Sep 17, 2011 Posted Under: Other

Early Hair Loss

When Steve was 18, he looked in the mirror one day and noticed something shocking. He was losing his hair. Where there had once been volume, there was now thinning along the hairline.

Was his forehead getting larger or was it his hairline that was receding? How could this be? He was in the prime of his youth, still in high school and concerned with his image.

At that age, fitting in, making friends, looking for girlfriends are all critical to one’s psycho-social development. At this age, hair loss can be devastating and take a toll on one’s confidence, self-esteem and peer relationships.

Because it is so unexpected, shocking and unwanted, a young man can be traumatized. He may look for ways to cope – wear a baseball hat, grow his hair long and try to cover up the thinning areas, compensating by becoming the class clown or by going to the other extreme and withdrawing.

Writing in the 2005 British Medical Journal, Nigel Hunt and Sue McHale found that, “Alopecia (hair loss) is a form of disfigurement that can affect a person’s sense of self and identity. It can be associated with serious psychological consequences, particularly in relation to anxiety and depression.”

A young teenager or man at this young age is vulnerable to his peers and societal norms and may worry about not being attractive to the opposite sex, looking older or not as handsome, and may question his virility.

After all, historically, men and their hair have been associated closely with virility. Samson in the Old Testament, derives his strength from his hair to fend off the Philistines and loses his power when Delilah orders a servant to have it shaved.

Men with long hair (think Fabio), exuding sex appeal and virility, grace the covers of women’s romance novels.

According to Lynne Luciano, author of the book, Looking Good, Male Body Image in Modern America, “A full head of hair typically has been synonymous with youth and virility, yet 20% of men begin to lose their hair by their twenties, and by age sixty, most experience substantial male pattern baldness.”

She goes on to say that, “Despite the emotional distress caused by hair loss, American men in the twentieth century have been expected to be indifferent to balding and to regard efforts at remedying or disguising it as shamefully vain.”

So, what’s a young man to do?

First realize, there is no shame in looking good. If you are like Steve, you investigate all your hair restoration options – go to a dermatologist, try preventive medications such as Propecia, inquire about hair pieces or hair transplant surgery.

Steve eventually tried them all and after wearing a hairpiece for six years, decided to have a hair transplant.

Over the past decade, hair transplant technology has come into its own. Gone are the ‘plugs’ from the 1980s. Modern advances in both technique and technology allow for more realistic and undetectable outcomes.

He found a surgeon who regularly performs follicular unit transplantation (FUT), the most up-to-date and accurate form of surgery, and is happy with his natural-looking, soft results.

Although he doesn’t have the hair and density he had before losing it, at his current age of 49, when Steve looks in the mirror, he no longer sees a bald man looking back and to paraphrase the retail store, Men’s Warehouse, “He likes like the way he looks.”

Comments are closed.