How to boldly go – bald

man inspecting hair

Going bald? Denial or panic are common initial responses.
Image source: Shutterstock

The first time a friend or relative points out your thinning pate, no man alive can deny the stomach-swooping feeling: Who me? Bald? Men pretend to be fine with baldness – until it happens to them.

A surfeit of hairs in the sink or shower plughole? Shedding onto the pillow? Maybe you’re losing it. As Man for Himself says: “For a lot of men, they either go into denial or they panic. Neither will help.”

Nobody can stop themselves going bald, here’s how to take it like a man.

Is it true?

thinning scalp

The hair on the crown starting to thin.
Image source: Shutterstock

Just because someone says you’re losing your hair doesn’t make it true. We all lose between 20 and 100 hairs daily, and that’s completely natural – it’s simply part of the life-cycle of hair. It grows, it matures, it falls out, the follicle rests, and the cycle begins again.

What happens in male pattern baldness is that your hair follicles become sensitive to a type of testosterone called DHT, and shut down permanently. Hair is finite: You only have the number of follicles you were born with; as soon as they begin to die off, you begin to thin.

Before you panic, get a real friend to take a picture of your crown. Better still, trust no one; stand in front of a mirror and like a barber, position a hand mirror over your head. Have a good long look and be honest with yourself.

It is true!

OK – now you can panic. But when you’re done, take a seat, pour yourself a stiff one, and face the facts: You are going bald. What are you going to do about it? Here are your options.

Denial

man with combover

Never succumb to the combover.
Image source: Shutterstock

The Idle Man has some excellent “temporary solutions” for trimming your remaining hair to limit the ravages of your raging hair loss hormones. As they say: “When talking about hair loss, ‘temporary’ could mean twenty years, so they are worth a shot.”

But never let yourself succumb to a comb-over. Even if you don’t go for the full Bobby Charlton, the man who hides his ever-widening bald spot behind a fastidiously arranged curtain of hair from elsewhere on his head, is a man who deceives only himself.

Please don’t cover up – it’s so painfully obvious that friends will cross the street to avoid the awkwardness of talking to you while trying not to look the bodge job you’ve made of your barnet. Yes, you can get away with styling your hair to disguise a receding hairline, or thinning crown. But you need to do it carefully, and you need to know when to stop – the earlier the better.

Self-medicating

hair loss treatment

Do expensive hair loss treatments really work?
Image source: Shutterstock

There are products that claim to halt or reverse hair loss, but these can be expensive. Before you shell out on lotions and potions, ask yourself: Are they really worth the effort?

In a word, no.

The sad truth is that most over-the-counter products don’t work. Of those that do, some work only temporarily. Remedies that genuinely halt or regenerate thinning hair tend to be DHT inhibitors; they stop DHT from killing off your follicles. But by taking a hormone inhibitor, you’re changing the hormonal balance of your whole body. Side effects are rare but may include loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.

You’re only going bald, which while traumatic, doesn’t justify messing about with your hormonal balance. It’s up to you, but for us, taking a chance with your tackle it isn’t a risk worth taking. Which leaves surgery, which is expensive, hurts, and unless it’s done by a skilled practitioner, can make you look weird.

Acceptance

Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart looks suave and sophisticated with a buzzcut.
Image source: By Urbantog (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

In the end, most of us have to take our burgeoning baldness on the chin, deal with it, accept it, and make the best of it – unlike Scott Manley Hadley who, writing for the Huffington Post says: “No one finds a bald man attractive, not in a meaningful way.”

What utter nonsense. Once you’ve come to accept your shiny scalp, you can finally do something about it – embrace it.

Vin Diesel – bald, Patrick Stewart – bald, Samuel L. Jackson – bald. Ben Kingsley – bald. You don’t have to have hair to make women swoon, so get yourself off to the barber and have yourself a buzzcut.

Our advice is that unless you want to look like a convict, stick to a grade three, four or five. The rule of thumb is the balder you are, the shorter the cut. Only get the Bic razor out if your hair is so sparse that to let it grow makes you you look like Charlie Brown.

Miss your hair? Take a leaf from the late, great, Leonard Cohen: “Ring the bells that still can ring.” Grow a beard.

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Posted in How To - Style.