Psychology

Hair loss - hair makes the man


There are lots of idioms in daily use referring to hair: you let your hair down, something hangs by a hair, something is a hair's breadth away, you get in somebody's hair - all pointing to the important role played by hair in our daily lives. Whether our hair is straight or curled, long or short - we all want our hair to be healthy, thick, glossy and shiny. Our hair has an important role to play in the overall impression others have of us. Hair is a status symbol, mirroring our state of health, our success, our aura and our personality. Losing our hair makes us not just feel ill, it can often be the cause of major psychological problems. There are different causes for hair loss, ranging from genetic, hormonal or environmental ones to the concrete effects of an accident or medical treatment such as chemotherapy or an operation leaving scars. It's no use turning to alleged miracle cures. The only way to gain certainty about the causes of hair loss, thinning hair, baldness or bald spots and its possible solutions is to consult a doctor and have our hair/scalp checked.




Hair - a mirror of our health and vitality



Our appearance is influenced to a great extent by our hair. It should be seen as strong and healthy, mirroring our success and vitality and making us look young. With this in mind, we invest a lot of time, money and energy in hair care and hairstyle. From a medical/biological perspective, hair is not something we actually need. Even so, hair plays a major role in our lives, especially from a social and psychological perspective - as witnessed by the amount of attention we pay to our hair. Clichés say that it is women who spend months, if not years, of their lives looking after their hair. This is not entirely true, as this also applies – at least to a certain extent - to men. For most people, having nice hair is important. Only very few - whether men or women - are happy with what they've got on their heads. All sorts of products are used to dye and tint hair or to curl it. Things don't always work out the way we want or expect, and sometimes we start losing our hair - for genetic reasons. It is men who are most afraid of this (seen as a sign of waning virility), though women are also affected.



Hair - a part of you



Fear of losing one's hair is nothing new. Back in ancient Egypt, tinctures and formulations to prevent baldness were being tried out. For centuries now, attempts - many of them ripe for the curiosity cabinet - have been made to come up with a cure for hair loss. Last but not least, one's hair is a statement of one's personality, indicating one's background and social status and underlining one's individuality. Hair loss is unquestionably in most cases unpleasant, and in a number of cases associated with psychological problems and with possible negative consequences for one's social and professional life. Men with a receding hairline, hair growing thin, a horseshoe-shaped fringe of hair or completely bald men are said to be prone to uncertainty, with fewer chances of success at work or with women - although this cannot be substantiated in any way. It is however understandable that men and women with hair growing thin are inhibited, for it is the psyche which suffers most from hair loss. Quality of life declines, and in many cases a person will feel less attractive and become hesitant.



Hair loss - bad for one's ego



The psychological effects of alopecia however go even deeper, as hair loss determines the effect we have on others and thereby our external image - an image closely related to how we see ourselves. The social consequences arising from alopecia with respect to career and partnership can often only be overcome with the help of trained therapists. If we think about the effect a full head of hair has in all walks of life, it soon becomes clear why mankind, in all cultures, has been continually looking for ways of combatting impending hair loss. We are lucky these days to have available efficient ways of combatting hair loss thanks to state-of-the-art medicine and efficient techniques.

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