Balding: Fear of Falling (Follicles)
Bald, Bald, Bald, Bald
The Bald Truth
I warrant a guess that outside of possibly death or a movie starring Meg Ryan, that the two things men fear most are balding and impotence. As for the latter, I have not had any affiliation as of yet (I'll keep everyone posted as I age -- perhaps it will provide fodder for a future post). However for the former, I have unfortunately, like many of my XY chromosome brethren (it's estimated that 35-40 million American men are balding or bald), found myself engaging in an uncomfortable alliance.
I've been blessed with a thick head of dark, curly hair, which even now hides much of my hair loss. I'm getting the old Friar Tuck in back (at least I don't have to have it stare me down every day in the mirror) and unless my hair is wet, it's not all that noticeable. My wife, bless her attentive heart, is keeping me posted on the traitorous desertion from my scalp. Honestly, I've had suspicions that I could lose my hair someday and I was prepared to bald in the same fashion as my dad. And this has proven to be the case so far. So, I've had some clue as what I may look like without hair -- although, to be honest, I'm thinner than my father was and, as I've taken better care of myself physically (he was a hard drinker and strict red meat and potato kind of guy who engaged in little exercise, while I'm a moderate drinker and vegetarian who engages in not enough moderate exercise) I say without ego, that I do look younger than he did at the same age (41). Don't you dare question this -- I have photos to prove it!
The question is, as I'm sure you, dear reader must know (if you're not bald or balding, why would you be reading this?), what do we do about our hair loss?
- Hair Loss and Its Causes -- familydoctor.org
Learn about the common causes of and treatments for excessive hair loss and baldness.
A hair growth cycle normally lasts 24 - 36 months. Each hair has roughly a centimeter of growth per month during that time. Approximately 90 percent of your scalp's follicles are growing, while 10 percent are in a "resting phase" according to familydoctor.org. Resting hair falls out and new hair replaces it after 3 to 4 months.
Lifestyle, stress, trauma, medications, genetics are all causes of hair loss. But let's face it, we don't care what's causing us to go bald, we just don't want to do it.
Recently, I've been reading a lot about DHT and its association with balding. I had never heard of it before.
The mechanism by which DHT accomplishes this is not yet fully understood. In genetically-prone scalps, DHT initiates a process of follicular miniaturization. Through the process of follicular miniaturization, hair shaft width is progressively decreased until scalp hair resembles fragile vellus hair or "peach fuzz" or else becomes non-existent. Onset of hair loss sometimes begins as early as end of puberty, and is mostly genetically determined. Male pattern baldness is classified on the Hamilton-Norwood scale I-VII.
Three Options Rolled Into One...
- American Hair Loss Association - Hair Loss Treatment
Consumer hair loss information. Devoted to finding a cure for hair loss and increasing worldwide awareness and understanding of this disease.
To Bald or Not To Bald
Once there were three options: go bald gracefully, go bald ungracefully, wear a toupee. With the onslaught of modern science, the men of the world have several avenues in which they can attempt to alleviate ye olde Androgenic alopecia. This may include hair plugs, specialty shampoos, medications, herbal remedies.
I can speak from experience on two of these methods: shampoo and herbal.
About five or six years ago my wife was concerned that the hair being left in the shower and on my pillow were not of equal value to that which was growing on my noggin'. Our neighbor, who was in his 70s and a hairstylist told me that when he was in his 30s he started noticing his own hair was slowly falling out. Someone recommended that he take Paba (Para-aminobenzoic acid - a component of folic acid. Although, there have been no known tests that have proved its efficacy with hair loss) and Vitamin E. Having a full head of hair as a septuagenarian, he claimed, was due to this. I immediately jumped on that bandwagon. At the same time, my wife did some research and recommended I try Nioxin. Nioxin is an over the counter shampoo and conditioning treatment that claims to help some who have hair loss.
About two years ago, I stopped taking the Vitamin E supplements, instead taking a multi-vitamin (Source of Life Adults Chewable, if anyone cares...) and krill oil. I still take Paba several times a week. The Nioxin is the only shampoo I've used in that time. I seemed to be doing pretty well with my balding up until I stopped using Vitamin E, but I cannot say for sure if I had continued its use it whether or not I would have more hair. Recently, I've stopped using the Nioxin, because my wife discovered that it contained sodium laurel sulfate (we had assumed otherwise and we all know what happens when one assumes), a known carcinogen that is found in virtually every shampoo.
Now, onto the next phase of my hair loss prevention: more herbs! The wife, my intrepid user of the internet, did more research and found another supplement that I am now using. This is Hair Essentials, which uses several Chinese herbs along with some more common vitamins. It supposedly decreases DHT levels. I've been on it for three days now. They claim remarkable hair regrowth and from anywhere to 30-90 days.It's a lark, but I'm gung-ho. We'll see what happens.
I'm resigned to the fact that if I have to lose my hair, then I have to lose it. I'd prefer not to, of course. More than once I considered shaving it all off because I wanted to know what I would look like bald. Being lazy, though, is also a concern. I hate shaving my face, I can't imagine having to shear the whole head. And how does one not make a mess while doing this, and shave every hair to boot... how do you see the back of your head anyway???? How do men do it?
And here's the deal, I'm going to be your guinea pig, dear reader. Below is my scalp as it is today. Over the next three months, I'll continue to post photos of my head and together we'll see what happens. If it works for me, it may work for you. Then again, if it works for me, it may not work for you. Who's to say? But, if I can give a little bit of hope to my fellow balding men, then by Jove, I would like to do so!
- Child Discipline Products - Parenting Advice
We offer discipline tools for effective parenting and teaching. Use our child behavior contracts, unique behavior charts, and our discipline program.
British Bald Guys vs. American Bald Guys
Has anyone else noticed that the British don't seem to give a damn about losing their hair? It appears that they're fine with the proposition. Why, just look at the acting ranks.
Sure, I know, Bruce Willis, Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson went bald, didn't give a flying fig and are still stars. But, they're the exceptions...
Show me an actor from the United Kingdom with a crappy rug. C'mon, I dare ya! You can't can you?
And then, of course...
Fact or Fiction
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THE DEVIL YOU SAY
Excerpt from THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY by Ambrose Bierce
AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.