The psychology of hair loss and its implications
Androgenic/female pattern hair loss is the most common hair loss disorder in men and women. It might have a profound psychological impact and therefore significantly reduce the quality of life. A head full of hair is an essential part of a woman’s sexuality and it accentuates gender identity. More or less visible hair loss may bring about feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem. Hair loss, both in women and men can distort their perception of their attractiveness. Hair loss that has been detected in the early stages, although not noticeable to others can still considerably diminish the sense of personal appeal. Women in comparison to men are more likely to have lowered quality of life and they may become self-conscious about their look and hair and even restrict social contacts.
Many women are mostly concerned about others noticing their hair loss, inability to style their hair, the continuing hair fall and dissatisfaction with their appearance.
It is very helpful to be aware of your internal dialogue when you noticed you loose hair. We usually simply get used to it, accept it and never question it. This internal dialogue is usually fed by news, opinions or even the article you reading now. The question is: Are you aware of it?
Let me help you notice some of the patterns that might freely run through your head. They are so blatantly obvious that we are unable to notice them and even when we do we have a tendency not to question them. For example:
How self-conscious have you become about people looking at your hair or how self-conscious about you hair you are now?
We usually don’t notice this “primordial” self-consciousness or rather ignore it and instead of examining the very feeling that accompanies this question we react to it. The moment you start reacting it becomes a problem. From there starts anxiety, uncertainty, more and more questions and less answers.
Can you ask yourself these questions and be aware of your feelings:
How much time do you spend checking your hair in the mirror because of the problems with your hair?
Or how unattractive have you felt because of the problems with your hair?
Or how much is interacting with the opposite sex (or same sex) uncomfortable for you because of the problems with your hair?
I’m asking myself this question: how jealous/envious have I become about other people who have lots of hair? Answer: I’m a bit jealous.
Asking however is not enough in my opinion. There’s a feeling that accompanies it. This feeling itself makes me react to it.
The more I’m familiar with the feeling the less my hair loss affects me. How come? Dealing with effects is just sticking plaster and this is what we usually do – in many cases spend fortunes on hair transplants, completely not aware of our degrading internal dialogue and simply ignoring our feelings. Noticing causes changes perception or rather approach. In this case you might say: Ok, you’ve sorted it but you still want to have more hair?
If you want something you admit that you miss something. If you don’t want something it means you have it and want to get rid of it.
Do you want more hair? Ask yourself but before you start searching for answers just try to stay with the feeling. Don’t evaluate, don’t look for solutions, just stay with it and watch it. And try to become aware of this feeling in your daily life.
Don’t try to get rid of it! Rather welcome it, be compassionate and understanding. Let it be. Accept it in other words. This feeling is you, what else could it be? Accepting the feeling means accepting yourself with a head full of hair or thinning hair or bald or whatever.
The more you do it the more connected you are, less relaxed, content and you will start question a little bit more some of the thoughts that run through your mind.
I think this is the orientation where we might want to begin to explore our hair loss problem. From this orientation flows compassion and acceptance. We can become more stable and start doubting salesmanship, miraculous products or treatments. Ultimately this is relief and not only in the sphere of hair loss.
I still use Volume Hair Plus which sounds silly after everything I’ve written. Yes I use it every now and then but my hair loss problem doesn’t toss me away any more. Yes, it does exist, I cannot deny it but it’s no longer that important. Today’s society demands to be perfect and maybe that’s the reason I use it when interacting with others but it’s not that important. I happen to forget to apply the concealer every now and then and I’m not that bothered. In the end hair loss is unavoidable and if you want to avoid it you really avoid facing yourself and your impermanent nature.