|What Negative Effects One Can Get From Thinning Hair?
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Negative Effects of Hair Loss
Losing one’s hair certainly isn’t the end of the world, but for some people,
it might just feel that way. While physically, hair loss is, in general, a
painless ordeal and isn’t necessarily life-threatening, some people might find
that losing their hair can nevertheless herald the collapse of one’s social life
and bring an onslaught of psychological and emotional distress.
The following detrimental effects associated with hair loss certainly won’t
be true for everyone. Some may be confident and self-assured enough to not let
such things affect them, and others might be fortunate enough to have a
supportive community to help them cope.
Hair Loss and an Older Appearance
Hair loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. For those fortunate
enough to reach a ripe, old age, hair loss is an occurrence as normal as grey or
white hair, wrinkles or poor eyesight. Some elderly folk may even have the good
fortune of having their hair loss limited to just thinning in a few areas –not
having to deal with total baldness at all.
Knowing this, it’s quite understandable how across many cultures, hair has
become an indicator of one’s youth. But for a number of people, hair loss might
occur at a time that’s nowhere near old age. As a result, they might end up
looking a lot older than they actually are, depending on the degree of hair loss
Hair Loss and a Look of Frailty
Besides youth, across many cultures, hair is also a sign of one’s health and
vitality, so those experiencing hair loss might appear frail or sickly. There
may well be some truth to this notion, as certain illnesses can indeed cause
one’s hair to fall out, such as hypothyroidism, lupus, and scalp infections.
Hair loss can also result from malnutrition. Besides being an effect of
sickness, hair loss can also be the result of one’s treatment of another,
unrelated aliment, as is the case of patients who undergo chemotherapy.
Hair Loss and Children
One might assume that the problem of hair loss is something that only adults
have to deal with, but there are cases of children and adolescents experiencing
hair loss due to cases of telogen effluvium, skin infections, alopecia areata,
or an early onset of androgenetic alopecia.
Experiencing hair loss at their age can be especially difficult, since it
comes at a time when there is generally a heightened concern with how one looks
(in the case of adolescents). More difficult, however, is the fact that the
child has to deal with the situation at a time when one, as well as one’s peer
group, might not be mature, understanding, and civil enough towards the
condition as compared to adults. It can lead to teasing and mockery by one’s
peers. Because of this, the child can become more anxious, depressed, withdrawn,
and feel alienated. Conversely, the child may instead develop a more aggressive
and delinquent behaviour as a result.
Hair Loss and Women
Hair for women can be considered a crucial aspect of their feminine identity.
It’s symbolically linked to one’s attractiveness, personality, and sexuality.
Moreover, hair also acts as an avenue for self-expression for women –much more
so as compared to men. Women style, cut, bob, tie, treat, curl, straighten,
ornament, and dye their hair to a much greater degree and much more often, as
compared to the opposite sex. Lengthy hair is considered a generally feminine
characteristic, so those aiming to look more feminine might choose to grow their
hair out; while those who want to appear more butch might choose to have their
hair cut short, or perhaps shaved off entirely. Some women set aside great
amounts of time and resources in order to take good care of their hair.
With so many things attributed to hair for women, it’s no wonder that its
loss can be seriously detrimental for their self-esteem and their body-image. It
could feel as if a woman has lost a very important part of herself –which is
certainly true to an extent in the literal sense. They might develop a
diminished sense of self and identity, feeling like “less of a woman.” They
might feel embarrassed about their condition and become more self-conscious
about and feel less confident with their appearance and as such lead to bouts of
depression and increased levels of anxiety.
Hair Loss and Careers
Some of us have jobs that require us to interact with or perhaps to be seen
by a lot of people. Media personalities, models, spokespersons, escorts, and
teachers are examples of people with such occupations. With jobs like these,
there usually comes a heightened sense of self-consciousness towards one’s image
and how one presents him or herself. With a greater concern for how one looks,
hair loss can have significantly detrimental impact on one’s job performance.
True, sometimes thinning hair can make one look more intelligent or experienced,
but more often than not, this isn’t really the case –and even then, such a
quality is not necessarily suited for all kinds of occupations. Clients might
not find their appearances to be appealing, causing one to lose business; and if
one’s hair loss can cause a decreases one’s confidence levels, it can diminish
one’s effectiveness on the job as well. Perhaps the worst that way in which hair
loss can affect one’s career is when one chooses to not go out to work at all,
if their condition has caused such a great amount of embarrassment and
introversion that a person becomes excessively and unhealthily withdrawn.
Hair Loss and Romance
One of the very first things we notice about another person when we see them
is their hair. We might compliment a lady’s new haircut suiting her, or perhaps
suggest a friend to adopt a new hairstyle of to try a different hair tint to
look nicer. We might style our hair in a particular manner to make ourselves
look slimmer or taller or to give an air of professionalism. There is a plethora
of things we can do with our hair to improve our appearance or to express
ourselves. Sometimes, we do all these things for the off-chance that someone who
notices might end up becoming a significant other. Experiencing hair loss can
diminish –or sometimes even completely take away- all these options for
beautification and self-expression –and with them, our hopes of romance. Hair
loss can make people more self-conscious about their physical appearance and
leave them feeling dissatisfied with how they look. They might consider
themselves to look unattractive with their condition –and sometimes, other
people do agree to that idea. It can affect single people as well as those who
are already romantically involved.
The notion of unattractiveness can cause people to lose self-confidence and
become more withdrawn and introverted. A decrease in one’s amenability to
socializing can be especially devastating for those yearning for romance, since
one’s shyness can develop further into a feeling of hopelessness, and that
hopelessness can lead to episodes of depression and states of anxiousness. For
those who find themselves less hindered by their hair loss to socialize, it may
still affect their chances of success in establishing relationships. It can
limit the ways in which one can present oneself to another person –for example,
a person with a bald spot might find himself being limited to wearing a
comb-over, and a person with diffuse hair loss might just end up wearing a hat
all day. One’s confidence levels can also drop, making one less likely to seem
appealing to another person. There’s also the possibility that the other person
might just not find one attractive, and so is reluctant to engage in a
For people already in a relationship, one or both partners experiencing hair
loss can become a root for marital problems. Increased stress and anxiousness
brought about by hair loss can cause people’s tempers to shorten and thus become
more irritable, causing more conflicts to ensue.
Susceptibility to the Negative Effects of Hair Loss
The way hair loss affects one person certainly won’t the same for everyone
else, since there are different cases of hair loss, different kinds of people,
and different ways of coping. People with access to a support system in the form
of one’s family, friends, and a more accepting community fare better in coping
than those without one. Some might find that one type of hair loss hits harder
than others as well. Those with androgenetic alopecia may find that their hair
loss –with a more gradual progression- seems more ‘natural’ and so are able to
deal with it better, as compared to those with more sudden or irregular-looking
types of hair loss like telogen effluvium or alopecia areata.
In fact, in 1994, a study by John Y. Koo and his colleagues examined the
relationship between alopecia areata and psychiatric disorders. They concluded
that individuals with alopecia areata had greater risk of developing depressive
disorders such as social phobia, paranoid disorder, and generalized anxiety
disorder, as compared to the general population.
A study done in 1992 by Thomas F. Cash on the psychological effects of
androgenetic alopecia in men showed that hair loss brought about considerable
stress and fixation with the condition, as well as a conscious effort to cope
with it. This was especially evident in romantically unattached, younger men, as
well as those with greater amounts of hair loss and those with an earlier onset
of the condition.
Another study by Cash and his associates, done the succeeding year, compared
the psychological impact of androgenetic alopecia between men and women. While
the condition was found to be stressful for both sexes, it was found to be
considerably more so for women. They exhibited patterns of less adaptive
functioning, and their perception of their body-image was also more negative. It
is of note also that women are more susceptible to hair loss caused by stress
due to childbirth, and thus, also to the negative effects that may come about.
Some people dealing with hair loss might find the words “Bald is beautiful”
to be a source of solace. Some may even consider it a mantra through which they
can accept and deal with their condition. All well and good for those who can
find that they can handle their condition in that manner, but not everyone might
share their sentiments. Not every guy can be bald and find himself looking as
handsome as Michael Jordan or pull off a wizened, erudite look like Sean
Connery. It’s even harder for women, since so few can lose all the hair on their
heads and still look alluring like Kayla Martell or Natalie Portman. While it’s
not something that’s totally necessary for life, there is still great importance
given to our hair, culturally and personally. Identity, health, attractiveness,
self-image, self-worth, and self-expression are some concepts associated with
one’s hair; so understandably, the loss of it can sometimes bring about great
anxiety and turmoil; and for years and years, people have tried to regain what
they’ve lost –be it the hair on their heads or the less tangible things it
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