International Journal of Trichology International Journal of Trichology
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61  

Mind the hair

President, The Hair Research Society of India, No. 10, Ritherdon Avenue, Vepery, Chennai - 600 007, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication1-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Patrick Yesudian
President, The Hair Research Society of India, No. 10, Ritherdon Avenue, Vepery, Chennai - 600 007, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.96894

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How to cite this article:
Yesudian P. Mind the hair. Int J Trichol 2012;4:61

How to cite this URL:
Yesudian P. Mind the hair. Int J Trichol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Jun 4];4:61. Available from: https://www.ijtrichology.com/text.asp?2012/4/2/61/96894

To mind the hair, a Trichologist needs to know the profound influence of the mind on the hair. Call it mind, soul, spirit, or psyche, one can envisage a future subspecialty of psychotrichology.

Pulling out one's hairs can be a manifestation of anger, sorrow, or frustration. The two biblical priests, Ezra and Nehemiah, reacted in different ways when they found the children of Israel taking pagan wives for themselves. While the former pulled out his own scalp and beard hairs which can be a very painful procedure, the latter Nehemiah wisely pulled out the hairs of the people of Israel standing around him to show his anger.

Though trichotillomania as psychiatric disorder was described even in the nineteenth century, other psychiatric manifestations of hair disorders like trichoteiromania (compulsive rubbing of hair) and trichotemnomania (compulsive cutting of hair) have been recorded in recent times. Have we just started recognizing them or are they really new entities devised by the human mind as a reaction to the increasing stress placed on human beings, thus expanding the spectrum of psycho-trichology?

It is a well-known fact that alopecia areata and telogen effluvium can have a psychological basis, but what has come as a surprise is that pattern alopecia with its well-recognized genetic and endocrine background also benefits from psychotherapy!

Male pattern baldness has been shown to have significant impact on quality of life and result in serious psychological problems. There are claims that the presence of preexisting personality disorders in a person may determine the type of alopecia prone to happen.

Different people react differently to loss of hair. From total devastation to the extent of contemplating suicide to complete indifference to loss of hair can be seen in our daily trichological practice. For instance, Seneca (3 B.C - A.D 65) advisor to Emperor Nero took his baldness in his stride and if pointed out by his friends, said "I don't consider myself bald; I am just taller than my hair." On the other hand, bald Aristotle standing in his balcony used to gaze enviously at the flowing locks of the eunuchs of Athens.

It follows therefore that a Trichologist needs to spend some time in probing in to the psychological background of a patient who presents with hair loss, whatever the cause may be.

Plato said many millennia ago "this is the tragedy of our times that in the treatment of the patient, the physicians separate the body from the soul", and in today's context we can add the hair to the mind.


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