We chat with Linda Loria, MSN, RN, CNE, Hair Team Manager at the Quatela Center for Hair Restoration, about the psychological effects of hair loss in women and how hair restoration surgery can help regain self-confidence.
With the recent news actress Ricki Lake publicly shared recently regarding her 30-year struggle with hair loss, we felt it may be helpful to provide some facts and share some of our observations regarding women and hair loss.
Lake states that while she always had fine hair, during the part she played as the lead on the musical Hairspray, her character required many chemical and mechanical treatments in order to achieve the look necessary for the part which damaged her hair. Over the years, Lake describes the many stresses placed on her hair – from hair extensions to chemical treatments. In addition to this, she feels her hair loss may also be in part attributed to stress, fluctuating weight and hormonal issues, among other things. All of these factors can contribute to hair loss in women.
Female hair loss facts
The number of women experiencing hair loss by 30 years of age is approximately 12%, while as many as 30 to 40% of women ages 60-69 will experience noticeable hair loss (Herskovitz & Tosti, 2013). In their article reviewing quality of life studies in women with alopecia or hair loss, Davis and Callender (2018) explored the effects hair loss had on the quality of life of women who were experiencing hair loss from multiple causes, with the most common being female pattern hair loss, or FPHL. In one study involving 58 women with hair loss conducted by VanderDonk et. al. in 1994,
- 88% of the women surveyed reported hair loss had a negative effect on their daily life
- 50% experienced social problems
- 75% had experienced reduced self-esteem related to their hair loss.
The silent trauma of female hair loss
We become comfortable with our hair looking and feeling a certain way, so when it starts to become thinner, or we lose it altogether, it can be very traumatic. Hair loss in men is something that is talked about more in society. Women tend to keep it to themselves, but it is more common than people may realize. For women, hair loss can also be much more difficult to hide due to hair styles and the pattern that it takes, as they can experience more of an overall thinning than a receding hairline as is common in men.
The differences in the way men and women are affected psychologically by hair loss was explored in a study by Cash, et. al. in 1993. Of the 96 women surveyed, 52% reported their FPHL was very-to-extremely upsetting. Also reported due to their diagnosis were feelings of powerlessness, poor self-esteem, social anxiety and a negative body image (Cash, 1999).
Patients, especially women, will often tell me they feel they shouldn’t be “making a big deal” out of losing their hair. Whether the cause of hair loss is from a medical process such as a thyroid condition, an autoimmune disorder, a stress-related event or trauma, hormonal changes, medications, or is androgenetic or hereditary in nature, if a patient looks in the mirror every day and is upset by what they see, it is a big deal to us at the Quatela Center for Hair Restoration. We understand what these patients are going through and want very much to help remedy their hair loss in order to create an uplifting experience for all of our patients.
As a team of professionals who have been working with Dr. Vito Quatela and Dr. Heather Lee for many years, we take great pride in our work and have seen time and again what a difference hair restoration has made, not only in our patients’ outward appearance but also in the way they feel about themselves.
When patients come back for their final follow-up after hair restoration, we notice they are styling their hair differently, because they are no longer trying to cover up thinning areas. Women who had thinning eyebrows are no longer struggling with drawing them on every day. It is also very common to see our patients with a new hairstyle, or wearing a different style of glasses or earrings, eager to celebrate their rejuvenated appearance and no longer trying to blend in.
Something we also notice is that patients sometimes carry themselves differently. They appear more confident and their smiles are brighter. We often hear stories about trips they have taken and new jobs they have started that they were too self-conscious to apply for in the past. And the one thing we hear the most often is: “I wish I had done this a long time ago.”
Don’t resign yourself to living with thinning hair or hair loss. Call the Quatela Center for Hair Restoration at (585) 244-0323 to speak to a Patient Consultant and discuss the hair restoration options available, which are customized to your unique needs. It could change your life.
Cash, T.F. (1999). The psychosocial consequences of androgenetic alopecia: A review of the literature. British Journal of Dermatology, 141(3), 398-405. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.03030.x
Davis, D. S., & Callender, V. D. (2018). Review of quality of life studies in women with alopecia. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, 4(1), 18–22. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2017.11.007
Herskovitz, I., & Tosti, A. (2013). Female Pattern Hair Loss. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 11(4), e9860. http://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.9860