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The Psychological Impact of Male Hair Loss

The Psychological Impact of Male Hair Loss

Ageism is not just reserved for supermodels and athletes. In hyper-competitive areas of business like technology and consulting, hair loss at a young age can lead to many career difficulties including insecurity, and an inability to perform in high pressure situations.

Male pattern baldness has often been called the cancer of the spirit

While some men will make the transition from a full head of hair to balding look very easy, there is undoubtedly a sense of dread that comes over anyone when they see the first signs of their hairline retreating. The retreating hairline, which is the most common symptom of androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, often contributes to a man looking older. This seemingly small change can cause a dramatic loss in confidence. This issue is amplified even more when the hair loss occurs at an early age when the majority of other men still have a full head of hair.

This issue comes to a head especially for those who have to speak publicly at conferences, or make presentations in front of important investors, clients, or colleagues. In these situations where appearance is just as important as the substance being delivered, balding men can struggle to present the best version of themselves. That lack of confidence can equal millions, or even billions, of dollars in lost opportunity, innovation, and collaboration.

Why? Simply put, hair loss makes men look older. Hair loss, more than any other physical change, dramatically signals the end of youth, vitality and desirability. It’s like filing an AARP card with none of the wisdom, or decades of financial responsibility to retire on. But it’s not just the fault of the man. As members of western society we all make unconscious associations that equate hair loss with the end of youth.

Suffering from hair loss can also cause issues in the workplace as men who are balding are often perceived as being older. This can lead some employers to see balding men as less likely to have the cutting edge skills necessary to succeed in competitive environments.

Hopelessness is a man's achilles heel

While some men are able to easily accept the loss of their hair, there are others who fall into a spiral of depression, insecurity, and poor self image due to their changed appearance. Men, more so than women, feel that hair loss signals a loss of control in their lives. They often have increased anxiety and despair due to an inability to stop their changing appearance. This is especially damaging in western culture where male stoicism is a badge of honor, and an inability to exert control over one’s life (or physical appearance) is in direct conflict with that ideal.

Some research has shown that hair loss can lead to a general feeling of being ugly and even, in some extreme cases, it can lead to a body dysmorphic disorder where a person has overwhelming anxiety about their looks.

A symbol of decreased sexual potency

Let’s face it with the exception of bad to the bone bald guys like Vin Diesel, The Rock, and Bruce Willis, most celebrity sex symbols have full heads of luxurious hair. Brad Pitt, Idris Elba, George Clooney, and Denzel Washington all have full heads of hair. While we can pretend to not be influenced by society’s beauty standards, it’s clear that these figures drive how our culture perceives handsomeness, sexuality, success, and overall physical health. For example male body standards have changed over the years, and this is reflected in the types of movie stars and celebrities we see. Hair is no different.

Hair loss can have an effect on relationships as men often feel that the loss of their hair signals the end of their youth, and attractiveness to others. The side effects of this can be pretty Hair loss can also lead to instances of social avoidance where the person avoids attending social gatherings and other events to avoid being seen with a balding appearance by others.

What to do about hair loss?

The biggest issue surrounding male pattern baldness, isn’t balding itself but rather how it begins to erode the confidence at the core of manhood. Without confidence, most men devolve into anxious, depressed, self-loathing, perpetually angry shells of their former selves. So the first step is to tackle the issue of male pattern baldness head on, and eliminate the negative feelings that will eventually bubble to the surface.

There are many solutions to this. The first is to take a proactive role in treating and loving your hair. This will prevent long-term hair damage that may lead to balding down the road. Natural supplements and DHT blockers can make strong inroads in preventing hair loss by promoting healthy hair growth. In other words, you don’t prevent a cold by taking cold medicine, start today to avoid the hardships of tomorrow.

If you’re already seeing signs of balding or receding hair line then you’re essentially playing catchup, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Typically about 10-20% of hair loss will occur before anyone will notice a difference. The good thing is that trend is easily reversible with oral and topical treatments like Finasteride and Minoxidil. While it may take months to really start to see results, the fact is that with continued use both solutions can help reverse the physical, and psychological effects of balding.

That’s a small price to pay for restoring confidence in your physical appearance and being the best man you can be when it counts the most.