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ARE HAIR LOSS AND SELF ESTEEM TRULY RELATED?

ARE HAIR LOSS AND SELF ESTEEM TRULY RELATED?

History and literature tell us hair is power – the loss of which reduces that power. Hair’s association of physical and mental strength is hard to deny.

 

Hair has an interesting history in storytelling. Samson of the Old Testament lost his physical strength when Delilah cut his hair. In modern times, Homer Simpson gained vocational strength when a fictional hair restoration formula gave him hair – only to lose it when the solution was gone.

 

In both cases hair was the source of power and, we can easily assume, self-esteem. The fact that thousands of years transpired between the biblical Samson and television’s Homer Simpson really isn’t surprising. The psychological and perhaps physiological powers of hair seem to be an enduring if not universal theme.

 

Let’s face the facts: the desire to possess a full head of hair is what drives hairless individuals to hair loss clinics seeking hair loss solutions for men as well as women’s hair loss treatments. These baldness “solutions” – hair transplant surgery, hair replacement, laser hair loss therapy, hair loss medications – are big business, driving the ever-growing hair loss industry.

 

Consider how hair plays significant importance to men, women, and transgendered individuals through their different stages of life:

 

  • To teens and young adults, an inordinate amount of time is applied to hair to achieve peer acceptance, to meet societal standards, to belong to a group. The most daring will step out in a new style and new color, and expect attention, approval, or possibly face criticism.

 

  • To adults in their middle years, hair becomes more of a stress point. Whether it’s about turning grey – which is actually the loss of color – changing hair texture, or hair loss, all are signs of aging. In and of itself aging should be a point of pride, that one has matured and survived, but throughout much of Western culture it’s a sign of diminishing relevance. The loss or greying of hair can hurt career prospects (particularly for the individual who might find themselves job hunting), reduce opportunities for romance, and in general push the individual to the back of where youthful action and excitement rule.

 

  • To people who are having health challenges, hair might be lost to medication or simply the psychological effects of illness. The restoration of hair growth to, for example, people who have cancer in remission, is a sign of returning to better health.

 

Each of these things is affected by cultural norms, which can vary from country to country and region to region. For example, in the US hair is strongly associated with beauty, youth, vitality, and sexual prowess – not only from the viewpoint of others, but to the individual his or herself. For women in particular, femininity is very often defined by thick, luxuriant tresses, very often worn long. People who are transgendered, particularly those who are male-to-female, connect their hair very strongly with their appearance, a statement of their preferred gender. Crossdressers, who may or may not be transgendered, spend an inordinate amount of time creating theatrically spectacular hair (very often by way of wigs).

 

All of this is to say that the sense of self and of self-worth is strongly tied to hair health. When hair is in the control of the individual, that self-esteem can come naturally. When hair is outside that person’s control it can be detrimental to how they feel about themselves. This is why hair replacement products and systems are considered a strong boost to the psychological, and even physical, health of the individual.