Hair loss can have a profound effect on your mental health. Although male pattern baldness is very common (about 6.5 million men are thought to be affected by male pattern baldness in the UK alone) it can still be incredibly distressing for many men. Likewise, women can also develop feelings of anxiety and depression when experiencing hair loss. In this article we look at the effects hair loss has on mental health, as well as potential treatment options for male pattern baldness and other types of hair loss.
Reduction in self-confidence
Hair loss can have a huge impact on self-confidence. Men usually feel less confident when they lose their hair because they feel less attractive. Feelings of low self-esteem and self-assurance are especially common in younger men experiencing male pattern baldness, who often report feeling (to paraphrase) “spurned by fate”. Frustrated that they are going bald before their peers, affected young men feel as though they have been struck by ill fortune – and this often results in diminished self-confidence.
Many men also believe hair loss makes them undesirable to potential partners. This belief – whether real or perceived – can also have a detrimental effect on self-confidence. A lack of self-confidence can make men (and women) avoid social situations, and may lead to more profound feelings of depression and anxiety.
Low self-esteem can also impact one’s dating life. Research has shown going into a first date with confidence makes the process of romantic initiation easier. People who are confident are more likely to be romantically successful.
On the other hand, those with low self-confidence may find it harder to attract a romantic partner. People with low self-esteem are more likely to be dismissed or ignored by potential partners because low self-confidence is often associated with behaviours that result in social and romantic rejection.
As previously mentioned, prolonged feelings of low self-esteem may manifest into more serious conditions like depression and anxiety. These conditions – as well as the feeling of low self-confidence – are likely to be exacerbated by romantic rejection.
There are, however, a number of solutions for male pattern baldness out there. One such solution is finasteride. Finasteride slows hair loss by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a molecule that causes hair follicles to shrink and stop producing hair. In some cases, finasteride can also contribute to hair regrowth.
However, finasteride has several side effects – including depression – that users should be aware of before taking it. Therefore, it is advisable to talk to a doctor before taking finasteride to ensure it is safe to take and does not interact with any medication you are taking. To learn more about some of the common side effects of finasteride, check out Numan’s article “The 3 Best Hair Loss Treatments for Men”
Another alternative is hair transplant therapy. There are two main hair transplant methods:
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT, or strip method): a strip of skin (with hair attached) is taken from the scalp and split into hair grafts. These are then placed into small cuts made in the part of the scalp affected by male pattern baldness.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE): the entire head is shaved and a device is used to remove individual grafts of hair one by one. Like the FUT method, these grafts are then inserted into small cuts made in the scalp.