Millions of people around the world suffer from it, and eye-popping sums of money go into trying to prevent or fix it. And yet, we still find it a difficult topic to discuss. Hair loss (what else?) can be a sensitive subject for many people. Despite some advances in recent years, there’s still a taboo around discussing it openly. However, talking about hair loss and seeking help can make a big difference in how people cope with this issue.
Want to know why breaking the taboo around hair loss matters? Keep scrolling!
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), hair loss affects about 50% of men and 25% of women around the world. Perhaps we should not be surprised, therefore, that reputable market analysts predicts that the global hair transplant market will be worth over USD 21 billion by 2028.
Hair loss is a condition that cuts right across traditional gender and age categories; quite simply, anyone can lose their hair. It can be caused by a range of factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, medical conditions and stress. The emotional and psychological impact of hair loss have been well documented. And yet, people still feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it.
The societal taboo around hair loss often stems from the cultural associations of hair with beauty, strength, youthfulness and vitality. This is particularly true for women, who are expected to have thick and luscious hair as a symbol of femininity. Viewed from this perspective, hair loss sends out the ‘wrong’ signals about us. Consequently, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, social isolation and low self-esteem, especially among younger people. Small wonder that we find it hard to discuss.
And yet, talking about hair loss with friends, family, or people in similar circumstances can have positive effects on one’s mental health and overall well-being. For example, joining a support group or online forum can provide a safe space for people to share their experiences, connect with others who are experiencing similar problems and offer and receive emotional support.
This kind of social support can be a powerful coping mechanism for individuals experiencing hair loss. It is particularly important for those who may be struggling with anxiety or depression due to the condition. Researchers from Sheffield University published a study in 2019 that concluded that online groups could assist the psychological well-being of alopecia sufferers. It found that people who talked about their hair loss with others had improved psychological well-being compared to those who didn’t.
Similarly, in a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, Patricia Tucker examined the psychosocial impact of alopecia areata, concluding that ‘Treatment for alopecia patients should offer psychological support to foster increased self-esteem.’
Additionally, breaking the taboo around hair loss may encourage people to seek professional help. Since early intervention undoubtedly leads to better outcomes, that’s something to be welcomed. Just one more reason why the stigma around hair loss has to go!
Some progress in banishing the taboo has been made in recent years, mostly thanks to the efforts of celebrities who have spoken openly about their own struggles with hair loss. This has helped normalise the conversation around the problem. The willingness of successful actors, sports stars and musicians to share their experiences can make it easier for others to do the same.
If you’re sceptical about the idea of people being inspired to take action on the basis of what someone else says or does, look no further than the case of Culture Club singer Boy George. The eighties legend revealed on a UK reality TV show that he had gone for a hair transplant after seeing the difference ex-England footballer Wayne Rooney’s procedure had made to his appearance.
With more celebrities and public figures opening up about their struggles with hair loss, there is a growing shift towards accepting hair loss as a natural part of life that can happen to anyone.
Breaking the taboo around hair loss matters because it can help people feel less isolated, encourage them to seek professional help and have a positive impact on their mental health. By sharing their experiences and talking openly about hair loss, celebrities, healthcare professionals and individuals alike can help to reduce the stigma surrounding this issue and provide a supportive community for those who are affected by it.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or thinning, don’t keep your worries to yourself. Our hair experts at Vinci Hair Clinic would love to chat with you! We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to first-time clients, so there’s never been a better time to get in touch. Consultations can take place in person at one of our clinics or by using photographs on WhatsApp. Get in touch and book your appointment today!