All natural 19 November, 2017 Maria Clara Restrepo E.
Hair loss in women involves a challenging psychological confrontation with inherent social symbols, as mentally, hair is “…one of the main ways beauty is expressed,” explains psychiatrist José Javier Mendoza to the EFE news agency.
The research coordinator at the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) explains the relationship between our perception of beauty, esthetics and hair, “Anything that can be represented by the hair will affect the stimulus that we induce in others.”
Hair has ornamental features to it that serve to distinguish gender and beauty. The connotations with hair go even deeper, as even the most mundane actions related to it can convey a lot of meaning. “Hair can be extravagant. If I have a party, I do my hair. If I am rebelling against something, I let it grow or leave it short,” Mendoza illustrates. Yoy may also like: Being healthy and in shape without becoming obsessed.
Hair loss among women tends to be associated with high levels of anxiety, often establishing a vicious cycle, as according to Mendoza, “Hair loss causes anxiety, and anxiety causes hair loss.” Physiologically, anxiety overstimulates the body’s metabolism, and in doing so, the number of cells that tend to shed easily, such as those of the skin and hair, increase. Depression is also a part of this struggle, as “Approximately 20% of women with hair loss also have symptoms of depression,” he reveals. In these cases, it is important to be careful and not resort to pharmaceutical treatments unless it is absolutely necessary, antidepressants can weaken the hair follicle, exacerbating the situation.
Hormones play an essential factor. In an interview with EFE, Victoria Mendoza (the Chair of the Endocrinology Department at the Siglo XXI Medical Center) affirmed that among women, hormones are the most common cause of hair loss by 37%. The production of male hormones is what negatively affects the hair follicles, causing women to lose hair. This is closely related to hereditary factors.
Another important issue that is also very common is called telogen effluvium, “…a more extreme form of hair loss as the result of a life experience,” such as an exceptional circumstance leading to post-traumatic stress. With menopause, “Up to 37% of women experience an increase in hair loss,” and among youth, hyperthyroidism will always lead to hair loss.
When large amounts of hair begin to be lost, certain characteristics arise, the first being “considerable resistance,” states the UNAM psychiatrist.
Isolation is also common; to address this, there are resources for coping with the hair loss such as changing hairstyles frequently or using hats. While these resources do not solve the problem, they serve as a simple illustration of our human nature, a condition that is full of complexities fueled by ideas of what it means to be beautiful.