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Impact of Hair Loss on Women’s Mental Health

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

mental health and hair loss

One of the most devastating events anyone can experience is losing their hair. As someone who went through that firsthand (I had alopecia Areata), I cannot empathize with you more.

When I encounter someone who is just starting to lose their hair, I repeatedly hear the same phrase across the board “I feel like I am losing my identity”, and that truly rings a bell with me, every. single. time. As vain as it might seem, our hair is part of how we identify and present ourselves to the world, and whether we believe it or not, hair shedding can be, at least for some, a traumatic event.

A fractured self-image due to hair loss can cause depression, anxiety, and is often a reason to cause a lot of feelings of shame and retreat from the world. Dr. Shani Francis, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and director of the Hair Disorders Center of Excellence at Northshore University HealthSystem in Illinois, told Medical News Today that “Hair loss in a woman is so emotionally devastating that it can trigger a wide range of social and emotional issues that can negatively impact healthy daily living and overall quality of life. I have heard of women that retreat from social situations, have diminished work performance, and even alter their healthy living — avoiding exercise, overeating, not treating other medical illnesses — due to their hair loss,”

In an independent survey of 3,016 women to assess the impact of female hair loss on mental health and well-being, the study has shown that “well over three quarters (84%) of women suffer from low esteem and over a third of women (34%) feel depressed as a result of their hair thinning. Whilst society fully accepts that men suffer from hair loss, 97% of respondents think that women are embarrassed to admit hair loss, as society considers it socially unacceptable.”

Whether you’re losing your hair due to genetic, hormonal, environmental, or autoimmune conditions — the end result is equally hard on the soul. The good news is, we are living through more conscious times. People are becoming more aware of the mental health consequences of losing one’s own hair. Celebrities are speaking up about this core issue and within in the last year, at least a dozen of them shared their journies or journeys of loved ones that had an experience with hair loss, this includes both men and women.

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