Understanding the Emotional Impact of Hair Loss: Dismissing Others’ Experiences is Hurtful

by Y on February 14, 2023

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If someone has taken the time to share about their hair loss, or post about it online, please don’t dismiss what they are going through. 

Comments such has:

“Your Hair Loss Isn’t That Bad,” or

“I’ve Seen Worse,” or

“Mine is Worse”

Are dismissive and hurtful, to the majority of people on the receiving end. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but to myself and MANY other women comments like these are dismissive and diminish our own suffering we have had to contend with, with our hair loss.  To those that have moved on to another acceptance point in their journey, it can also be potentially quite triggering to a regressive state of a time when they experienced more pain in dealing with their hair loss. 

The struggle is already real for many women with hair loss, no need to add to it. 

Time and time again, I see women feel like they have to PROVE their hair loss. No one is claiming hair loss for the fun of it, no proof is required. 

You do not need to prove your hair loss to anyone, however much you may feel you need to, for that understanding and validation – this is true for friends, family, and online.

This gets tricker when it comes to trying to get medical help, and doctors say, “You’re Fine,” and you most definitely know, you are not fine. That’s a whole different story, and one I faced very early on in my hair loss, it took seeing many doctors to get diagnosed, and not just someone doing a quick hair pull test and shoving me out the door.  

The pain of my hair loss was so much for me from the onset in 1999, it did not matter there was still so much left at that time, or that no one saw it, it was frightening and changing my appearance – I saw it, in the mirror, in the brush, in the shower – and it was very difficult to deal with and process, and my situation was made worse every time I was dismissed or my suffering (and it was suffering) was minimized. The amount of follicles left at that time on my head did not help ease my pain of this new disorder I found myself smack in the middle of at the age of 21. It was terrifying.

The emotional toll of hair loss is extreme for many of us, it changed how I did so many things, how I looked at myself, or how I tried to avoid looking at myself… better stated, even the chair I’d rush to choose at a restaurant to avoid the harsh over head lighting spot became hair loss dependent, eventually every aspect of my life was ruled by my hair loss.

That changed, in time… after many years, and I am so appreciative that I have learned to live with hair loss, but one thing that still really annoys me is when anyone tries to invalidate or be dismissive of my situation, even now after 24 years of hair loss… 11 of which I’ve worn wigs. I have worked really hard to reach the place of acceptance that I have, and I continue to face new challenges, like being diagnosed (this past year) with a second type of hair loss in addition to my female pattern baldness.

It’s important to recognize that hair loss can be a significant source of emotional pain, suffering and insecurity for many women and men. Dismissing or belittling their experiences can be hurtful and triggering, it’s really not, “Just Hair.”

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