How to Cure Baldness (without losing your money as well as your hair) – Info by SunCoastHealthCare.com
When it comes to image maintenance, men have it relatively easy – or at least that’s the assumption of our wives and girlfriends.
We vault over the need for make-up, cellulite lotions and Brazilian waxes, while simultaneously sidestepping stubbly under-arms and feet crippled by stilettos. However, thanks to the double-edged sword called life, we also have our own cross to bear in the name of aesthetics: namely hair loss and the search for baldness cures.
According to recent NHS figures, a whopping 50 per cent of men will experience some degree of male pattern baldness by the time they’re fifty. And, for many, it’ll start far earlier than that, with some battling the condition in their late teens.
So, biologically speaking, what exactly is the root of the problem?
Well, ironically, we are. Or, rather, our testosterone is. You see, as we age it morphs into an androgen – a female sex hormone, called Dihydrotestosterone – which attacks the hair follicles like a poison. This slowly kills the roots, causing hairs to weaken until they die. Adding insult to injury, it happens randomly, there’s no cure and society tends to offer little sympathy – which is unfortunate considering many men find the process ‘devastating’.
Spencer Stevenson, 40, was one of them.
“My friends used to call me the Hoff ‘cos I had so much hair, but when I started losing it at 21, I was devastated,” he says. “I was depressed, isolated and became a recluse living under my hat.”
However, what he found equally difficult was the presence of an unregulated industry which, he says, preys on the vulnerable – and the balding (although not BBC’s Claire – she’s fine).
“I was so desperate to find a solution that I quickly burned through my modest £30K inheritance,” he adds. “I tried everything – from laser combs and liquids to shampoos and hair loss tablets – before staggering through twelve disastrous hair transplants. I was young, vulnerable and got told what I wanted to hear.”
Now, fifteen years on, Spencer isn’t just older – but wiser, too. And, in a bid to help others, has become a self-appointed expert on an industry which turns over £1.5 billion each year. The result is his blog and a web-based radio show, The Bald Truth, which aims to shorten the, err, lengths men go to for a solution.
“The business is built on insecurity, but it’s still as unregulated now as it was back then,” he continues, frankly. “It’s a brutal and traitorous place – something I learned the hard way.
“Worryingly, it has grown 35pc in just two years, which gives me grave concern. The majority of these clinics are only interested in money and not patient welfare or results.”
So what’s a guy to do? They key, it seems, it to stabilise hair loss *before* stepping into a transplant clinic.
“The only products that work in my experienced opinion are a combination of 1mg Finasteride (Propecia) and a topical application of Minoxidil (Rogaine), with occasional use of Nizoral,” Spencer declares. “Everything else, including trendy caffeinated shampoos, might keep the scalp clean or promote follicle health, but they do nothing to stop the hair being attacked by DHT, which is crucial”.
Other good tips include regularly taking Biotin tablets and swapping gunky hair gels for E45 creams (which are kinder to the roots) – but, once again, these are only secondary aides.
If none of that works, men can seriously consider going under the knife – although be warned: only one type of transplant is considered worthwhile according to Spencer, and that’s FUE (follicular unit extraction), which is a painstaking (although largely pain-free) process of taking hairs from the back of the head, one-by-one, then moving them to the front for a natural look.
The DHI Medical Group first introduced the procedure in 2002. In one seven hour session they rehouse roughly 4,000 hairs.
James Draper, a 32 year-old from London, went to their New Cavendish Street branch after suffering low-level balding around his temples – and was relieved to get a decent result. “I saw some real cowboys during my research, but my love of sport found DHI – Phil Tufnell and Dutch International football Ronald de Boer had been clients, so that instilled enough confidence for me to take the first step.
“However, what ultimately swung it for me was when they said I wouldn’t need to shave my head to donate the grafts. This made it more practical, because I could ride out a severe blend cut in two weeks much easier than a total skinhead, which is what other surgeons had demanded”.
• Men are spending £14,500 on beard transplants
Days later he was booked in and the experts at DHI were reversing “years of cruel shedding” – at the not-so-small price of £7,000.
After giving him an Inglourious Basterds-inspired haircut, they used a 1mm-wide tool resembling an apple corer (small enough to avoid scarring) to extract the follicles, before reimplanting them into the balding region, creating cumulative density.
No stitches, no overnight stay. And, like Spencer – who underwent a similar procedure at the hands of a doctor in New York – his results were a success story, rather than a sob story.
“It took a full year to see the proper benefits, but there’s no scarring at the back and even my barber can’t tell that the new hair is transplanted.
“I’m lucky that the industry has progressed and finessed, because so many men were butchered with the retro strip techniques, which were fantastically painful and unsightly.
“That said, we shouldn’t assume that everything around today is now effective. Surgery is not for everyone, but in the right hands it can be life changing.”
Thus, in a nutshell, don’t rush into a procedure – or product – that promises a quick fix. Instead, be cool – stabilise the loss, maintain this with long-term topical treatments, then, if necessary, research transplant surgeons via The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons or contact long-standing companies such as DHI Global.
Follow these golden rules and, in time, you too will be a cut above.
Spencer’s guide to what doesn’t work …
Laser Caps/combs. These beams light onto your scalp, but – in my opinion – are a waste of money. I invested £4,000 with no result at all.
Herbal Supplements. These can help improve general hair health, but do nothing in terms of male pattern baldness and stopping the process of miniaturisation.
Caffeine shampoos. Although popular, there’s no proof these fight male-pattern baldness. They keep scalp clean but that’s about it.