How hair loss can impact your mental health

Published on Jul 04, 2022 08:50 PM IST
  • Experts say alopecia or hair loss can potentially have a psychological impact in the form of stress, anxiety, depression, loss of confidence, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and social phobia.
Studies have found that substantial hair fall could lead to lack of self-esteem and a host of other mental health issues ranging from stress and anxiety to suicidal tendencies in extreme cases.(Shutterstock)
Studies have found that substantial hair fall could lead to lack of self-esteem and a host of other mental health issues ranging from stress and anxiety to suicidal tendencies in extreme cases.(Shutterstock)

Hair is probably among the first things people notice in someone and tend to form an opinion about his or her personality. Whether its curly, flowy, straightened or just natural, your hair certainly tells something about you. Good and healthy hair not only gives confidence but also helps in making style statement. In case, hair starts falling prematurely and early in the age it has huge psychological effect on the person. Studies have found that substantial hair fall could lead to lack of self-esteem and a host of other mental health issues ranging from stress and anxiety to suicidal tendencies in extreme cases. (See pics: Suffering from hair loss? Here are a few superfoods you need to add to your diet immediately)

Dr. Debraj Shome, a Cosmetic Surgeon and Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Dermatologist at The Esthetic Clinics conducted a questionnaire-based study on patients visiting different cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore. The study has been published in the journal of Dermatological Reviews, about alopecia’s (hair fall) impact on the quality of life among adults in India. To understand the effects of hair loss in people, around 800 patients above 18 years old responded to the questionnaire, out of which 442 were male and 358 were female. Based on the data, it was noticed that in the age group of 18-30 years, 30% male and 27% female reported hair fall problems which impacted their social life. They felt depressed, stayed at home, and avoided socialising. Many of them were reported to feel ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, humiliated, or annoyed due to alopecia.

"Balding or thinning hair can be more traumatic for women in a society and culture where a bald man may be socially acceptable but a bald woman is not with her hair being symbolic of her femininity. The mental health relevance and public health concern of alopecia need to be recognized and an inter‐disciplinary approach should be adopted for its resolution," says Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Dermatologist at The Esthetic Clinic.

"Alopecia or hair loss can potentially have a psychological impact in the form of stress, anxiety, depression, loss of confidence, low esteem, suicidal thoughts, and social phobia due to affecting their physical appearance. Approximately, 50% of men and women irrespective of their age are affected by alopecia due to several factors such as physical, chemical, hormonal changes, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, congenital diseases, infections, and neoplasms etc. This shows that what is not on the head (hair) can actually impact what's inside the head," says Dr. Debraj Shome, a renowned Cosmetic Surgeon, Co-Founder, at The Esthetic Clinics.

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