Thinning hair can be a source of embarrassment, to men and women alike. While some men are quite comfortable with their nude head, others feel self-conscious and awkward, occasionally resorting to ill-fitting toupees and wigs, or even to the dreaded comb-over. Likewise, a good head of hair is said to be a woman's crowning beauty, and it is certainly more acceptable to be a bald man, than a bald woman.
However, a large percentage of women experience some form of alopecia in their lifetimes, up to fifty percent before they reach the age of fifty. Baldness can be the result of medicines, such as chemotherapy or it can be induced by stress – a large proportion lost fullness and body and even got large bald patches following a bereavement, job loss or bad break-up. Doctors cannot predict who will suffer from receding hairline or worse, nor can they say if it will be permanent or temporary, but it is widely accepted that any major hormonal shifts or imbalances can have an effect on growth.
Male alopecia is strongly hereditary, and is not such a stigma as female baldness, possibly due to the adages that bald men are sexier and more intelligent than their more hirsute brethren! This is believed to be linked to one particular hormone that is linked to virility. This hormone, dihydrotestosterone or DHT, apparently affects the follicles, causing their production to deteriorate so that only fine hair, or 'baby fluff,' is produced, before it shuts off altogether.
There are a wide range of products on the market today, such as those marketed by Nioxin. Many of these work by bulking out what tresses there are, making them fuller and more noticeable, rather than increasing the number of hairs there are on the head. Some new treatments, as mentioned above, try to stimulate the follicles into working again, while one very effective treatment is that of the transplant.
Groups of individual hairs, which grow in sets of one to four, are harvested from areas not prone to hair-loss and planted where there is little or no coverage. These replacement hairs will continue to grow for life making this restoration an effective one, but the pattern of thinning surrounding the transplanted area may continue to expand. It is important when considering a transplant, to think ahead to maintenance and care procedures and maybe even ask the surgeon about them sooner, rather than later.
- Hair-loss can strike anyone, and affects over half the population at some stage in their lives
- Causes are genetics, stress and illness: plus there have been cases of completely unexplained hair loss
- Treatments start with massage and special shampoos and go all the way up to surgery