To be able to deal with going bald, you must understand baldness in-depth from the definition to the causes and possible solutions. Firstly, it’s best for us to understand what baldness truly is.
What is baldness?
Baldness is a term used to refer to a scalp which lacks hair partly or wholly. In medical terms, baldness is known as alopecia. Although baldness is most common at the top or front of the head (alopecia areata), it can be patchy or affect the entire head (alopecia capitis totalis).
Men lose hair for many reasons, so hair loss may not necessarily translate to baldness. It could be a medical condition or other causes.
However, the most common form of hair loss in men is MPB or Male Pattern Baldness. This form of hair loss is genetic i.e., caused by a genetic condition associated with a testosterone by-product called Dihydrotestosterone. This by-product attaches itself to hair follicles causing them to thin/shrink over time to form partial or total baldness at the top or front of the head. If you have MPB, your baldness has been passed over to you from either side of your family tree.
Note: You could still become bald even if your father has perfectly thick hair.
Knowing the prevalence of baldness in the world today can offer you some comfort. For instance, I got some much-needed comfort when I discovered that approximately 70% of all men deal with balding or hair thinning problems at some point in life. It’s also worth noting that baldness risks increase with age i.e., 40% of men suffer from baldness by age 35 while 80% of all men aged 80 and above suffer from baldness.
You would also be surprised to know that 60% of all men with baldness would rather have more hair than more money or friends. What’s more; men are more likely to seek surgical solutions than women i.e., 20% vs. 12% although women are the first to seek help.
So.. Why is baldness such a big deal?
Part of the secret of dealing with going bald lies in understanding why it is a big deal in the first place.
According to a 2015 UK survey involving 2,000 men, a majority of the men in the survey stated they would rather be cheated on or lose their jobs than go bald. The same survey revealed that approximately 33% of all men think about baldness/hair thinning problems every day. Also, 20% of the men in the study thought baldness or hair thinning makes men less attractive.?Although the study was conducted in the UK, it?s a pretty clear indication of how bad the problem is.
Let?s face it! Noticing the first glimpse of a bald spot on your head is a shattering realization for many. However, it can be less challenging depending on how you look at things. For instance, baldness isn?t as bad as having a chronic illness. However, I am not saying you should ignore the problem.
Hair is a symbol of vitality. It is also a sign of youth. Ignoring the symbolism as well as how baldness makes you feel isn?t the solution. Psychologist, Corinne Sweet attests to this fact. According to Corinne, men associate baldness with loss of power and attractiveness. According to most men, a head full of hair is a symbol of youth, virility, and good health. This explains why many men panic at the thought of baldness especially when it happens during their prime.
Many research studies on hair loss have revealed serious psychological effects on a person?s self-esteem and overall quality of life. Going bald can make you the butt of people?s jokes which can be very hurtful. I know countless people who think its fine to joke about a man’s baldness or thinning hair. I have experienced it first hand and to say the least; it’s not funny if you are the subject.
Before looking at how to deal with going bald, you need to determine if you are going bald in the first place. MPB is easy to identify. You don?t need any clinical experience to know when you are going bald. MPB affects the top of the scalp resulting in a horseshoe hair loss pattern. The baldness can assume different patterns such as; general thinning, a thinning crown or a receding hairline. Thinning is usually concentrated on top of the head.
General thinning is the most rear pattern of baldness. As the name suggests, the thinning is even over the top. If you are experiencing this pattern of hair loss, you will have a thinning crown (top/back of the head) or distinct receding hairline. General thinning takes longer to identify because the thinning happens evenly from the onset. Luckily, this pattern of hair loss can be prevented in most cases and even reversed. General thinning doesn’t affect the sides or back of the scalp. If you have hair loss in these areas, you may have another condition.
Vertex or Thinning crown
This type of balding pattern affects the top and back of the head (the vertex or crown). This pattern can come alongside a receding hairline, but sometimes you may have one pattern. A vertex or thinning crown pattern starts with thinning until your scalp is visible. This is followed by a bald patch which progresses until it joins a receding hairline or results in prominent baldness at the back or top of the head. The extent of this pattern of thinning differs from one person to another although crown baldness is very common.
This is the most common baldness pattern today. A receding hairline (or window?s peak) starts at the forehead (either side). The hair loss results in the formation of a triangular peak on top of the head. Some men can experience crown thinning; however, for most men, the hair loss stops at the top of the head. If you experience aggressive MPB, your hairline is bound to recede further (until it meets the crown or results in a bald area at the front or top of your head).
It can be challenging trying to grow a receding hairline; however, there are treatments I have discussed below that are capable of reversing most (if not all types) of hair loss patterns. It is possible to experience unprecedented hair growth levels in your frontal areas with the right kind of treatment/combination of treatments.
So.. how do I deal with going bald?
Now that you know the basics of going bald, it’s time to focus on dealing with the problem.?Once you understand that baldness is caused mostly by genetic factors, it becomes easier to deal with the problem. You have very little to no control over what is ingrained in your DNA. Also, the fact that baldness affects most men should make it easier to embrace the problem. Contrary to popular belief, the biggest challenge about balding is not the physical but emotional aspect of the problem.
The first/most important step to coping with any problem you have little to no control over is acceptance. Once you accept, you are in a better position to see what you can do to make things better. Denying an obvious problem like baldness won?t get you anywhere. Acceptance allows you to think straight and look at the best options available to you. Instead of focusing on denial options like a “comb-over”, you’ll be able to think clearly and focus on better solutions once you accept i.e. finding the best hairstyle or ways of slowing down the process.
There are more reasons to embrace baldness. For instance, a 2012 study conducted in the US and published in the Social Psychological & Personality Science Journal suggests that bald men appear more powerful, stronger and dominant compared to their ?hairy? counterparts.?This
is contrary to popular belief. The study shows that being bald isn?t that bad after all. In fact, it is better than having hair according to some men and women.
This can be attested in the entertainment scene. Popular actors like Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Dwayne Johnson are bald but considered powerful and attractive. In fact, these actors are the epitome of male masculinity. In this context, being bald is great. Many people are of the opinion that bald men are more attractive. Furthermore, not all men worry about going bald.
Many experts in psychology argue that it all boils down to confidence. In a nutshell, the man who embraces his baldness with confidence gets rid of a big part of the problem immediately. To put it bluntly, baldness is all in your head.
If you deal with baldness by being ashamed, the problem becomes bigger. It also becomes a huge turn-off according to Amanda Sanders, a New York Image consultant. According to Sanders, women are more attracted to men who are confident about their looks even if they are bald. Sanders advises against trying to hide the problem or trying to ?hang on? the little hair that is left. She finds hair weaves, hair plugs and other alternatives fake and unattractive. Sanders advices bald men to act as if baldness doesn?t matter to them and it won?t matter to everyone else.
The same strategy is embraced by many bald Hollywood actors. Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson and many others like Prince William project unmatched self-assurance. They also don?t make any effort to hide their baldness or thinning hair problems.
I can attest to the power of embracing baldness as the first and most important step to dealing with the problem. My life became better when I embraced the problem and stopped caring too much about hair loss or what other people think.
If you find it hard to embrace baldness and want to go ahead and look for a solution, no problem! There are several great treatments available. Treatments are advisable when you notice the problem early and want to do something about it as soon as possible. Like most treatments, the probability of success is higher when the problem is addressed immediately. As long as you haven’t lost all/most of your hair, there are treatments out there. It is possible to slow down as well as stop hair thinning.
Male pattern baldness can be treated using clinically proven medicine, laser devices as well as hair restoration surgery. There are also many products available today with no clinical efficacy. The importance of doing thorough research on proven treatment methods can’t, therefore, be overlooked. Fortunately, I have done all the hard work for you, so you don’t have to waste precious time and money or risk your health using trial and error methods.
Stress medication and exercise
Although baldness is caused mostly by genetic factors, stress accelerates the problem. Periods characterized by rapid hair loss tend to have stress as the underlying factor. The reason? Stress invades the body alongside the hormone cortisol responsible for mediating a number of metabolic processes. The presence of cortisol forces other hormone levels to fluctuate. If you are genetically predisposed to balding, stress will speed up the process. Hair loss expert, Melissa Piliang can attest to this. To control stress-related baldness or hair loss problems, Piliang recommends traditional medication or active meditation such as tai chi or yoga.
Committing to get into better shape can also help according to numerous studies. One such study done in 2015 discovered that older men who are physically fit release 42% less cortisol daily compared to their unfit counterparts.?
Antihypertensive vasodilator medication such as Minoxidil can’t restore lost hair. However, the medication can reduce as well as prevent further hair loss. The medication can also help you grow some hair back. Minoxidil is a topical medication applied on the affected areas to boost blood flow which in turn, boosts oxygen and nutrient delivery to the hair follicles. Minoxidil works by opening potassium channels which when blocked are responsible for hair loss. The medication is applied on the scalp twice a day (in the morning and at night).
According to Dr. Piliang, you can choose the 5% foam over liquid Minoxidil when you don?t want to get a greasy coating. Minoxidil stands out for being one of the few FDA approved medication for treating baldness. Furthermore, the medication isn’t linked to harmful side effects such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction as is the case with some oral baldness medication.
Finasteride is another FDA-approved primary hair loss medication capable of helping you deal with baldness. The medication is also approved in the UK by the MHRA. Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor which simply means that the medication prevents the formation of DHT, the testosterone by-product responsible for causing baldness.
Besides medication and exercise, baldness can be dealt with using laser devices. The FDA has approved several laser treatments for baldness. Among those devices is the laser comb, a hand-held low-power laser device specifically designed for the scalp. The laser comb is used three times weekly to treat the affected area. Treatment sessions last for 10 to 15 sessions. The laser comb works by promoting stabilization and regrowth. One theory suggests lasers act as antioxidants when they act on hair follicles.
The laser comb device comes highly recommended as a part of primary hair loss treatment. The effectiveness of laser devices in treating baldness has been attested in a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. According to the study, men who received laser treatment three times weekly saw a rapid increase in their hair volume after 26 weeks. It is, however, worth noting that the effectiveness of laser devices isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Nevertheless, laser treatment might offer a placebo effect boosting your confidence even when there is no significant hair growth.
If you care to discover more about how to deal with going bald, try supplementation. According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, people suffering from an autoimmune disorder alopecia areata known to cause hair loss are three times more likely to be Vitamin D deficient compared to their counterparts with healthy hair. According to Dr. Piliang, Vitamin D is vital for resetting hair growth phases. To increase regrowth, for instance, you are supposed to take approximately 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. Supplementation is highly recommended during winter when you have the least exposure to sunlight, the main source of Vitamin D.
Important: Never ?bake? your head out in the sun to boost Vitamin D production. Doing this can introduce serious health risks such as skin cancer.
When taking supplements, focus on those formulated by hair growth experts only. It is also advisable to stick to 100% natural supplements to avoid side effects. The best supplements are those formulated with all the essential ingredients required to promote healthy hair growth. They include a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids as well as botanical extracts. A popular ingredient in effective hair loss supplements is saw palmetto, a herbal extract that boosts hair loss stabilization. Saw palmetto also boosts the entire full hair loss treatment process.
Like most treatments for baldness, supplements should be used alongside other treatments i.e., medication like minoxidil and laser treatment to increase the chances of success. You should seek medical advice from hair loss experts to get the best combination of baldness treatment that will work for you.
Clinical treatment therapy
This treatment is recommended for people with hair loss and/or scalp problems. Clinical therapy is usually done once in a fortnight, monthly or quarterly. The treatment sessions involve clinical visits lasting for approximately one hour. Typical treatment sessions include steam scalp treatment, laser therapy, infrared light therapy and massage.
The sole purpose of clinical treatments is maintaining and boosting the condition of the scalp and hair to stimulate hair growth. Clinical treatment therapy may involve special shampoo and conditioner formulations specially designed for different hair types. The therapy may not contribute to regrowth. However, it helps maintain the scalp and the hair that is present.
Home remedies (anti-androgen shampoo)
How do deal with going bald can be as simple as replacing your standard shampoo for an anti-androgen shampoo. You can ask your doctor or a hair loss specialist to prescribe a good anti-androgen shampoo for you. Anti-androgens stop conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, the testosterone by-product responsible for hair loss.
Dr. Piliang recommends anti-androgens like Ketoconazole shampoo which is marketed as an anti-dandruff shampoo. According to Dr. Piliang, Ketoconazole works like finasteride but is restrained to the scalp which helps avoid negative side effects. When using shampoo products, step out of the shower and massage the shampoo on your scalp. Wait for 2-3 minutes and rinse.
Hair transplant surgery
If you’re searching for a permanent solution on how to deal with going bald, you might want to consider hair transplant surgery. This treatment comes highly recommended because it is effective for treating both male and female genetic hair loss affecting the top or front of the scalp. Hair transplant surgery is possible because only follicles on the top/front of the scalp have receptors sensitive to the hormone responsible for causing hair loss.
When hair is extracted from other areas of the scalp like the sides or back and transplanted to the front/top, the hair grows and produces more hair for life. Hair transplant has come a long way. In the past twenty years, the procedure has evolved from an old graft technique to mini as well as micro graft transplantation.
Modern hair transplant surgery is capable of creating the perfect natural appearance. It is possible to replant a group of hairs 2-3 hairs) or single hairs to match a person?s natural hair growth pattern today using the mini and micro hair transplant graft technique.
In case you are wondering if hair transplant surgery is the best hair loss treatment for you, it is necessary to consider all the options at your disposal before making a decision. It is recommendable to try a variety of effective treatments for six months or more before considering surgery. Furthermore, hair loss treatments are best administered as a combination. It is possible to enjoy success that is as good, if not better than hair transplant surgery using other treatments.
Despite being extremely effective, hair transplant surgery has its own shortfalls such as cost. It is undoubtedly the most expensive treatment for baldness out there today considering costs range from $4,000 to $40,000 depending on factors such as the size of treatment area, the surgeon’s experience, type of procedure as well as the no. of grafts. If cost is an issue, this treatment should be your last resort.
It is also important to acknowledge the preventative treatments required after surgery. Although the transplanted hair grows normally, the hair around the treatment area can start thinning prompting the need for preventative/regrowth treatments after surgery. The importance of finding the best surgeon around you can?t also be overlooked. You should seek treatment from reputable surgeons only.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how to deal with going bald
If I don?t seek treatment immediately, will I go bald?
It depends. Factors such as the root-cause of your hair loss and type of hair loss dictate whether you will go bald eventually if you don?t seek treatment. If you have temporary hair loss which is rare in men, you won?t go bald. If you have Male Pattern Baldness, the severity of your hair loss depends. For instance, men who have aggressive MPB initially have a higher chance of losing their hair extensively and at a faster rate if they don?t seek treatment. Total baldness can happen as early as 18 years old when you have aggressive MPB, and you don’t seek treatment. The best way to tell if you will go bald eventually is to determine when your hair loss started and the rate of thinning. It?s always advisable to do something about your hair loss as early as possible if you don?t want to go bald.
How do I identify hair loss?
Although this seems like an obvious question, most men don?t know they are suffering from hair loss until the problem is in the advanced stages. In most cases, men with hair loss problems learn about the problem from other people. When this happens, your chances of enjoying a full recovery are low. Most men fail to identify hair loss problems because of denial or when the process is too slow to notice. It is also common for men to worry about losing hair when there is no reason to do so. There are three main ways of identifying hair loss. One is checking your hairline. If you have a receding hairline or notice thinning hair, you have a hair loss problem. You can also identify hair loss via other people. If more than one person comments about your hair loss, receding hairline, thinning hair, etc., you have a problem. Also, if you notice excessive hair on the bath plug after showering or on your pillow after waking up, you have a hair loss problem.
When should I seek treatment for my hair loss or baldness?
You should deal with hair loss problems as early as possible. As mentioned above, your chances of enjoying a full regrowth are higher when you seek treatment immediately. You should visit a hair loss specialist the moment you start shedding hair. There are chronic hair loss problems like Male Pattern Hair loss that tend to progress very fast if you don?t take any action.
Will I get my hair back?
Hair loss treatments aren?t guaranteed to work 100%. Effectiveness is subject to many factors. For instance, different people can respond to the same treatment differently. The time it takes to seek treatment also determines the probability of enjoying a full recovery. As mentioned above, you should seek treatment immediately. The effectiveness of treatment is also dictated by where you seek treatment. You are bound to deal with your baldness problems completely if you go to a reputable hair loss expert.
Your chances of enjoying a full recovery are also dictated by the treatment you receive. Treatment programs which utilize a combination of
effective baldness treatments tend to work better compared to programs which focus on one treatment. You should also consider getting clinically proven treatments only.
In a nutshell, the baldness treatments discussed above are effective. Although not everyone will enjoy high levels of regrowth from the same treatment/s, any response to the treatment should be considered a success including hair loss stabilization that isn?t accompanied by an increase in hair density. This is simply because, without treatment, it is impossible to stop hair loss.
The importance of dealing with experts can?t be overlooked when looking at how to deal with going bald. It’s also crucial to focus on clinically proven treatments only. Since baldness is a common problem affecting over 80% of all men at least once in their lifetime, there are many unscrupulous individuals who come up with fake products every day or masquerade as experts on the subject. There are countless baldness treatments out there today most of which don?t work. Some are potentially harmful. To avoid serious side effects or even worsening your hair loss problem further, stick to tested and proven hair loss treatments only. Doing this will also save you precious time, effort and money you would otherwise waste trying every baldness treatment you come across.
Although there are many treatments you can try on your own, it is advisable to visit your doctor first. Specialist care is recommendable, especially when taking baldness medication since you will most likely need a combination of medicines and treatments to get the best results possible. Specialist care also allows close monitoring and custom care when treatments aren’t working as they should. A medical practitioner will also help you avoid harmful side effects caused by taking medicines containing allergens.
You should also familiarize yourself with proper grooming habits. For instance, thinning hair is best kept short. The hair should also be blunt-cut across the ends to boost the texture.