There is something to be said for aging gracefully.
Aging is inevitable and it follows a predictable pattern that starts with the development of fine lines that deepen over time. Next, your skin begins to sag, your joints start to ache, and you have trouble remembering names and details. At some point, you may need help completing daily tasks.
When life follows this predictable pattern, it’s easy to accept these changes. When things happen out of order, however, it can be a little more difficult to deal with.
As many as 66% of men develop some hair loss by the age of 35 and 85% of men aged 50 or older have some degree of hair loss. Age is one of the primary risk factors for hair loss which is what makes it so upsetting when it happens to young men.
Losing your hair at any age is difficult, but when it happens in your 20s or 30s it can be downright distressing. In the end, however, you have a choice in how you respond. Keep reading to learn how to keep your confidence when losing your hair.
The Psychological Impact of Hair Loss
Hair loss is a physical phenomenon but it has the potential to create psychological effects such as stress, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Why is hair loss so devastating?
Researchers suggest that it may have something to do with our culture and our definition of beauty. Throughout the centuries, humans have adorned their bodies in various ways from jewelry and clothing to tattoos and piercings. Over the years,
Aside from the cultural influences, hair is a prominent feature and it affects the way you see yourself. When hair loss becomes obvious, it may cause embarrassment or shame which, in turn, might cause you to withdraw from relationships or avoid social situations. Eventually, the mental effects of hair loss can work their way into your career and even your family life.
If you are still skeptical about the psychological effects of hair loss, consider the results of a recent study. According to the results of this study, hair loss can trigger a significant psychological breakdown, leading to an exaggerated feeling of ugliness. It can even trigger body dysmorphic disorder, a condition where the sufferer experiences strong anxiety about his appearance. Furthermore, doctors have discovered that the emotional burden of balding can destroy confidence, trigger mental disorders, and may even reduce the quality of life.
Tips for Keeping Your Confidence
Though you may not be able to choose how much hair you lose or how quickly it happens, you can choose how you let it affect you. One option is to become upset, depressed, or even angry. You could let the emotional weight of your hair loss seep into your work, your relationships, and even your daily life.
Your second option is to accept it. You don’t have to like the fact that you are losing your hair, but you should acknowledge that it is happening. The sooner you come to terms with your hair loss, the sooner you can start taking steps to resolve it.
If you choose the second option, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the psychological impact of hair loss and to restore and maintain your confidence. Here are some ideas:
- Put things in perspective. You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying that "you are your own worst critic" and it’s definitely true – you are harder on yourself than anyone else is. This also means that you probably view your hair loss more critically than others do. For you, it’s an unwanted change but, for others, it’s just part of your appearance – another thing that makes “you” you.
- Be practical about it. While it may be unpleasant, hair loss is not dangerous – it doesn’t pose a threat to your life. There are innumerable other diseases you could have that might impact your life and your livelihood more than your hair loss. Learning to live with your hair loss is a psychological challenge but it is only as difficult as you make it.
- Find a style that suits you. When your hair loss becomes noticeable, you may want to change up your hairstyle to work with rather than against your hair loss. For overall hair loss, shorter hairstyles tend to be more effective in disguising thinning hair than longer styles. If your hairline is receding, try growing out the hair at the front of your head and comb it backward. If you’re developing a bald spot on one side of your head, try parting your hair to that side. If all else fails, you can always shave it all
- Talk to your doctor. Depending on the type of hair loss you have and its underlying cause, it could be treatable! Talk to your doctor to see whether a hair loss treatment like finasteride or minoxidil might help to slow or stop your hair loss. Even if the results take months to develop, just knowing that you’re taking action to resolve the problem could be a boost to your confidence.
- Try talk therapy. If you’re still having trouble coping with your hair loss, there is no shame in seeking help! Rather than feeling weak or silly for going to a therapist for your hair loss, think of it as a step toward better mental health in general. No matter what causes them, issues with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can impact your mental health and talk therapy is widely recognized as one of the most effective forms of treatment for mental health issues.
You may not have a choice about losing your hair, but you can choose how you respond. You can either live in denial and allow your hair loss to destroy your confidence and reduce your quality of life, or you can take it for what it is and learn to deal with it. Confidence is a choice and, in spite of your hair loss, it is one that you should be making each and every day.