Because a women’s hair symbolizes many things in our society (youth, femininity, beauty, health and sex appeal), it can be a devastating blow to woman’s value, self esteem and well-being if she is one of approximately 40 million women suffering from thinning hair and hair loss. Worse, since it is still viewed as a male issue, diagnosis, research and treatment is still mostly tapered to men. It can be a huge challenge for a woman facing the condition to get the attention, help, and support she needs.
Regardless of its cause, for women’s loss of hair can have a severe, lasting impact on a woman’s quality of life, but here are a few ways to make the process a little easier:
Understand That Women Feel They Lose More Than Their Hair
Since most of us believe society’s acceptance is based on how we look, there is a great sense of loss when a woman feels that loss of hair has negatively effected her appearance. The obvious double standard doesn’t help. While it’s perfectly acceptable and even expected for men to bald, it’s usually a secret source of shame if a woman must cover any baldness with powders, wigs or toppers. While a shaved or bald head on a man is considered sexy, women with thinning hair feel unattractive, less-than-feminine, inadequate and inferior.
These feelings are completely normal, but can eventually turn obsessive and damaging. Accept the feelings, but make working through them and moving to a healthier place a high priority.
Seek Education And Support To Restore Your Value
In addition to knowing that your feelings are normal, you must also know that you’re not alone. There are millions of women experiencing hair loss and there are numerous support groups (some even online) where women share resources, research, treatment options and support.
There are also many promising treatments (Regaine, Viviscal, Nourkrin) and cosmetic options (Nanogen, Toppik) for women with thinning hair. Educating yourself on treatment first and eventual cosmetic options if needed will make you feel empowered, knowing that should the worst case scenario come, you’ll have the information and resources to best handle it.
Know that your value as a human being, woman, partner, mother, friend, and competent professional has very little to do with any one physical attribute. Ask yourself what you would say if your mother, sister or best friend was struggling with the same issue? Would you advise her with empathy, kindness, and genuine reassurance? Because the loving advise and compassion you would show another should be the same that you give yourself. Don’t let it define who you are. Hair loss is tough enough without letting it seep into and corrode other areas of your life.
Accept Reality But Don’t Obsess
Whether your hair loss is due to illness, genetics, medications or a reason you can’t yet define, accept the reality of what it is without magnifying it or automatically fearing the worst case scenario. Educate yourself on your options, seek medical help if necessary and decide on the appropriate course of action.
You have a variety of choices. Be open to the idea that sometimes our toughest challenges make us stronger, better versions of ourselves and teach us important life lessons. However, be sure that while educating yourself and pursuing your options you do not let your quest for a definite solution cause you crippling anxiety. It’s easy for anxiety to give way to obsession that prompts you to observe and obsess over the shower drain, dryer lint and vacuum bag.
You may suddenly notice, ponder, and obsess over every head of hair that walks by. This is exhausting, gets you no where, and only increases your anxiety. It is very easy to feel like your up against a ticking time bomb, that you need to stop the hair loss this very second or wake up bald not only tomorrow, but for the rest of your life. This is often not the case. You often have more time and room for error than you think. Vow to do the best you can while still maintaining a balance between the problem and fully living and enjoying your life.
There’s no doubt that for women the problem can be devastating and frustrating. But women should know there is support, education, treatment and cosmetic options available that make the process much easier. There is no reason to allow it to permanently and negatively affect your self-image, happiness and well-being. You are the same person, with the same high value and wonderful attributes as you were before you suffered with it.