GLOBAL STUDY

Statistics: Psychological Impact of Hair Loss


Pete Scott, MD

This text was written according to the highest scientific standards and reviewed by medical experts. Find out more about our quality assurance.

Written by Erin D. Updated on 1 May 2024

Losing hair is far from a pleasurable experience. However, knowing its exact psychological effects can help you cope or even combat the situation. Most people believe that hair loss is only associated with stress, but it can have a much deeper impact on your mental state.

So we at Medihair are going to present the latest statistics related to the psychological impact of hair loss on both men and women.

Most Important Findings svg

Symptoms Anxiety...
Psychological Effects Affects women more
Treatment Options Depends on patient

Key Statistics

  • More than 30% of men suffering from high hair loss tend to cope with their lack of hair by building body muscle, dressing better, or wearing hats.
  • Males under the age of 26 were reported to be involved in the most intense coping efforts in response to their hair loss.
  • When compared with an all-men hair loss group, research found that women experienced a greater reduction of positive life events and engaged in more coping efforts.

 

Emotional impact of a hair transplant on a patient

What are the Main Psychological Effects of Hair Loss?

Both men and women face a myriad of psychological effects as a result of their hair loss. These include extreme dissatisfaction with their body image, a substantial decrease in life satisfaction, stress, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

The table below contains the most important scientific studies backing up these claims and explaining the various coping mechanisms humans adopt to hide their hair loss.

Study Results
Aukerman et al. (2022) A meta-analysis study was conducted in 2022 by searching the Pubmed database for studies created around the psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia. The results showed that men and women with high hair loss reported increased cognitive preoccupation and behavioral coping. Both men and women tried to hide their hair loss by building muscle and shopping for hats. Also, individuals with severe hair loss were reported to have felt more emotional distress than those with mild hair loss. Symptoms included body image dissatisfaction, fear of humiliation, anxiety, and depression.
Alfonso et al. (2005) The objective of this study was to gauge the psychosocial impact of hair loss in men from over 5 different European countries. Participants were instructed to answer a series of closed-ended questions on a questionnaire. Of the 729 men who reported hair loss, 62% admitted that losing hair was lowering their self-esteem. While 43% linked hair loss to losing an important part of self-attractiveness.
Cash et al. (1993) This study compared the psychosocial effects of hair loss on 96 women and 60 men through standardized questionnaires. While androgenetic alopecia was a stressful experience for both sexes, the female participants possessed a more negative body image and felt greater anxiety and depression.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Due to Hair Loss?

Now that we have proven that hair loss can indeed cause anxiety and depression, here is what the symptoms may look like.

  • Anxiety caused by hair loss can result in a constant feeling of heightened tension, excessive palpitations, and sweating. 
  • In extreme cases, hair loss patients can develop social anxiety disorder. Which causes them to live in constant fear of public humiliation or being judged negatively. 
  • Depression caused by hair loss can lead to a loss of interest and desire in activities, low energy, and sleep deprivation.
  • Intense social anxiety can be followed by an equally intense social phobia. That causes individuals to actively avoid any and all social activities.

Psychological Effects of Hair Loss on Men and Women

Nowadays, more than 80% of men suffer from genetic hair loss, in contrast to just 25% of women. Having said that, from our research, we have concluded that women face more intense psychological effects as a result of hair loss than men. 

A 1993 study tested this claim by comparing the psychological effects of hair loss on an all-women group with that of an all-men group. The results showed that women felt significantly more distressed by their hair loss than men. They developed a more negative body image and frequently entered into a state of mental preoccupation. 

Another study conducted in 2022 showed that women tend to engage in more behavioral coping than men when confronted with hair loss. Plus, in extreme cases, they even develop a phobia of social situations where their hair loss could be exposed.

What are the treatment options?

While general anxiety and depression caused by hair loss can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, the best method for psychological treatment differs from patient to patient. Thus, your specific psychological treatment strategy will depend on your doctor’s assessment. 

Having said that, hair transplants have been known to reduce the psychological effects of hair loss, especially since they can increase the volume of hair on a patient’s head. 

The procedure has proven to have a significant emotional impact on a patient, as evidenced by the survey conducted by us here at Medihair.

Sources

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