Hair Loss in Women Often Causes a Crisis of Self-Esteem


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Hair loss affects men and women, young and old. Although men, too, can have self-esteem issues related to hair loss, for women it is often even more traumatic.

From the time they are preteens, women spend a significant amount of time concerned with beauty — makeup, skin care and, of course, hair. Advertisements glamorize healthy, shiny, lustrous hair. Men talk about their attraction to women with thick, long, brilliant locks. Women spend countless hours brushing, curling, dyeing, conditioning and styling hair. Therefore, when a woman finds herself losing her hair, she can have an intense reaction to the reality of hair loss.

Hair loss and looking old

A major part of why women lose their self-esteem with hair loss has to do with the fact that thinning hair can make them look significantly older — a tremendous worry for most women. The stress of hair loss can cause emotional problems that affect their self-worth, love life, career and more. Women with hair loss can experience embarrassment, anxiety and even depression.

If your hair loss is affecting your self-esteem and your life, find out the cause of your thinning hair and research treatment options.

Pinpointing the cause of hair loss

You might first notice that your hair is thinning when you see a receding hairline or visible differences in hair density when you part your hair. However, because female hair loss is often all over the head (diffuse) rather than in just one area, you may miss the initial signs until you have a significant amount of thinning or find excessive amounts of hair in the shower, in your hairbrush or on your pillow. The first thing that you should do is to consult your doctor to explore the possible causes for your hair loss or thinning. Some types of hair loss may be temporary and reversible with proper diet, nutrition and supplements.

Some common causes of hair loss in women include alopecia, anemia, diabetes, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pregnancy, thyroid disease and trichotillomania (TTM; compulsive hair plucking). Hair loss can also be due to certain types of medication, such as blood thinners, birth control pills and antidepressants. Additionally, chemical treatments (hair dyes, straighteners and perms) can cause inflammation of the hair follicle, resulting in hair loss. General aging, as well, can contribute to hair thinning.

Hair loss treatment options

After you have determined the reason behind your hair loss, you can work on a solution. If your hair thinning is attributed to hormonal causes, you may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in order to restore your thinning hair. There are also topical (minoxidil/Rogaine) and oral (finasteride/Propecia) medications that might help with hair loss. You may be an appropriate candidate for hair restoration surgery as well. If you would rather just cover up your thinning hair, you can find an array of hats, scarves and head wraps from which to choose. Also, talk to your hairstylist about the best haircut for thinning hair. Perhaps you should consider hair extensions — they can add volume and texture to your hair to reduce the appearance of hair loss.

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Psychological recovery from hair loss

Restoring your hair shouldn’t be your only concern; you will also need to restore your self-esteem. If the psychological impact of your hair loss has damaged your self-worth and caused significant stress in your life, talk with a professional. A counselor or psychiatrist can help you find ways to reduce stress and learn to love yourself, no matter how thin your hair might be. Although hair loss can seem devastating initially, it doesn’t need to cause long-term emotional and psychological damage.