Deep Rooted Effects of Female Hair Loss
A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. Until you start to lose it.
Over 30 million women in the U.S. are suffering from hair loss or thinning, and while hair loss is often falsely thought of as merely a cosmetic problem, surveys and studies have found that hair loss can have wide-ranging effects on those afflicted, including loss of confidence and self-esteem, and in some cases, depression, anxiety and other emotional issues. The psychological effects of hair loss can be especially damaging to women.
A study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that women suffered more emotionally and mentally, and were more likely to develop a negative body image due to hair loss when compared to men who were dealing with the same issue. Why is hair loss so emotionally and psychologically devastating to women? In nearly every culture, hair is associated with youth, beauty, and good health, which explains why we try so hard to hold onto it.
There are many misconceptions about female hair loss, most notably how common it is. Roughly half of all women over the age of 40 suffer from some form of hair loss. That’s right – half. While most people tend to think of hair loss as a man’s problem, the reality is that women are almost just as likely as men to lose their hair. They do however lose their hair differently, the main difference being that female hair loss occurs more diffusely over the affected areas of scalp, leaving some follicles unscathed while severely miniaturizing others.
Genetics and other factors determine the time of onset, speed and severity of loss over time. Female hair loss can be mild or severe, and there are a variety of factors at work that determine how a woman’s hair will change over time. Hair loss can start at any age – teens, twenties, thirties, forties, and a woman’s risk skyrockets after menopause. But despite its prevalence, there is an undeniable societal stigma associated with female hair loss. When men experience hair loss, they have the option to simply shave it off and forget about it, where unfortunately for women, there isn’t a similar socially acceptable option. This is where the higher risk of depression, anxiety and embarrassment comes into play for women.