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The psychological effects of hair loss

Healthy hair not just boosts self-esteem, but it also influences how people perceive you. Therefore for people experiencing hair loss, it is not only a medical condition, but it also has a psychological impact.

A full head of hair is seen as a sign of beauty and youth. Be it men or women, if given a choice, no one would want to lose their hair. While nowadays baldness in men is still becoming acceptable, thanks to actors like Vin Diesel, Bruce Willis and Jason Statham who have made the baldhead a style statement, things haven’t changed for women. Even today, baldness in women is a taboo. Hence, hair loss and hair thinning tends to be more distressing for women. However, it would be wrong to assume that men are not affected by it at all. There are many men for whom hair loss is as psychologically stressful as it is for women.

Hair loss is still not considered as an important medical problem by many, but anyone suffering from hair loss can understand the real distress of living with the condition. Here we discuss how and why hair loss can have a profound psychological effect on men and women:

Hair loss affects appearance and self-esteem

Your hairstyle or the way you wear your hair often becomes your identity; people start recognising you through your hair. Losing hair can significantly change the way you look, thereby affecting your physical appearance. Such changes can easily be noticed by friends, family and colleagues, making you feel vulnerable and less confident.

A receding hairline can make one feel less attractive. As hair is seen as a symbol of health and beauty, people suffering from hair loss are perceived as unattractive by society. Although women mostly experience the felling of looking unappealing, the consequences for men should never be underestimated.

A study conducted in 2002 by H.J. Lee and D. Kim showed that 90% of the women viewed or perceived men suffering from hair loss as ‘less attractive and older’. So, both men and women suffering from hair loss can find it hard to live in a society that places great emphasis on physical beauty.

Hair loss can leave you feeling anxious

Apart from making you feel less attractive, hair loss can make you feel anxious. In many cases, the reason behind hair thinning is not clearly understood. Even if you know the cause of hair loss, the solution is mostly out of your control. This can make one feel restless and concerned all the time. Excessive anxiety in many cases leads to depression. A depressed person often experiences stress, which only aggravates hair loss. Anxiety can also lead to a feeling of desperation – something that can make an individual to take impulsive and imprudent decisions.

Effects of hair loss on social life are grave

When meeting someone, we tend to make sure that we are well-groomed and are looking our best. But, when you are suffering from hair loss, the feeling of looking unattractive can be so intense that it stops you from going out and meeting people. There is always a fear of being laughed at or teased. In fact, research has shown that hair loss can make a person the object of teasing or disrespect. It has been estimated that 60 per cent of all bald men are teased at some point in their lives. This is the reason many men and women start to limit their social activities and stop going out with someone after their hair loss reaches a visible level.

How to cope with the psychological effects of hair loss?

Coping with the emotional impact of hair loss can be tough as there is always a feeling of loneliness, even if your friends and family are supportive. Although many people learn to deal with the stress eventually, things can become easier if you choose to use hair loss treatments. There are many different kinds of hair loss solutions that can help slow or stop hair thinning.

Talking to a professional counsellor can also be a great way of dealing with emotional aspect of hair loss. In fact, many times sharing your experiences and stories, with others who are suffering from hair loss can also be empowering and motivating.