Christchurch wig providers have seen a massive increase in business following the Canterbury earthquakes as girls as young as eight are losing their hair from stress.

Ministry of Health figures show that 218 people in Canterbury had claimed grants for wig and hairpiece services for temporary hair loss since September 4, Fairfax Media reported today.

For the year between September 2009 and September 2010 only 83 people had applied for the grant.

Janine Antram, a government-approved wig provider, said about 100 Canterbury women and girls, mostly aged between 10 and 30, had contacted her since last October asking for wigs because they were suffering from alopecia.

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"There is huge hair loss going on in Christchurch.

"I don't know if it is related to the earthquake, but I do know alopecia is related to stress, and clients have said [alopecia] has come on since the earthquakes."

Her youngest client was eight.

- NZPA