One day, as you stare at yourself in the mirror, you’ll realize you simply can’t deny it anymore. You’re going bald.
Hair loss can be a big blow to men. Psychologically. It’s most likely the first sign that they’re getting old and a reminder that one’s youth is slipping away. It can make even a good-looking man feel less confident and attractive, so you can just imagine what it can do to the average looking guy. Some men are unable to accept this stage and start wearing caps wherever they go. Or they stubbornly stick with the hairstyle they had when they still had a headful of hair.
Hair loss is something that affects millions of men worldwide. 40 million men in the USA are affected, according to the website of Medem Medical Library. Twenty five % of men begin balding by age 30. As many as 50% of men are affected by male pattern baldness by the age of 50 and by the age of 6o, as many as two-thirds of men are showing signs of balding. Even one in four women in America suffer some degree of hair loss beginning at the age of 50.
What’s causing it?
More than 95% of hair thinning in men is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. It is characterized by hair receding from the lateral sides of the forehead and/or balding at the area known as vertex (or the part of the head where you would normally put a crown). Both become more pronounced until they eventually meet, leaving a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair around the back of the head.
Some old wives’ tales claimed that baldness can only be inherited from the maternal grandfather. While there is some basis for this belief, both parents contribute to their offspring’s likelihood of hair loss. There is a 4 in 7 chance of receiving the baldness gene from your parents. If anyone from either your mother’s or father’s side is bald, there’s a chance you’ll go bald, too.
Of course, there’s nothing you can do about your genes. You just have to deal with it, but there are some cases that thinning hair are caused by something else, and that’s what you can control.
If your hair is always in ponytails or cornrows, most likely, your hair’s been pulled with excessive force. Rigorous brushing, heat styling and rough scalp massage can damage the hard outer casing of the hair, which can weaken the hair strands and break off. This condition is called Traction Alopecia.
Stress can also cause hair loss. According to studies, stress has been shown to restrict the blood supply to the capillaries, which inhibits the oxygen and nutrient uptake of hair follicles thus hampering their growth.
Some prescription drugs, including those for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol come with the unfortunate side effect of hair thinning and hair loss. Steroids and acne medications may also have the same effect as anything that affect the body’s hormonal balance can have this side effect. Medical procedures, such as radiation of the scalp for treatment of certain type of cancers, can also cause baldness of the irradiated areas.
You may have calcium deposits on your scalp. These are salts that harden and may form a bump under the skin, but the cause of this phenomenon is somewhat unknown. When this happens in the scalp, calcium deposits shut the pores in your head, which prevent the hair from coming out of your scalp. Clear this up by washing your hair with vinegar, wrap a hot towel around your head and let it sit for a few minutes, but ensure to wash with shampoo after.
Studies have shown that poor nutrition, limited food intake, and deficiencies in certain nutrients such as biotin, protein and zinc can cause hair thinning, but not necessarily complete baldness. A diet high in animal fats (often found in fast food ) and excessive Vitamin A is also thought to have an effect on hair loss.
What can you do?
If going bald really bothers you, there’s a few techniques that you could do.
Of course, you can always try wearing a toupee. Make sure you get a fine-fitting and well crafted wig to avoid being the butt of jokes. A toupee can actually look natural if you spend enough money to get the best kind. You’re willing to spend anyway, wo might as well get the best one.
You can also buy over-the-counter topical medications (such as Rogaine). Simply apply it on your head and it will promote hair growth and will keep the hair you have left from falling out, but once you stop using this on a regular basis, hair loss will resume. That means you have to invest a small fortune if you want to keep your hair.
A more permanent solution is to have a hair transplant. A doctor will relocate bald resistant hair follicles from the back of your head to the balding areas at the top of your head. Hair follicles on the back of your head are resistant to hair loss, so you shouldn’t have to worry about balding again.
The best option though, is to accept that you’re balding and just embrace it. It’s cheaper and it does not require much effort. When you start noticing your receding hairline, just remember that millions of men go bald but still have successful careers and love lives. Think Andre Agassi, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel and even Prince Albert of Monaco.
No one else will make a big deal out of the absence of hair in your head if you don’t.