Psychology & Stats about Hair Loss
Hair Loss: It’s more than skin deep
You’ve had hair your whole life until one day nature decides to take it from you!
It’s human nature to frown on loss in any aspect of life. No one likes to lose anything! Perhaps the greatest affect hair loss can have on an individual is the feeling of losing control over the ability to do anything about it.
Hair plays a significant role in our life. Another person’s hair is one of the first characteristics we notice upon meeting. Our own hair is one of the first and last things we attend to before a meeting or a social engagement. Hair disorder, especially when severe, often profoundly affects the lives of those afflicted.
Severe hair loss evokes not only cosmetic concerns but may also evoke feelings of vulnerability or a kind of nakedness. People also suffer from low self-esteem, changes in self-image, and even alterations in self-identity.
In 1992, researchers at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, surveyed 145 men, and found that 84 percent of the balding men were preoccupied with their loss. It was their #1 concern. They described themselves as filled with self-consciousness, helplessness, and envy of men with full heads of hair. Single men and women who had begun losing hair in their early twenties were more likely to suffer from extremely low self-esteem.
While stressful, balding isn’t the end of the world. While men reported glancing in the mirror constantly and wearing hats even in warm weather, they also managed to make it through their daily lives without much problem. For some, it even sparked self-improvement tactics like working out more frequently, dressing better, or losing weight.
Often, hair loss sufferers don’t want to admit that going bald bothers them. However, there is nothing wrong or vain about being concerned with hair loss.
No matter what people say, the appearance of having or not having hair does matter. We are judged by our appearance, and hair loss, also known as alopecia, is generally seen as a sign of weakness and aging.
Consider these facts from an article published by Newsweek Online about hair loss:
- Attractive men earn 5% more and attractive women 4% more than their average-looking coworkers.
- A handsome guy will earn $250,000 more over his lifetime than an ugly Joe.
- To compete more effectively at work, 13% of women and 10% of men would undergo cosmetic surgery.
- 57% of hiring managers admitted that unattractive people have a harder time landing a job than their more attractive counterparts, even if they have better qualifications.
- Hiring managers recommend job applicants spend as much time and money on their appearance as on their resume.
- In a ranking of desirable employee attributes, appearance ranked third behind experience and confidence. It even beat education, which came in fourth.
- 84% of hiring managers said visibly older job candidates, particularly women, are usually passed over in favor of younger, more vigorous looking applicants.
If you feel old, unattractive or without vigor, you may come across as not looking or feeling as confident as you should.
Men with Male Pattern Baldness don’t get a date with the prom queen and women with thinning hair are not likely to date the captain of the football team. Of course, few people experience hair loss as early as high school. Our cultural views about hair loss, however, are usually firmly set by the time we reach adulthood.
It does not take a scientific study to prove that your appearance can affect your social life and your career. Take the various news stories of discrimination against overweight people, for example. Most politically correct people will now call them “weight challenged,” but does that even begin to undo the average person’s first impression of people with substantial girth?
We assume that they have neither discipline nor self-control. Even when they have a relatively proportioned body, attractive facial features or a great head of hair, our cultural prejudices will kick in. We either ignore them, try to fix them, or make jokes about their condition.
With few legal cases on the books, it is difficult to prove that the weight challenged suffer from unfair discrimination in employment. However, certain jobs, including the military, do impose weight restrictions on potential applicants. So, career opportunities for people whose weight exceeds the standard can be limited.
Similarly, career discrimination against bald people and those who are losing their hair is one of the hidden costs of hair loss. Our cultural perceptions of competency and leadership potential are tied to a genetic message hardwired into the human psyche. In the days of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of early humans, the strongest men were appointed to track down dangerous predators. Those that were charged with hunting down the beasts that provided food had to meet certain requirements of speed, strength and virility. The bald and the old need not apply.
With survival a priority, the subtle discrimination against people with hair loss took root in human culture. It still exists today but with a new kind of survival hierarchy in place. Many people in line for management and corporate leadership positions dress for success by investing in the right clothing, shoes and other career props.
They also go to great expense to hide any evidence of hair loss. They realize that they must treat hair loss aggressively before it affects their career opportunities. Being the most competent and qualified often is not enough if your competition has the appearance of more hair!
Are you still not convinced that job discrimination exists against those going bald and it’s a serious problem? Read this section from an article in Time Magazine:
“If the 2008 presidential election comes down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and front runner Rudolph Giuliani, Americans will elect a woman before they will elect a bald man. The United States of America has had five bald Presidents, but Americans haven’t voted one into office in fifty-one years, when Dwight Eisenhower won a second term over Adlai Stevenson — the second consecutive election in which two bald men went head to glorious head.”
Hair loss is a naturally occurring daily process experienced by all men. Statistics show that more than 60% of all men will be affected by hair loss at some point in their lives. An average male will lose between 50 to 150 hairs everyday but nearly all of this hair is regenerated as the hair follicle remains. It is when the growth of hair follicles no longer exceeds the shredding of old follicles that it becomes a problem.
Women or men with androgenetic alopecia have a diffuse hair loss pattern over the top and sides of the scalp. They do not normally have any recession of the frontal hairline, nor do they typically have a distinct bald patch on the scalp vertex. However, a few women do develop male pattern alopecia with a receding frontal hairline. Sometimes the hair loss becomes so extensive that it looks similar to the Hamilton and Norwood type V patterns with hair loss in the vertex as well.
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