Male pattern baldness can affect the confidence of men in many ways, here our resident hair loss expert, Spencer Stevenson shares his experiences and advice on the subject.
You know the James Bond movie Skyfall? Well I’d love to see a James Bond epic called Hairfall. Yes indeed, why not a bald Bond? He’s ‘the man’ in so many ways and would help make every man facing male pattern baldness feel better about themselves. The storyline could be about a dastardly hairless dude with the power to turn every man in the world bald via some depraved biological weapon. Oh, the havoc it would wreak upon the earth! Men everywhere would be at panic stations. It would be up to James Bond to put down his martini, climb into his Aston Martin and pursue the evil one, while MI5 sets about developing the antidote to the secret toxin.
Sure, this is the stuff of nightmares but I’m here to tell you that every man who notices his increasingly sparse head of hair secretly wishes for a hero to save the day. You may feel alone, isolated and trapped, as if no one in the world is going through what you are.
Real world hair loss
Dramatics aside, The American Hair Loss Association states that hair loss is a fact of life for about 85% of men who’ve reached 50 years of age. For some unlucky guys, it’s been happening since they were the tender age of just 21. So you see, it’s not really an old guy’s ailment. Much of it is what’s known as male pattern baldness, but there are myriad other reasons why your hair could fall out:
- Medical conditions like lupus, anaemia, diabetes and thyroid disease.
- Infections including fungal infections like ringworm.
- Skin conditions such as alopecia, follicle infection, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and sunburn.
- Cancer treatments.
- Nutrient deficiencies (low iron, low protein, bulimia, anorexia, malnutrition) and nutrient oversupply (too much vitamin A or selenium).
- Hormonal disorders involving the thyroid or pituitary glands.
- Hair products and treatments like hot oils, dyes and other chemicals.
- Stress such as over-work, money worries, relationship problems or even chronic or acute illnesses.
- Medication usage, for instance, some antidepressants and anticonvulsants, retinoids, ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants and beta blockers.
- Drug abuse such as anabolic steroids.
What does male pattern baldness look like?
If you want a proper male pattern baldness diagnosis, you can go and see a hair loss expert. But for starters, there are ways you can check for yourself using the Norwood Scale.
- The front of your head. Male pattern baldness usually begins – or is more evident – at the front of the scalp. As hair loss progresses, it causes the frontal hairline to take on an ‘M’ shape because the hairs at the crown and temples seem to be the most sensitive to the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). If not an M, then it may look like a half-moon. Eventually, the middle of the M will continue to recede and it will resemble a ‘U’ or horse-shoe shape. The further back the recession, the more advanced the male pattern baldness and of course, in some men, it ultimately becomes complete baldness. So, are you seeing an ‘M’, ‘U’ or half-moon shape? If so, go along to an expert for a proper diagnosis.
- Hair fall. Have you noticed lots of hair falling out? Is it on your pillow, your car’s headrest, the back of your shirts and jackets? Are you seeing lots of hair on the floor of the shower or the bathroom? Are you pulling hairs out of your brush and comb after styling it? If you really want to check on the rate of your hair loss, take a photo of your hairs on the floor or on your pillow case each week and compare over a month or so. This evidence will also be useful to take along to a consultation appointment.
- Selfies, before and after. Even if you’re not the type of guy who regularly takes selfies, now could be the time you start. I would suggest taking a photo of yourself in the bathroom mirror once a week on the same day, at the same time of day (so the lighting is the same). After a couple of months, line the pics up on your computer, side by side, and see if you notice much difference in the volume of hair. If you do see a noticeable change, then go off to a hair loss consultant and take your photos with you.
What kind of consultant to see
Your first port of call might be your GP. He or she may even know you well enough to notice a change in your hair volume. Take any evidence with you such as photos, your brush or comments people have made. Try to remember when you first started noticing a change because no matter who you see, they’ll ask this question. Your GP may refer you to a hair loss specialist. Put your worries aside that they may confirm your fears because the only way forward is to be proactive. A hair loss consultant will use a densitometer magnifier to examine your scalp to see if you are experiencing miniaturisation of your hair follicles. You’ll also be asked about family hair loss history and you may be recommended to have a scalp biopsy.
The future for your hair
The sooner you jump on a solution, the sooner you’ll potentially start to feel better about your MPB (Male Pattern Baldness). That’s not to say you’ll be happy about it, but at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with the issue head on and doing the best you can to help prevent the further progression of hair loss and ideally even reverse the situation.
As for dear Mr Bond, I’m not sure that we can expect a bald Bond any time soon. The world doesn’t seem ready for a hairless hero. That dubious honour always seems to belong to the villains in these tales - think Blofeld, the notorious leader of SPECTRE. Oh, and Dr Evil in the Bond-esque spoofs. Meanwhile, keep in mind that Sean Connery did in fact turn chrome-dome post-Bond and carries himself with great charisma.
Whatever you want for yourself, make it happen. Either shave your head and be done with all that hair nonsense or start investigating your hair loss options.
For further information on hair loss, visit Vitabiotics’ hair loss expert’s site: www.spexhair.com
To learn about Hairfollic, our multivitamin designed to help maintain normal hair health, visit: www.hairfollic.com