At New Look Institute, we often talk about the fact that hair loss affects women very differently than it does men. Women’s hair is a significant part of her identity, and that is true for a lifetime, whether or not she experiences thinning hair. To better understand the difference that men and women have when it comes to hair loss, we thought it might be valuable to highlight some ways that hair loss is different for women. Our hope is that everyone can gain better insight as to why a strong reaction to the beginning of hair loss is a perfectly natural reaction for a woman.
Could Be More Than Thinning Hair
No matter who you are, it’s scary when your hair begins to start thinning or shed. As far as men are concerned, over 95% of them experience hair loss, because of a condition known as androgenetic alopecia. It is the harmless genetic condition that is responsible for male pattern baldness. Men should be screened for other, more potentially dangerous conditions as soon as they notice thinning hair, but most will come back with a result that is attributable to androgenetic alopecia. Women however have a lot more to consider. For men, the stakes of losing hair are primarily social and psychological. Because of the fact that women’s hair loss is more likely caused by an underlying medical condition, the chances are much greater than another health issue is the reason. Hair loss can have significant social repercussions for a woman and give into uncertainty about the progression of their thinning hair, as well as overall health concerns. Take a serious note if you ever have a woman in your life that confides in you about thinning hair. Consider the fact that she is most likely worried about factors other than just her hair loss and how it looks.
Less Women Have Thinning Hair
It’s pretty easy to understand why guys don’t necessarily take the issue of hair loss as seriously as women do. Guys definitely understand how much it matters, but it’s hard for them to comprehend a reality where men don’t lose their hair throughout life. Men can confide with other men who are losing their hair, but women are left without knowing many people to confide in, and men don’t get that. Whether it is a friend of his, an older relative, or a buddy, it’s impossible for most guys to grasp that concept because, even though its not really talked about, a large majority of men lose their hair. Many women, about half, by the age of 50, will have thinning hair too, but it’s just not looked at as common as men. Going bald can be a perfectly normal choice for men, however it definitely has not been accepted as a popular or mainstream option for women. Fortunately, women now have many great and natural-looking options to replace the hair that they’ve lost. Because it can be hidden so successfully, most women aren’t aware of each other’s hair loss. Most women don’t swap secrets or joke about it. Many women never expect to see hair loss in their life or expect having to actively seek out trusted resources when they do experience it. Hair loss is a difficult issue and no one should have to go through it alone.
Other People’s Reactions
It sounds like it may be a good thing but, as they say, too much of a good thing can be horrible. It’s great when the people you love and respect show you their support in a tasteful and discreet way, especially when you need it. Unfortunately, that’s not always what ends up happening. The attempts of a woman’s fiends to make her feel better about her hair loss can end up being invalidating and dismissive. A loved one may try to help her be more comfortable talking about hair loss, but that can very well lead to her feeling even more vulnerable and wishing that the conversation was about anything else. Having your kids or family worry about you because they don’t understand your hair loss can feel like a burden. Also, people can notice and care in different ways both positively and negatively. While loved ones are showing, in some cases overwhelming, concern for the woman they know who is dealing with hair loss. Other people like co-workers and classmates could be shying away without even knowing it. In the same way that hair signals age for men, it also indicates vitality and health in a woman. When that starts to visibly diminish, people can begin to stare, treat you differently and act differently around you.
Open Mind About Hair Loss
We could all benefit from having a better spirit of generosity. If you’ve gotten a negative reaction from someone that you’ve recently tried to speak to about hair loss, cut them a little slack and try to be more understanding. Try and consider the fact that there is a great deal of emotion involved, and for good reason. Remember, hair loss is a different experience for everyone, your personal experience with it doesn’t always mean that you can understand someone else’s experiences. If you yourself are facing hair loss, keep in mind that people have good intentions when they make a comment, but it may come off very differently to you. Here at New Look Institute we encourage great and open conversations about hair loss. Our hope is we can change the way people can express their hair loss and be more open about it. If you need someone to talk to about your thinning hair or hair loss, feel free to contact us, as we are dealing with it everyday. Contact us here.
Photo Credit: Allen Skyy via Flickr Creative Commons
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