Baldness – exposed
It’s no laughing matter when you start losing your crowning glory. With more than 25% of the male population losing their hair by the time they hit 30, male baldness is a pervasive problem. We explore the truth, myths and remedies for it
Most men are afraid of commitment, but losing their hair is right up there on the list too. And, just as they do to avoid commitment, guys come up with many excuses to hide it – ugly comb-overs, toupees, herbal creams that don’t work, expensive hair replacement grafts and more. But until they accept that male alopecia is something they have to live with, running away from the situation will only make it more obvious. Rather embrace the situation gracefully.
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
With hair being a symbol of virility and masculinity, losing it can be a traumatising experience, especially if it happens at a young age when you’re at the height of vanity. It’s cold comfort but an estimated 40% of South African men between 20 and 65 years have male pattern baldness.
The naked truth is, when it comes to head hair, most people would do anything to keep it thick and full. Baldness has always been associated with old men, ageing, eunuchs and monks – undesirable categories to most people.
But the tide is slowly changing thanks to the hunky appeal of many clean-shaven chiskop celebrities. Many women actually find shaven heads sexy (think Taye Diggs, Common, Zidane, Vin Diesel, The Rock and even David Beckham, at one point).
But there are several factors that cause hair loss – both hormonal and genetic.
Want to know if you’ll lose your hair at some point? Just take a look at your mother’s father or even your own father. Another factor that plays a large part in male baldness is the very same hormone that determines a man’s masculinity – testosterone, specifically the hormone DHT, which causes men with high levels of it to lose their hair at a higher rate. Other factors include stress, trauma, major surgery, certain illnesses and pulling your hair with excessive force.
By the time they’re 30, 25% of men will begin to lose their hair. The most common form of baldness is a progressive hairthinning condition known as male pattern baldness. In this situation, hair recedes from the sides of the forehead (commonly known as a receding hairline). Other forms include traction alopecia (often found in people with too-tight ponytails or dreadlocks) and spot baldness (losing hair in a particular spot). At 60, most men will see more of their scalp than they ever wanted to.
THE BARE FACTS
Losing hair may be a physical dilemma, but the implications are psychological. Among younger men, especially, this is a big issue. Many men become depressed and lose their selfconfidence at the same rate that they’re losing their hair. They associate balding with the loss of their masculinity – and since most guys don’t talk to their friends or family about a problem like this, they end up feeling helpless.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can conceal your baldness – from the cheesy comb-over (although we don’t recommend it) to expensive hair transplants (that can go wrong, if performed by someone who isn’t professional). There are also numerous products promising to restore hair growth, but the sad truth is that most of these are useless.
Perhaps the easiest solution to male baldness is to learn to live with it and understand that it’s not the end of the world – or your masculinity. Women will still be drawn to you, hair or no hair, the situation isn’t as bleak as you think.
So embrace your baldness and make it your crowning glory instead!
“The easiest solution to male baldness is to learn to live with it and understand that it’s not the end of the world – or your masculinity.”