No matter who you are or where you’re from hair loss is no fun.
Hair loss not only has an impact on your physical appearance, but it also can largely impact you mentally. In fact they are very closely intertwined. Mental strain and psychological disorders often arise due the perception that your physical appearance is declining, one study even showed that 52% of the females studied and 28% of males studied were very and/or extremely unhappy due to androgenic alopecia. This is because hair loss has been linked with depression, anxiety, stress, and many other psychological issues.
I (Zeke) have dealt with hair loss myself and have also experienced many of the negative psychological effects of it. I wanted to write this article in order to share my knowledge that I have acquired over the last seven years about effective ways that I deal with hair loss. These are all things that I wish I had known at the start of my hair loss journey but had to learn the hard way, through extensive trial and error… many errors at that.
Positive ways to deal with hair loss
Dealing with hair loss in a positive way is one of the most important things you can learn how to do. At first, hair loss is going to seem like the end of the world (at least it did for me) but there are many ways that you can turn a negative into a positive.
Do your research… the right way
Although it may seem like you need to start using treatments right away, you don’t. Hair loss is a slow progression, in fact usually by the time you notice hair loss you have already lost up to 50% of your hair! The hair miniaturization process does not happen overnight, it happens over the course of several months, so doing a few hours, or even days, of good research is worth waiting because it will benefit you much more in the end.
When starting research, take time to evaluate how bad your current hair loss situation is because there are different treatments that are most effective at different stages of hair loss. All too often I see people wasting money on treatments that will not do anything for them. This is one lesson I learned the hard way.
Granted I was only 17 years old when I started losing my hair, but I did not do research the right way. Instead I googled “best at home hair loss treatments” and tried pretty much anything and everything that showed up on the first page, I even tried rubbing raw onion on my scalp (embarrassing)! But surprise surprise none of them worked because they were either not for hair loss at all or were not for my current stage of hair loss. It was only after I did meticulous research on credible sites (more on that later) where I actually started to see changes (like I said it may take a couple hours as opposed to five minutes *face palm to my past self*).
Use mental coping strategies/tricks
Your brain is a confusing thing, learning to master it is very hard. Some people dedicate their whole lives to trying to master their own mind. Although you probably wont be meditating for 10 hours a day, you can use some of these little tips and tricks to try and control your mental state when dealing with the emotions of hair loss.
1. Remind yourself that hair loss is not life threatening
We all agree that hair loss sucks, but 99.9% of the time it is not life threatening. Humbling yourself by remembering that you are lucky to be alive in the first place is a trick that can help you. If hair loss is at the top of your list of concerns you are doing better than a lot of people, just take into consideration that you do not have to fight for basic survival needs such as food and water like some people in the world do. It sounds corny but it definitely helped me and if you take it seriously it can help you too.
2. Take a step back
Sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and look at the people who really matter. Your friends and family love you for your personality not for your hair, and if they don’t you need some new friends.
It can also help to try to look at yourself through a 3rd person perspective. When you see a bald guy walking down the street do you automatically go “oh my gosh look at the amount of hair that guy DOESN’T have”… probably not. Not to mention that many studies and surveys alike have found that women find bald men attractive (and vice versa). Instead of just focusing on your hair alone look at yourself as a whole, try to pick out what is attractive about you and keep that at the forefront of your mind, it will brighten your mood guaranteed.
3. Try to not let people get to you (this one is hard)
Like I said, I started losing my hair when I was 17, this resulted in me being the butt end of a lot of jokes. This is just the reality when something like hair loss happens at a young age, you are going through something no one else is. But, whether you’re young or not, comments about your hair loss hurt… bad.
This can be a hard one to get past because it’s hard to feel like you fit in, especially when none of your friends are going through what you are. One thing that helped me get past the comments is to remind myself that the people making those comments are just as insecure as me, if not more. Everyone has insecurities, and if you are trying to bring other people down that is just a way of coping. By simply reminding myself of that, it helped not only soften the emotional blow of the comments, but also sympathize with those people and avoid becoming resentful towards them.
4. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
This is a very important way of thinking that I use almost every day. Instead of thinking to yourself “no one will ever find me attractive” or “I’m going to lose all my hair” try replacing those thoughts with positive thoughts.
Of course this is easier said than done. Using the example above, if those thoughts were to pass through my head I would try to spin them by reminding myself that “lots of women find bald men attractive” or “there are treatments available out there, I can at least try my hardest to stop hair loss” but again… easier said than done.
One thing that I have done is associate deep thoughts about my hair loss with negative emotions (i.e. sadness). This helps me more easily identify when I am having a negative thought so that I can actively turn it into a positive thought while it is happening(often thoughts will pass and you won’t realize they were negative until they are already gone). If you can learn this skill it will be monumental in changing your mindset about hair loss., it certainly did with me.
5. Never compare yourself to others
You are yourself and there’s no changing that.
If you try to compare yourself to others the only thing that will result from that is more sadness, depression, etc.
Now, I am certainly guilty of staring at my hair in the mirror for hours and getting sadder and sadder while also looking at pictures online of guys with perfect hairlines, but trust me if you can avoid that do it at all costs. There it literally no point, you cannot just snap your fingers and change your hair.
Once I stopped comparing myself to others, I stopped getting down about myself. This allowed me to focus more on my treatments and research and actually start getting results. In fact I have done a complete 180 and am actually thankful for my hair loss to a certain degree. It gave me an immense challenge physically and emotionally to overcome and has resulted in a strong work ethic, highly developed research skills, discipline, emotional stability, and improvement in so many other aspects of my life. If you work hard and using these mind tricks you can get exactly to where I am too.
Improve other aspects of your life
By improving your life as a whole you will see supplementary changes in your mood and mindset towards hair loss.
Whether or not you believe that other people will find you attractive despite your hair loss, there is one thing that is for certain: they will almost always find you more attractive if you are in shape.
Exercise is a great way to take your mind off your hair. It is a great way to build confidence. The way I started? Whenever I found myself in deep thought or sadness about my hair loss I would force myself to get up and move, even if it was just for 10-15 minutes. I would always feel better afterwards and this eventually developed into me implementing a full fledged fitness routine into my schedule.
Beyond just taking your mind off hair loss, there are actually physiological changes that take place when you exercise. Both endorphins and serotonin are released which have a host of benefits including alleviation of stress and regulation of mood, sleep, and appetite. Studies have even shown positive benefits for depression, a symptom commonly associated with hair loss.
Is another very important part of building/ regaining your confidence. Maintaining a healthy diet can give you more energy, clear up your skin, and just overall make you feel great while also improving your body image. These changes can certainly help with your mood or sadness about hair loss.
A healthy balanced diet also adequately supplies your body with essential vitamins, mineral, and nutrients, some of which your hair uses to grow.
Here is a whole article we wrote about diet, exercise, and your hair.
Meditation helps relieve stress and anxiety, especially that which is related to hair loss. It is a great way to spend 10-20 minutes taking your mind off your hair and re-focus it on your breathing. If you meditate consistently, it can be very beneficial to controlling your emotions and even better help you implement the coping mechanisms we talked about earlier into your habits.
A quick example of how meditation helped me control my emotions:
Hopefully this is relatable. There used to be times when I would walk by my mirror, or just be looking at myself, and become overwhelmed with sadness because I was losing my hair. All sorts of thoughts would run through my head and I felt hopeless. It was only through meditation that I noticed myself being able to start controlling and redirecting those emotions. Instead now when I start to notice that feeling coming back, I simply either keep walking and don’t think twice about what I just saw in the mirror, or decide to focus on something I like about myself that day. Meditation has helped me immensely.
Here is a link to an article detailing more ways that you can improve your life.
Things to avoid when dealing with hair loss
Now that we have covered all of the important things that you should do we need to talk about things that you should avoid. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by your hair loss and it can cause you to find yourself getting caught up in things that you shouldn’t. I am just as guilty of these as anyone.
Don’t search the internet for hours, and use reputable sources
Even though there has never been an official study done on it, I would care to guess that there is a high correlation between how bad someone’s hair loss is and how much time they spend reading articles about it on the internet. Like I said, I am guilty of this, as the treatments that I was reading about weren’t working, it only caused me to browse the internet for longer and longer.
Of course there is some amount of research that needs to be done. But, the unfortunate thing is that there is way too much information available online, and most of it is not accurate. The problem with the internet nowadays is that there will always be a “yes man” article for any treatment you want to try, even if it has no effect on your hair (like I said I tried rubbing raw onions on my scalp). These articles do a really good job of making a non-effective treatment seem like it will work.
Another thing you want to try and avoid is hair loss forums. Although there are some success stories and some good information on them, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. A lot of people are “self-proclaimed” hair loss experts that pass around false or misleading information, not to mention that there is a lot of negativity on these forums.
Your best bet is to do your research and find a site that you can say with 100% confidence does their best job to provide accurate, real information. They are out there, here are two that I really love:
https://www.folliclethought.com: Provides up to date information about new treatments
https://www.hairguard.com: Has very detailed, well written, extensive articles about almost anything you can think of relating to hair loss
https://www.prepareyourhair.com: This is my website. I try my hardest to provide the best information possible and have many years of research and experience dealing with hair loss under my belt.
Try not to think about it all day
This relates back to the coping strategies we talked about at the beginning of the article, but in a more general sense.
Of course, not thinking about your hair loss is easier said than done, but you must always bear in mind that life goes on and life can still be a lot of fun.
This is something that had an immense negative impact on the majority of my days for a long time, especially when I was trying to do something fun. Whenever I would go out with my friends, play sports, or pretty much anything, I always was thinking about my hair loss and worried about what other people thought. Through using the coping strategies that I talked about, I was able to start having fun again, and there is literally no better feeling.
If you let hair loss consume your mind all of the time you will only sink further and further into sadness and despair. On the flip side, if you actively try to change your mindset and be in the moment you will start enjoying things more. I’m still battling hair loss and I still have some bad days here and there where I just can’t seem to get it off my mind, what do I do? I’ll just throw a hat on during those days and try to forget about it. There is always something that can be done.
People who do not experience hair loss will never understand what we go through. It is very hard to put in to words how devastating physically and emotionally hair loss can be. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
If you decide to take control of your mind and practice healthy habits, not only will you probably be able to grow more hair back, but you will be happier. If you do not decide to take action, it could be a long road ahead. I was once on that long road too, I have been exactly where you are, but through changing my mind and body I was able to veer off that road and start my journey on a new path. It has taken a long time, but 7 years later I am happier than ever and I have more hair than I did in high school!
Time, consistency, dedication.