Standing in front of your bathroom mirror every morning, you notice more and more strands of hair left on your hair brush. At first, the loss may not be noticeable. You may frown and wonder why, but with a busy day ahead, your mind soon shifts to other more pressing issues.
Over time, you’re still able to cover up the thinning area, possibly styling your hair differently or even buying a volumizing spray. However, at a certain point, you notice your scalp becoming visible. The hairs become further and further apart. You have a busy life, and doctors’ visits aren’t normally something you have time or money for.
This change in appearance is affecting your self-esteem. Even if your hair was never one of your favorite features, you now realize it really was your crowning glory. You may find yourself turning down the chance to hang out with friends or even avoiding going out in public. Hats may start to become part of your daily wardrobe.
It practically goes without saying that any sort of hair loss (or alopecia as it is known in the medical community) is cause for alarm; it is a good reason to go straight to your doctor and determine the cause.
If you get nothing else from the time spent reading this, it should be this: the sooner you are able to determine the “root” cause of your hair loss, the sooner you can begin to form a plan of action and cope with its effects.
So what are the emotional effects of hair loss in women?
- Concerns about aging. We unconsciously relate our loss of hair with a loss of youth and therefore inevitable aging.
- Dissatisfaction with appearance and poor body image. A change in hair or altered hairline can really change a person’s appearance. Perception of this change as negative can have a profound effect on a person’s overall self-worth.
- Decreased self-esteem. A sense of physical attractiveness is an essential element of self-esteem. When hair loss occurs, it can rapidly lead to a negative opinion of one’s overall pride.
- Loss of confidence. Along with embarrassment and shyness, hair loss can easily result in loss of confidence in women. Where we were once able to approach social situations, we may now feel inadequate.
- Jealousy and envy. Coveting other women’s healthy locks is a common reaction to hair loss in women. This feeling of inadequacy can often fuel other emotional effects as well.
- Introversion and depression. If left untreated, the emotional effects of hair loss can result in a woman isolating herself and suffering from clinical depression.
Each of the above repercussions is completely normal. Losing your hair is traumatic at any age no matter the cause; however, there is hope!
Medication, such as Minoxidil, have created new hope for women experiencing alopecia. You can also take heart in the fact that hair loss due to hormonal changes is often temporary. Even complete hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment is considered a temporary condition.
In the mean time you can boost your confidence by:
- Shopping for a wig. It may sound superficial, but the minute that you slip on a wig you may quickly feel up to leaving the house again. Wigs have come a long way, and now even many acrylic wigs look very realistic. You can shop for a wig that closely matches your natural hair or go for a new look.
- Finding a hairpiece. You can mask localized hair loss with the use of a clever hairpiece such as a topper for the crown of your head.
- Experimenting with colorful scarves and hats. These can be worn alone or as a combination. You can search Google celeb looks and you’ll find that they are actually very much in fashion.
- Focusing on your health. The only sure-fire way to give yourself the best chances of coping with your hair loss is to prioritize a healthy diet and get the right amount of exercise. Consider taking up yoga, which integrates elements of both mental and physical wellness.
Hair loss in women is actually much more common than you might think. If you or someone you know is suffering from it, the first step is to determine the cause. After a visit with your doctor, you can begin to cope with the emotional effects.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to friends and family about your condition, take the time to join an online forum or discussion group. Sometimes it can be surprisingly easy to type your feelings out anonymously. You’ll be amazed by how much support is actually available.
You can also consider seeking professional therapy to help you process your emotions related to hair loss. In the meantime, keep in mind that your feelings about the condition are perfectly normal. Breathe in, develop a plan of action and this too, shall pass.
Written by Nyima Bieber