02 / 22 / 15

The Psychological Effects Hair Loss Has On Women

Of all the Bible quotes that permeate our society, none can cause women, suffering hair loss, more pain than “A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.” Hair loss in women is devastating and can affect their emotional well-being. Hair, that biblical crowning glory, is associated with a woman’s” sexuality, sensuality and beauty.”

Physicians tend to pay little attention to the hair loss issue in women, often dismissing it as “no big deal.” In fact, unless a woman points it out to her internist or her gynecologist as a concern during her regular exam, it most likely is treated as a normal phenomenon of the aging process.

Women experiencing hair loss can feel unattractive, and some physicians are completely overlooking the psychological damage that can be caused by hair loss, and that, ultimately, can take a toll on physical health, as well as mental health. A number of scientific studies have proven that women suffering hair loss are much more likely to suffer psychologically than men, and that the psychological effects are far more severe.

Documented reasons for this are:

  • Women have a psychological investment in their appearance.
  • Women are highly sensitive to the social expectation that “a woman’s hair is her crowning glory.”
  • Women with hair loss feel that they are not being taken seriously by family and friends.
  • Women have less of a support system for hair loss than men.

Hair loss in women is not thought of as “normal”, even though it normally occurs in both sexes. For years hair loss has mistakenly been perceived as a man’s problem. But, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, “forty percent of women have visible hair loss by the time they are age 40.” For most women this amounts to the bemoaning that their hair is not as thick as it once was. But, for another percentage of women, it means that they have noticeably less hair than a woman should have, and their scalp is showing no matter how they part or style their hair.

When investigators questioned women on the devastation of their hair loss, these were some of the responses that women gave:

  • “I think about my hair loss all the time.”
  • “I wish I had more hair.”
  • “I worry about losing even more hair.”
  • “I feel frustrated and helpless about my hair loss.”
  • “I feel self-conscious about my looks due to hair loss.”
  • “I worry about how my hair loss will affect my career/marriage/dating/sexual activity.”
  • “I worry that I am unattractive.”

A woman with hair loss should meet with a hair restoration specialist to determine if she is a candidate for surgical hair restoration or some other treatment to provide a satisfying result. Whatever course of action is chosen there is hope for women suffering from hair loss. The public awareness of this situation needs to be addressed.

It is, perhaps, because of the lack of public awareness of hair loss in women, that the psychological impact of female hair loss in under-appreciated. Hair loss in women needs to be recognized for the impact it has on a woman’s self-esteem and psychological well-being.