How to Deal with Baldness

Published February 24, 2019


Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie

Male baldness is generally viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging . It is not and while many men are unlikely to experience the problem in their lifetime, many others will . In men, generally speaking, the hair loss usually presents as a receding hairline . In women , this malady is often differently expressed because what is seen is thinning of the hair . In males, the causes are thought to be due to a combination of factors ; the first of these two factors is a predisposition to developing the problem which has a genetic basis which means that it is an inherited disorder passed from father to son vertically . The second cause is the progressive loss of androgens , principally , testosterone which accelerates after the age of 50 years . In females , the cause of the thinning of the hair is a mystery .

The most prominent of these issues is what is known as male pattern hair loss which affects the majority of men to some degree as they grow older . When this happens , the area becomes bald . In severe cases , the hair is lost in a horseshoe pattern so that only the sides of the head and the back remain covered with hair . It is irrelevant whether the hair is gray or black because baldness is known to actually begin at a much earlier age than the stated 50 years . The implication for some men is that within their social circles , baldness is interpreted as assign of maturity , both social and financial and prevents them from being viewed as a threat in physical or sexual terms . Such men are also likely to be viewed by youngsters as mentors rather than competitors for the attention of available women .

The major reason why this kind of hair loss is named after a certain male pattern is because testosterone is recognised universally as the most important hormone that regulates the pattern of hair growth in men. The loss of body hair in men therefore has a strong relationship to the circulating levels of this hormone in the blood . While many men will simply choose to live with this new development as a part of growing up and attaining middle age , others will spare no expense at all in ensuring that they hide this remarkable evidence . They may wish to don a skin cut and strive to maintain that look every week with the attention noteworthy of a hen whose eggs have just hatched . Others remain anxious and seek to hide this by wearing hats and caps and/ or taking advantage of the above method of ridding their head of any hair . Some others will go further ; they will seek an explanation for what is going on and demand treatment . It is noteworthy that in elderly men, most of the body fluid losses occur from the head and neck regions . When there is baldness , the loss can be severe . Those who wear hats therefore, are wise as this will help to minimise such losses.

Testosterone is also the hormone mostly responsible for the development of the secondary male characteristics of deepening of the voice , the development of the pubic hair and the increased growth of the penis and the testes . It is the predominant male sexual hormone which evidently has a profound effect on how the hair on the scalp in particular develops . As a result this particular development is called androgenic alopecia . Up to one in five men in their twenties are affected by this phenomenon and as many as one third of all men in their thirties. Apparently , the number of males involved in the development of this problem tends to increase with age such that by the time we arrive among those men who are 50 years and over , the figure is more than half of the total .

On this page and elsewhere , either by short message service , chat platforms or on twitter , many readers of this health page have asked this question as well as strategies to be used in dealing with this dilemma. The answer to them has been the same: that yes , it happens but that it is not indicative of any underlying disease condition and that to a large extent, treatment is possible . While the role played by male hormones has been well looked into above , that played by factors relating to the immune system have not . In this situation, certain cells in the body mistakenly attack the hair follicles responsible for the maturation and development of the hair especially on the scalp and face . The most interesting part of the story is that for as long as men have been going bald , scientists , homeopaths and beauticians have been researching ways to answer the baffling question . And while the degree of success has varied greatly, science has made some important strides .

We must begin with the preventive measures that have been proven to work to defeat hair loss. Firstly , the hair should be brushed or combed with profound gentility to avoid damaging the follicles and hair roots . Secondly , it is advisable not to shampoo the hair with too much vigour for the same reasons as stated above . The same fact is proven for certain types of bathing soaps which may prove to be too harsh for the hair . Thirdly, it is greatly recommended that the vigorous toweling of the hair after a bath or while playing games be avoided to avoid hair falling out often in clumps . Finally , one must avoid undertaking hair treatment using hot oil or chemicals . In the same vein and for similar reasons , it is important to avoid habits that often make men to pull at their hair either when they are anxious or when in distress. Back in secondary school , there were often young men and teenagers who would pluck out their hair in tandem with how much reading they endured . It is also a good thing for those men who make their hair to avoid pulling them into tight patterns that could encourage hair loss often in clumps . Sometimes , hair lost in this manner is never replaced .

Many types of treatment for baldness have not been proven to work . On the market , there are various herbal formulae which proclaim their efficacy in treating this problem . The results at best have been patchy . More to the point is the use of a cream made out of the antihypertensive medicine, Minoxidil. As one of the early medicines developed for the treatment of high blood pressure , it was soon found to be capable of causing a lot of hair growth around the body . This knowledge was subsequently applied in the development of the cream which can be applied locally to the area involved . It has since that time been dedicated to that purpose . The main drawback of its use , however , is that treatment is often undertaken for a long duration of time. For many people of means , hair transplantation holds the greatest promise . It is an increasingly available service in many countries and can be performed with relatively few complications .

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