Hair loss can cause devastating psychological effects
Put your mind to it and you can probably come up with several examples of bald men who are considered sexy. First there was Yul Brynner, then Bruce Willis, now Patrick Stewart and Jason Statham.
But there are few bald women in the public eye. So when a woman goes through hair loss the psychological effects can be devastating. And yet female baldness isn’t being treated as the medical concern it really is, with many women feeling that their doctors are dismissing their problem as cosmetic and therefore not of great importance.
Around five million women experience hair loss at some point in their lives – it’s often connected with a drop in hormonal levels (such as if you stop taking hormone replacement therapy), diabetes, thyroid problems, as well as some medications. For some women, however, it is related to stress (stress alopecia) with hair loss occurring all over the scalp rather than in patches. And now a study published in the the Journal of Applied Cosmetology reveals how such hair loss affects women.
Researchers followed women with genetic hair loss over a two-year period, assessing their psychological wellbeing throughout. They found that if the hair loss is left untreated women are likely to suffer with long-term psychological problems. The study participants were given a six-month treatment to control further hair loss and improve the appearance of their hair. This included topical treatments such as laser therapy and supplements containing niacin and Marilex, a fish extract.
All participants – both those who had severe or moderate hair loss at the start of the study – showed psychological improvements at the end of the treatment, with reduced anxiety and depression, and an increase in self-esteem and social interaction.
Further research undertaken by Nourkrin asked 2000 women how they felt about hair loss – 45% said that losing their hair was their worst fear, rated as more worrying than sagging skin or putting on weight. “Many women believe that an unidentified health issue is causing their hair loss,” says Dr. David Kingsley, leading trichologist and president of the World Trichology Society. “This can then become a vicious cycle where stress exacerbates the hair loss, making the woman more concerned... and thus more hair loss occurs.”