Have you noticed an increasing number of hairs stuck in your comb or plughole?
Don't worry, you're not alone.
Statistics show that by age 50, 85% of men and 50% of women will experience some kind of noticeable hair loss. And for some, it can be a blow to the self-confidence – especially those who aren't even half way to 50 and are already seeing the effects of hair loss.
In this first-hand account, we explore the early stages of hair loss, how it affects self-image, and the steps you can take to remedy it…
Thomas is a sensitive and intelligent twenty-year-old. He's an outstanding young musician. He first became aware that he was losing his hair at a very young age: “I was 17 when I first noticed. I remember sitting in my study – I was in Year 12, and I was very stressed. I remember rubbing my forehead, and thinking ‘my hair line's much higher than thought.’
“I didn't think a lot about it at the time. I was wearing my hair long, and no one seemed to notice much. Then, six months later, I saw a photo of myself, and I could see just how bad the hair loss was.
“If I'm honest, I'd say that losing my hair has taken away a lot of my confidence…like, I play in a band, and I always wear a hat on stage.”
The Psychological Effects of Hair Loss
Thomas has at some point in the not-too-distant past taken a mental snapshot of the image he projects to the world; the image he holds in his psyche of his face and body are important to him, but now as he looks in the mirror he sees that image changing. And according to the advertising images conveyed to us, Thomas's changes are not for the better.
Research conducted at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1992 found that 84 per cent of balding men were preoccupied with their hair loss. The findings indicated that the emotional and psychological results of baldness are quite marked. Among the feelings these men expressed were:
- Extreme self-consciousness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Envy of men who have a full head of hair
And single men in their twenties were most likely to suffer a severe toss of self-esteem; the loss of the hairline can change a person's appearance substantially. As the hairline recedes, the forehead can become the focal point of the face. With the onset of hair loss this spacing can change so that the region from the base of the eyebrows to the start of the hairline may now account for almost half of the facial image.
This change in proportion alters the whole image of the face and has a tendency to make the flaws of the face stand out – in some cases, quite prominently.
Hair loss affects different people in different ways. It is only a problem when the person affected feels some adverse social or emotional stress, such as reduced self-esteem or a loss of self-confidence. However, there exist a number of different drugs, remedies and concealers that combat hair loss in different ways:
- Toppik – natural, non-medial hair loss concealer. It's used by millions worldwide and is available in a range of colours to match your natural hair tones. See the Toppik product range here.
- Hair transplant – for advanced hair loss, this involves the surgical removal and re-attachment of healthy hair follicles into the affected area.
- Finasteride – a pill that claims to restore hair growth (though as with all medications, there can be unwanted side-effects). Also known as MK-906, Proscar and Propecia.
- Minoxidil – similar to Finasteride, but applied directly to the scalp as a topical remedy. Sold under brand names like Rogaine and Regaine.