Recent studies have shown that a staggering number of people are concerned about hair loss.
A poll by TV show Loose Women found that 94 per cent of women worry about losing their hair. A similar survey carried out by the Daily Star newspaper found that 91 per cent of men were fearful about going bald.
This latest research is by no means scientific though these are the types of numbers that continually come up when men and women are asked how they feel about hair loss. However, whilst many worry about it, others concerns run far deeper, resulting in psychological phobias.
There are five main phobias relating to hair. These are mostly believed to result from traumatic childhood experiences such as getting a bad haircut or head lice, although a genetic element is also thought to be possible.
Each fear takes its name from a different Greek or Spanish word combined with ‘phobia’ which is derived from the Greek ‘phobos’ which translates as a ‘deep dread or aversion’.
1 Chaetophobia – Fear of human hair
This fear extends to both the sufferer’s own hair as well as other people’s hair. Those affected often report nausea when they have to touch their own hair and many choose to shave their heads as a coping mechanism.
The word chaetophobia comes from ‘khaite’ which means ‘loose, flowing hair’.
2 Trichophobia – Fear of hair loss or loose hairs
This phobia makes people morbidly afraid of losing their hair or, especially, seeing stray hairs – in the shower or on clothing, for example. It can also result in the delusional fear of there being something in their roots which is preventing hair growth.
Trichophobia takes its name from the Ancient Greek word for hair – ‘tricho’.
3 Hypertrichophobia – Fear of body hair
Like Trichophobia but relates to a fear of body – rather than scalp – hair, particularly an excess of body hair.
The name is closely related to ‘hypertrichosis’ which is also known as Werewolf Syndrome. This is a medical condition whereby those affected have an unusually large amount of body hair, generally focused on the torso and limbs.
4 Peladophobia – Fear of baldness or bald people
This fear of baldness including going bald and/or bald people can be extremely troubling in every day life. Sufferers have been known to practice avoidance techniques including stockpiling shampoos, hair loss treatments and anything they believe will prevent baldness. Additionally those affected can withdraw from society to varying degrees in order to minimize their chances of coming into contact with bald people.
The word peladophobia comes from the Spanish for bald: ‘pelado’.
5 Tonsurephobia – Fear of getting a haircut
Having a phobia of getting a haircut is so much more than worrying about ending up with an unflattering hairstyle. The deep-seated anxiety sufferers feel can cause heart palpitations, sweating and lead to them avoiding having their hair cut altogether.
This condition takes its name from the Greek word ‘Tonsure’ meaning ‘to cut’.
Anyone suffering from suspected phobias should consult their GP for support. Psychotherapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) have been known to be effective in helping people to deal with or overcome phobias. However, when the panic and anxiety caused by such disorders is so acute that it causes societal dysfunction, medication may also be required.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.