Sep 28, 2017 Hair Loss
Hair loss for a man can be very distressing. Some may embrace their new look while others seek a solution to the problem. Male pattern baldness can occur at any age and can cause upset and disappointment.
Hair loss tends to run in families so if your male relatives have lost their hair you are likely to lose yours. Men tend to progressively lose hair with plateaus where there is hardly any loss at all.
Most hair loss follows the same pattern until it eventually stops. Very few men end up completely bald and tend to shave the rogue pieces of hair. The cause of male pattern hair loss is due to oversensitive hair follicles and too much testosterone. Finasteride and Propecia are medications that are used to treat hair loss in men.
There are three common patterns of male pattern hair loss; general thinning all over, receding hairline and thinning crown or vortex. The earlier you start losing hair the more aggressive the loss is likely to be.
Male pattern baldness is caused by the hair follicles becoming shorter and wispier hair growing during each cycle. Each cycle lasts approximately three years.
Eventually hair will stop growing because the follicles are unable to sustain hair growth. This is caused by the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is related to Testosterone. There is no known cure for hair loss just treatments that slow or halt its progression.
Male pattern baldness has been an issue since human beings started caring about their appearance. Having a thick mane of hair has always been associated with strength and virility while baldness was a sign of weakness.
In Ancient Egypt men would resort to using the fat from, ‘a hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat, snake and ibex; porcupine hair boiled in water and applied to the scalp for four days.’ (Source: History.com).
While families who sported amazing hair growth would peddle, ‘snake oil’, as a cure in 1900 century America. Obviously, these treatments don’t actually work or nobody would be worrying about hair loss today. Here are some ways that male pattern baldness is treated (or disguised today).
In the past, it was obvious if you were trying to cover your baldness with a wig because they were often poorly fitting and very artificial. Today of course wigs and hairpieces can look so realistic they are mistaken for real hair.
You only have to look at how Bruce Willis carries off wigs in his films to see how good they can be. It is best to go to a reputable wig maker rather than buying one online to ensure that you purchase a wig that looks good.
The trusty comb-over is not a good look, neither is growing your hair long so it seems to be sliding down your head. A talented hairdresser can style your hair so that the hair loss is less obvious and the hair that you do have detracts from your bald patches.
If you have a significant amount of natural hair left you could have hair weaved into it. You can continue with your everyday life without having to change your appearance. The only downside is that you need to repeat the process every time your hair grows. Also, damage can be caused to your natural hair - supermodels suffer from similar hair damage due to hair extensions.
Wayne Rooney and Elton John are famous for their hair transplants. The procedure is pretty gross as it involves cutting off part of your scalp with healthy hair follicles and placing them in the balding part of your head. The success rate of this treatment varies and may need to be repeated frequently. If you have deep pockets it is easier to afford to do this but if you are short of cash it isn’t.
Both Finasteride and Propecia are used to treat hair loss. They work by reducing the amount of the hormone DHT. If you are suffering from mild to moderate hair loss you should start this type of treatment as soon as possible.
If successful they will prevent further loss and as long as you keep taking them the amount of hair you have will remain constant. However, once you stop taking them you will continue to lose hair. It is vitally important that they are taken under the guidance of your doctor.
As with all medication, there are side effects which include; impotence, decreased sexual desire and inability to ejaculate. You have to then decide if having hair is more important than having a sex life.
Some men who cannot come to terms with hair loss are advised to go and visit a counsellor to help them to embrace their new image. Unfortunately, male pattern baldness will not stop by itself so you will have to decide if you want to accept it or treat it.
By Parv Sagoo (October 2017)
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