Hair loss (alopecia) and thinning hair may be caused by many different health related factors. Reasons for hair loss symptoms may be due to medications, genetics, weight loss, stress, hormones, pregnancy, thyroid conditions or deficiencies in your diet. Regardless of the reason, the realisation you're losing your hair can trigger a range of emotional reactions which may be difficult to deal with.
Men and women place great importance on their hair. We live in an image-conscious society where youth and physical perfection is glorified. Every day the media remind us how to style our hair, manage our weight and hide our imperfections. Many men associate a full head of hair with their youth, masculinity and attractiveness. Long flowing locks on a female is associated with sensuality and beauty. Many people are able to accept their hair loss. For others, hair loss symptoms can lead to significant emotional distress which shouldn’t be underestimated.
The psychological impact of hair loss
The psychological impact of hair loss can often be brushed aside by those will a full head of hair. For hair loss sufferers, it can be seriously distressing and begin to impact day to day life in the following ways:
- Hair loss can lead a person to feel depressed and anxious;
- Sufferers may question who they are, their attractiveness and their gender identity;
- People may experience poor self-esteem and self-confidence;
- Hair loss can trigger feelings of stress, which can exacerbate the problem;
- People suffering from hair loss may have feelings of paranoia and worry about what others think—this can lead to social anxiety, and impact on social and work activities.
Effective ways to manage emotional reactions to hair loss
Like our mental and physical health, staying on top of it doesn’t have one simple solution. Your attitude towards hair loss is crucial in getting your mind on a more positive pathway. If your hair loss is getting the better of you, start with these simple steps.
1. Discuss your hair loss with your GP.
If you’ve only recently noticed hair loss or thinning, you should consult your GP. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis of what may be causing your hair loss. Hair loss disorders can be linked to a wide range of health factors. By getting to the cause, you can begin to seek out a solution. Some types of hair loss can be easily explained and may only be a temporary reaction. Depending on the condition, your GP may recommended learning more about your condition which can do wonders to calm your worries.
2. Investigate hair loss treatment options with a trichologist.
If your hair loss is causing you psychological distress, it’s worth investigating the many options available to combat hair loss. It’s a good idea to consult with a professional trichologist — a hair and scalp specialist. They can take you through the many hair loss treatments available. Hair loss treatments and applications all have pros, cons and potential side effects to be aware of. Depending on what’s causing your hair loss, an expert can advise you on the best products suited to treat your condition.
3. Try to think positively and put your hair loss into perspective.
While an emotional reaction to hair loss is completely normal, remind yourself that your hair doesn’t define you as a person. Think about your family and friends who care for you and love you for who you are. Your hair is not your only attribute. Try to focus on the many other positive attributes that make up your identity. If you’re finding it difficult to stay positive or if you can see your hair loss is restricting how you live your life, you may find it helpful to talk to a counsellor or psychologist.
4. Eat healthy, hair-friendly foods and vitamins.
The link between hair loss and health is obvious. We know hair loss can be triggered by vitamin deficiencies, with links to low levels of zinc, iron and vitamin D2. We also know protein is required to produce keratin, a protective and structural protein in the hair. To help with your hair loss, make sure your diet includes some hair-friendly foods. You may also try hair nutrition capsules to supplement your diet.
5. Reduce your stress and relax more.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what comes first: Did stress cause your hair loss, or is your hair loss causing you to stress? What we do know is how important it is to reduce stress levels. Stress can exacerbate your hair loss. It's time to prioritise a lunch time walk, a short meditation or that yoga class you've been meaning to get to. You may be surprised at how effective this can be in relaxing your mind and reducing worry about your hair loss.
Would you like to know more?
A holistic approach to hair loss can help improve your emotions - simply knowing that you’re doing all you can. If you’d like further advice on how to manage your hair loss, contact us online or give us a call on 1300 867 745.