecia, Mental Wellbeing

Society often holds the misconception that women experiencing hair loss are under stress, unhealthy, or unattractive. This social stigma places a heavy emotional burden on women with alopecia.

Hairless&Fearless aims to alleviate this burden by creating a supportive community that promotes information sharing and positivity. We also offer various avenues of support and engage in campaigns to raise awareness within society at large. We are here to change attitudes towards hair loss, with a mission to show how we are all beautiful, no matter how much hair we may have. We care, inspire, and educate everyone about alopecia every day.

To see the detailed case study, please click here.


LUSH, a cosmetics brand known for its caring and inclusive values, is dedicated to promoting natural and healthy beauty. In our collaboration with LUSH, we aim to explore innovative ideas for raising awareness about alopecia within society.


How to break society’s negative perception towards inborn physical features of "minorities"?

Alopecia is often subject to stigmatization, being unfairly associated with stress, poor health, or unattractiveness. However, contrary to popular belief, the primary cause of alopecia is genetic and beyond our control. Just as being left-handed is predetermined, some individuals are destined to experience hair loss at some point in their lives. While this condition may be permanent for some, it typically has minimal impact on their overall physical well-being.

Hence, it is evident that society harbors a significant misconception regarding the relationship between hair and health.


The external pressure from social connections gives no room for women with alopecia to freely express who they are, and causes mental burdens.

Women with alopecia face limited options when it comes to managing their condition. Some opt to conceal their hair loss to avoid judgment, while others choose to embrace it by shaving their heads, reclaiming a sense of control. In both cases, these women are adapting their self-image to establish comfortable connections with their surroundings. Unfortunately, the driving force behind these adjustments is the external scrutiny they endure.

It is my fervent desire to alleviate this pressure and replace it with support, offering women with alopecia the space and liberty they deserve.

HMW statement

How might we leverage social support to disconnect hair loss from unhealthiness/unattractiveness to alleviate the external pressure on women with alopecia, and help society understand their true beauty?

Our Solution

If the peers and social connections of women with alopecia spread the true facts and identities of alopecia, then a wider society could be educated that it is normal and beautiful to have less hair, hence we could break the social stigma of it.

We leverage peer support to foster a loving community to share information and positivity, and we provide multi-channels of support and campaign to raise awareness of the wider society.

We encourage their peers and social connections to spread accurate information and raise awareness about the condition, then we can foster a more informed society that appreciates and embraces the beauty of having less hair. By dispelling misconceptions and challenging societal norms, we have the potential to eradicate the social stigma associated with alopecia.

How we sustain

Our service aims to amplify support by consolidating and integrating the fragmented assistance provided by relevant stakeholders and the wider society into one centralized platform.


We conducted a comprehensive series of interviews to gain insights into the current situation of stakeholders. One interviewee, a woman who has been battling alopecia for five years, told us that she only discovered Alopecia UK, a charity dedicated to this condition, a year ago. And this information gap is everywhere. Charities in this field are facing the challenge of limited resources while simultaneously striving to reach and support a larger audience.

Furthermore, our observations of online groups managed by these charities revealed a significant issue with scattered and disorganized information. This lack of organization hampers the effectiveness of these platforms, as each individual's condition and treatment plan can vary greatly.


For charities and their online groups, we exchange audiences to reach out to more people, integrate and categorize their content and raised funds from wider society to them. 

For clinics, salons, and haircare brands, we also leverage their expertise in alopecia to help us create professional content, and in return, we bring potential customers to them and enrich their brands. 

We also leverage the creativity and love of fashion artists, hairdressers, and designers to create products or art pieces to enrich the identity expressions of alopecia. And correspondingly we promote their work. 


Special thanks to:

  • My tutor David Eveleigh Evans, for providing me with invaluable guidance, resources, and feedback;
  • The wonderful community from Alopecia UK, for sharing their stories and feedback with me;
  • Daisy Evans, Lead of LUSH Hair Lab, for fostering collaboration and proactively organizing pop-up events;
  • All the friends and cohorts that shared insights and offered support.
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