Mind Body, Stress/Worry

The Balding Effect

“Women love a self-confident bald man.” – Larry David

A man looking up at his balding head

Hair, we all have it. Right?

From a young age, even at the time of birth we all have hair. It becomes a part of our look, our personality, our identity — part of who we are as a person. But hair is not necessarily here to stay. As people age, they can begin to lose their hair and go bald. Some may accept this as part of life. But for others, it can be quite traumatic as they feel they are losing a part of who they are. For young adults who begin to lose their hair in their twenties it can be even more difficult.

Why do people lose their hair so young?

Hair loss at a young age is becoming more common in today’s generation due to the demands of our culture. Where we used to think that the possibility of hair loss and the age of hair loss was only due to genes, it is now even more so due to how we live. With that said, the short term and long term stress that humans experience on a daily basis can have a much bigger impact on balding than we used to think. 

According to two experts, Swedish hair stylist Dr. Fred Zuli and Italian scientist Dr. Falvio Ferrari, there are…

4 Reasons of balding:

  1. Stress
  2. Vices
  3. Pollution
  4. Poor nutrition

Among these four reasons for hair loss, stress is the highest appointed reason why people are losing their hair, especially at a young age. Dr. Apoorva Shah, a trichologist who studies and works with people dealing with hair loss, points out that “as a reaction to an incident of extreme mental or physical stress, the body typically sheds hair after a gap of three months”.

A woman looking at the hair in her hairbrush with concern

Feelings of Loss

Although it is not the only reason, we still typically associate hair loss with aging. This is why when a person loses their hair at a young age it can have a large impact on their personality, confidence, and lifestyle. As a result of balding at a young age, people may experience consequent emotions related to the premature loss of hair. Many of these feelings can be related to a generalized sense of loss. These can include, but are not limited to…

Loss of identity

  • A full head of curls that is suddenly thinning or patchy may result in identity confusion
  • If your hairstyle was especially bold, balding can be startling to others

Loss of self-esteem

  • A once confident strong personality can be halted by a new unfamiliar look
  • An outgoing person can become insecure about not only they way they now look, but what thinning or balding says about you

Isolation

  • Insecurities can create isolation
  • The desire to separate oneself from society and hide
  • In extreme cases, a person may not even feel comfortable around close friends and family
  • Can have a negative impact on professional life if you do not want to be around coworkers

Mental Health Concerns of Balding

With the sense of loss, can come more serious and long effects on mental health. Specifically with hair loss, people may find themselves as a whole shifting and changing with the new physical changes to their hairline.

Depression: The combination of changes and loss of your image can be upsetting. Shame, frustration, and anger are all emotions a person may be experiencing when balding occurs. These feelings can develop into depression. Trying to accept the new you takes time, and for those who are impatient, hair loss can spiral into creating a negative image of oneself. Particularly, for young adults in their twenties and thirties who experience balding, they feel as though they are getting old and feel defeated.

Anxiety: Feelings of uneasiness and worry can ensue when a person is insecure. Young adults may feel worried about what others think of their image in a variety of settings.

  • Work Anxiety: 
    • Young adults are stressed with building their careers path and developing their professional lives
    • The thought of interviewing with potential new employers as someone who is balding can create levels of anxiety. Do they think I am old? How might this affect my future with the company?
  • Social Anxiety
    • Levels of anxiety can be applied to social situations
    • According to The Social Anxiety Institute, “social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Individuals who are extremely insecure about their image and care deeply about how others view them. These individuals become obsessed and preoccupied by their physical flaws. What is reality compared to what they see is typically exaggerated in the mirror. For example, someone who suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder may believe they are bald or balding in the mirror, when in reality their hair may be losing volume and is beginning to thin.

How to Build Back Some Confidence


Overall, balding can create a lack of self-confidence which can develop into some deeper mood and personality issues. It is important to try to regain and maintain your confidence in order to move forward with a strong-minded and healthy life. Here are some ways of what you can do to help cope with the effects of hair loss:

  1. Remind yourself that it is not the end of the world
  2. Try to put your hair loss in perspective
  3. Hire a hair stylist that can help find a hairstyle that works for you
  4. Do one thing a day that makes you feel good about yourself
  5. Exercise
  6. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  7. Drink plenty of water
  8. Lean on other balding friends for support and humor
  9. Seek professional help to talk through your emotions and concerns
A group of men laying with their heads together in a circle on the floor

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