Am I going to go bald? Most men worry about it at some stage. When will it start? What causes it? Will I look good as a slaphead? Old clichés about baldness running though your mother’s family or hats being responsible for causing it are out of place in our 21st century world. Why can’t the scientists do something? Well, they have been scratching their heads about it, as Tony Grew reports.
For most men, the morning they wake up and find they are moulting hair all over their pillow is a crisis moment. LibDem MP Mark Oaten even claimed that his hair loss was so shattering to his confidence, he needed a rent boy to make him feel better.
Although that might sound ludicrous, a survey found that a quarter of men with hair are worried about losing it, and the most concerned group were 25 to 34-year olds.
Those figures are from a Boots survey and presumably they asked breeders. A straw poll for PinkNews.co.uk found that 100% of gay men with hair worry about going bald.
While the lovely Patrick Stewart is a fine example to homosexualists everywhere that one can be a bald cutie, help may be at hand for those of us worried about the onset of male pattern baldness.
Boots has launched a new service that for the first time makes available a drug-based solution to baldness that is proven to work. Although not quite a medical breakthrough, the programme could help many men to slow or stop male pattern baldness.
The Hair Retention Programme uses a chemical to stop the process of thinning hair on the scalp and a receding hairline. If you are already Patrick Stewart, it will not work.
If you are still at the comb-over stage, it might see thicker hair growth. It works most effectively on men who have just started, or are just about to start, losing their hair.
The science here is not new – rich men have been able to access this drug-based treatment for some time, but only in private clinics. Boots have launched their new service at stores nationwide, at a cost of less than ten pounds a week.
The treatment is 90% successful. Male pattern baldness is caused by genetic and hormonal factors.
The old wives tale that baldness comes through the mother’s father is not exactly true. Some men do have a genetic predisposition to losing their hair, but it is as likely to come from the father’s genes.
What scientists are sure about is the role of a sex hormone called DHT.
Dihyrdotestosterone is formed in the hair follicles, and it contributes to shortening the growth phase and thinning the hair. The changes typically start when men are in their late 20s, and become more marked with age.
DHT relies on the availability of an enzyme called 5a-reductase. The Boots treatment involves taking a tablet once a day, which inhibits the enzyme and stops the build-up of DHT in the hair follicles.
Boots claims that it can take up to three months before there are visible results, and stress that the programme helps men conserve the hair they already have, rather than regrow hair from dormant follicles.
Patients must continue to take the tablets as long as they want to keep their hair, so while the ‘one-pound-a-day’ offer might seem tempting, it will add up over time.
However, the cost seems reasonable if keeping a full head of hair is your desire, and if you are one of the 90% it works for.
The most useful part of this Hair Retention Programme is the free consultation and assessment – specially trained pharmacists will be able to tell you if you likely to go bald.
Hey – you never know – it might be good news!
We all have different priorities, and many men are happy to get out the clippers, shave it all off and be thankful they never have to visit a barbers shop or darken the shampoo aisle ever again.
For more information on the Boots Hair Retention Programme visit the website: www.boots.com/hair-retention