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Chaetophobia is fear of hair, a type of specific phobia. Sufferers fear may be associated with human hair and/or animal hair. They fear people or animals with an excess amount of hair. They may also fear the hair on their own body. Some only fear detached or loose hair and do not mind attached hair. The term chaetophobia comes from the Greek χαίτη - khaitē, meaning "loose, flowing hair" and φόβος - phobos, meaning "fear".)
As with most phobias this fear could be the result of a negative experience with hair and/or a hairy person. The anxiety starts when the person remembers an experience whenever they are near a person with an excess amount of hair. Hair loss can be a trigger to this phobia, such as men going bald.
Some sufferers fear the hair on their own bodies because they think it is dirty or unattractive. They may fear things such as dandruff or head lice. This phobia is thought to be a spin-off of germaphobia, the fear of germs. They become obsessed with removing every hair on their body. This fear is often hygiene-related and sufferers feel uncomfortable in environments such as salons where hair is detached and on the ground. Some fear loose hair in their food or on furniture even if it is their own.
Intensive therapy and/or medication may have an effect on the anxiety side of the phobia. As with most phobias support groups and self relaxation techniques are some times effective in helping with the fear.