Dealing with hair thinning and loss can take a toll on you. Losing hair doesn't only cause a difference in physical appearance, often making you self-conscious; it can leave you with a sense of emptiness and loss. So, if you're feeling sad, anxious, or generally unhappy because of hair loss, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States suffer from hair loss. If it’s a friend or loved one going through a battle with hair loss, this will give you a broader picture of what they're going through, and you may be able to help them.
These are just 7 of the ways hair loss affects millions of Americans.
1. Feeling Unattractive
Hair has long been a great indicator of beauty. Some women have never lived a day without hair because their parents started braiding or styling it at a young age.
From childhood, some women are used to having thick, long and healthy hair from that could be styled with ease.
Because of that, sudden hair loss may feel like the world is ending. In addition, it can bring on a sense of unattractiveness that can lead to mental and emotional implications.
2. A Different Appearance
Selfies and videos are a massive part of life in the 21st century. Social media has changed the way we present ourselves to the world. Many women use filters for their Instagram photos and TikTok videos to enhance their looks.
The bar has been set unrealistically high for what is defined as beautiful, and long thick hair has always been part of that.
Therefore, seeing their new appearance on camera after experiencing hair loss can be shocking for many women. As a result, most of them will stop posting on social media to fear of how their followers may perceive them.
3. Discrimination in the Work Environment
Although it is considered unethical and illegal, physical appearance often plays a role in hiring. Therefore, loss of hair, and a change in one’s physical appearance, may hinder your chances at a job or, even worse, lead to job loss or discrimination. This can significantly affect one's self-esteem and confidence.
4. They Feel Socially Unacceptable
Although men also undergo psychological and physical changes when they experience hair loss, society seems more accepting. Seeing a man with a balding head of hair isn't exactly news.
But seeing a woman with a balding head is less common and, therefore, something that can cause unwanted attention in the form of stares and whispers.
For a woman who has always been complimented for her long hair, hair loss can significantly affect their self-esteem. As a result, some women will avoid social setups altogether.
5. Feeling Less Feminine
For some women, hair and makeup boost their feminine energy and appeal. But unfortunately, society has placed a heavy burden on physical appearance, equating it with one's self-worth. Therefore, thinning hair or full-head hair loss can feel like a loss of their entire identity.
Feeling less feminine will have psychological and social implications, likely affecting one’s confidence and dating life. Without beauty, they may feel like they no longer have anything to offer. For those in relationships, self-esteem issues rooted in hair loss can cause insecurities.
President Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of all joy." While it may be a cliché, it happens to be somewhat true. Social media shows people what they think they are missing out on or don’t have. It can even bring a sense of insecurity and unworthiness.
You bump into cute couples when you're lonely in the same way you'll experience seeing people with hair you long for after hair loss. The feeling of comparison doesn’t go away no matter how hard you try to forget it.
7. Anxiety and Depression
Finally, hair loss may cause anxiety and depression. For example, most women lose their hair after pregnancy. While they may be happy to welcome a new baby into their family, the emotional and physical changes, including hair loss, can be overwhelming.
While pregnant women don’t experience much hair loss after they give birth due to hormone changes, there is a lot of hair shedding. In addition, the fear of other bodily changes and whether or not things will ever go back to normal can cause anxiety or lead to postpartum depression.
So, What Next?
Hair loss can be hard to deal with – there are so many options for regrowing hair, but there is no magical serum to fix the emotional distress it causes.
Here are a few things I recommend you do to deal with it;
- Invest in a good wig or hair topper. Thanks to modern updates, getting a wig with the same color and texture as your natural hair is possible. And some, like lace front wigs, mimic your natural hair perfectly. Bringing a human hair wig will make the healing journey easier by avoiding unnecessary questions and comments regarding your hair loss.
- Seek professional help. If the pressure to look beautiful or fit into a mold society and social media have created too much for you, you may need to seek advice from a licensed therapist or counselor. They can talk you through steps to regain confidence and feel good about your appearance.