A 2019 Malaysian study investigated the impact hereditary hair loss has on men’s and women’s psychological health.
It found that men’s quality of life was more negatively affected by pattern hair loss than women’s.
However, the small-scale investigation, which comprised 125 participants aged 20 years and over, appears to have been male-skewed in that over 67 per cent of the participants were men (84 versus 41 females).
Psychological effects of hair loss
Despite androgenetic alopecia – more commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, as although it can cause extensive thinning, it rarely results in baldness in women – being widely seen as a ‘cosmetic’ issue, it can have significant psychological ramifications.
Many studies have been undertaken, essays have been written and first-person anecdotal evidence has been presented to confirm that hair loss is more than skin deep. A 2017 survey even found that men were turning to drink and drugs to cope with the lack of self-esteem they attributed to losing their hair.
The Malaysian research involved patients at a private hair loss clinic completing two Quality of Life questionnaires which used the Dermatology Life Quality Index and Hairdex Score System. The results showed the worse the hair loss, the worse they believed their quality of life was, with men scoring higher on the impairment scales than women.
Logically there would seem to be two key reasons why women may be better equipped to cope with thinning hair than their male counterparts.
Firstly, Male Pattern Baldness causes distinct areas of hairloss which may result in total, and obvious, areas of baldness, such as a receding hairline. Whereas in women the condition causes a more generalised thinning in the areas affected by androgenetic alopecia, namely the vertex – the top of the scalp from the hairline and temples to the crown.
Secondly, there is traditionally a wider range of hairstyles available to women, which may increase their ability to hide signs of hair loss, making it somewhat easier to deal with. However, sometimes this ‘trick’ of using certain hairstyles or accessories such as hair extensions to give the appearance of fuller hair can actually do more harm than good.
Hair loss less likely to worry the unemployed
One particularly interesting finding from this research, published in volume 10 of the 2019 Indian Journal of Public Health Research and Development, relates to employment.
Both men and women with hair loss who were employed, reported a lower quality of life than those who were unemployed.
The exact figures were not available, nor was any clarification as to the meaning of ‘unemployed’ as, for example, it would be easy to understand why those who were sufficiently financially stable that they do not need to work would have a higher quality of life than those who do.
Of course, those who are unemployed and actively seeking work may also have more immediate concerns, pushing their appearance further down their list of priorities.
Correlations between anxiety regarding hair loss as it relates to a person’s job has been noted many times, however. As has how workplace perceptions, notably of men, change based on whether a man has a full head of hair, thinning hair or other signs of male pattern hair loss, or is completely bald.
Men with a full head of hair are traditionally regarded as being more youthful and vigorous, whilst a 2009 survey showed that men who were clearly losing their hair were less likely to even get an interview for a job.
Whilst smooth-scalped bald men can be regarded as more ‘powerful’ and ‘manly’, they can also be seen as more ‘aggressive’ and confrontational – qualities which may not be conducive to career progression. This may perhaps be it has been shown that bald men are ‘less likely to succeed‘.
The study findings may also be influenced by the fact that previous research has shown not only that work stress causes or exacerbates Male Pattern Baldness, but also that the higher earners are likely to encounter this on a larger scale than those who are paid less.
Whatever the overall picture, each individual deals with hair loss in their own way, both on a psychological and practical level. Whilst some men and women choose to accept their fate and shave their head or look into cosmetic solutions such as wigs, others will start a hair loss treatment regimen. Appropriate, personalised courses using clinically-proven hair loss solutions and additional hair growth supporting products to help regrow hair and prevent baldness with on-going use, can be tailored by a dedicated specialist following a consultation.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.