One thing you should know is that “we are all born bald,” unless you are Wolverine or Hank McCoy. Signs of balding can be terrifying, to say the least. Hair loss and going bald has a way of throwing us into a miasma of existential dread. This fear is no less valid than it was in Ancient Rome. While baldness was a symbol of gravitas (dignity) and severitas (sternness), inducing an air of philosophical poise, it was also a thing to be ashamed of if the words from Emperor Domitian are anything to go by- “Be assured that nothing is more pleasing, but nothing shorter-lived.” Who knew, Emperors are just humans, like us! The venerated Roman poet, Ovid, also had some rather grating words to say about baldness-“Ugly are hornless bulls, a field without grass is an eyesore/ So is a tree without leaves, so is a head without hair.” In the Eternal City, men who would attempt to address their baldness with some form of trickery would bear the brunt of barbs from young scions and eager poets, particularly in the excoriating satire of Martial in his Epigrams where he writes-
“On your bald pate no wig you use/
You draw hairs on, with no excuse/
At least no barber needs to trim it/
You can erase it in a minute.”
One can even go far as to conclude that Martial was talking about some Roman version of scalp micropigmentation; the Romans were known for their resourcefulness, indeed. Indubitably, there are strong opinions on both sides of the spectrum, each valid in their own right, important enough to seek science’s redress and innovation.
Now that you have some inkling of classical trichology, let us dive into the balding signs, you need to look out for:
Signs of balding can appear in various ways, depending on the factor that is causing it. It can be acute or chronic and can affect just your scalp or your whole anatomy.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:
- Gradual thinning on top of your head. Undoubtedly one of the most rather common types of hair loss afflicting people with the onset of age. In men, it is referred to as male pattern baldness, where the hair recedes at the hairline on the forehead. Women’s hair loss usually involves a broadening of the part in their hair. A nascent common feature of hair loss in women, especially in older ones, is a receding hairline, a.k.a. Frontal fibrosing alopecia.
- Circular or patchy bald spots. This symptom is one of the early signs of balding. Some people lose hair in this way, and it takes place on the scalp, eyebrows, or beard. You may experience itchiness or pain when hair falls out.
- Abrupt loosening of hair. It can cause overall thinning. May be caused by an emotional or physical shock. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning but is ephemeral.
- Full-body hair loss. Some medical conditions and treatments can result in total body hair loss, such as chemotherapy, which usually grows back.
- Patches of scaling that spread over the top of your head. It goes along with broken hair, swelling, soreness, and redness, not to mention sometimes oozing.
The Reason You Are Losing Hair
Ineluctably, the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. Androgenic alopecia is a hereditary condition. Experts believe it is precipitated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which has its roots from testosterone, the male hormone. Observably, men and women have differing quantities of this hormone; thus, the former is more likely to produce higher DHT levels, thus increasing the hair loss. And as such, androgenic alopecia leads to male pattern baldness in men, causing partial or complete baldness. Women, on the other hand, experience thinning hair on the top and sides of the scalp. Typically, the reasons you are experiencing hair loss is due to the following factors:
- Genetics – if you are going through hair loss at a much faster rate than usual, then alas, my friend, you have your bloodline to growl and shake your fist at, indeed. Your hair filaments have a DNA blueprint, i.e., for men, if your dad has suffered from hair loss, the math says that you are likely to go through it. Male pattern baldness is genetic.; it’s a humbling fact for men.
- Hormones – Men that are susceptible to hair possess hair follicles that are predisposed to DHT hypersensitivity, which tends to shrink the hair follicles until hair growth stops, causing balding.
- Age – As we turn revolutions upon this earth, the rate at which our hair grows becomes slower and balding starts. It’s practically Einsteinian, remember from the General and Special Relativity class that you never took. Aging is a sensitive time for men.
- More factors – these factors are concerned with lifestyle choices, viz: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, particular medication, may lead to hair loss.
A Note on Alopecia
Globally, many men, that is, greater than 60%, and50%of women suffer androgenetic alopecia and irreversible balding. According to Harvard Medical School, about a third of hair loss in women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some point in their lives; for postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer from thinning hair or bald spots. Almost thirty million in the United States are going through hair loss- both male pattern baldness and female balding. Also, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation in the United States states that over six million and 147 million people worldwide have or will develop alopecia areata at some juncture. The foundation offers information on everything you need to know about alopecia areata so that you can keep track of the early signs of balding. Alopecia will affect 2% of the general population, that is, twenty people out of every thousand people will have had alopecia.
Female hair loss can be detrimental to a woman’s emotional health and subsequent quality of life. Scientifically, clinicians deploy the Ludwig Classification to lend a description to female pattern hair loss. Type I is one of the early signs of balding where there is minimal thinning hair from the hairline that hairstyling techniques can disguise. Type II causes diminished volume and a noticeable expansion of the mid-line part from the hairline you are already balding. Type III causes diffused thinning hair, with a see-through countenance of the crown, and there are limits to hair growth, where the hairline has already receded.
Going bald in women can be caused by adverse medical conditions (alopecia areata and alopecia totalis), medications, and physical or emotional stress. The hairline for men isn’t spared also. Should you notice atypical hair loss of any kind, make sure to seek medical advice from your primary caregiver to determine the cause and hair loss treatment. You may also want to ask your physician about a therapist or women support group to address any emotional challenges.
What Are The Solutions To Hair Loss?
There are various solutions in hair loss treatment, viz: hair transplantation and scalp micropigmentation. It would be best if you understood the scalp micropigmentation and hair transplant difference keenly. Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that extricates hair follicles from one section of the body, called the ‘donor area,’ to a thinning hair section known as the ‘recipient area.’ Primarily, the procedure treats male pattern baldness.
Japan performed the first transplant with individual head hairs in 1939. Subsequently, physicians came up with the “plug” method, which is fundamentally relocating large floccules of hair. And as time went by, surgeons started using mini-and-minor-sprouts of hair on patients.
The two principal hair transplant methods are Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)/strip and Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) – also known as Follicular Unit Extraction. Both are effective hair restoration techniques, with a high success rate in patients.
The two most popular transplant procedures that patients go through are FUE and FUT. Both processes begin to show visible growth of hair within three to six months and a different scar. Several factors will determine the technique you choose, including:
- The thinning hair area size
- The scarring from transplant procedures
- The pattern of hair loss
- The quality and amount of donated hair
A Note on How the FUT and FUE Techniques Work
Both FUE and FUT hair transplant techniques involve placing hair grafts in small incisions in the affected scalp area. In the two procedures, the surgeon has to practice great caution in distributing and positioning the tiny incisions so that there is a seamless blend with patients’ existing hair. The operating team deploys a micro-punch tool, or such devices or very fine forceps to insert the grafts. The surgical team has to be careful with how they store and handle follicles to avoid damaging them and thus optimize the grafts’ survival.
Interestingly, one of the points of commonality with both techniques is the graft source. The source is the donor area- areas of the scalp where the hair is genetically determined to grow for a lifetime. Seek medical advice before embarking on either.
Scalp Micropigmention: You Should Consider This
It’s a procedure that uses a stippling pattern tattoo that mimics hair follicles cut close to the balding area. A relatively novel technique can substantially address the cosmetic issues that arise from male pattern baldness.
Benefits of Scalp Micropigmentation
- It makes it look like you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.
- You have natural-looking front and side photo profiles of your hairline.
- It camouflages alopecia symptoms in perpetuity, whether they are severe or recurrent.
- It covers scars from a hair transplant or FUE surgery.
- It helps in concealing birthmarks or burn or accident-related scars.
- It combines well with a hair transplant to offer additional density.
- Lifestyle change.
- You can remove it.
It helps to know that micropigmentation treatments have been around since the 1970s. However, the procedure did not ultimately develop until 2002, where the first general treatment made to the public happened in 2006.
How It Is Done
The micropigmentation treatment uses microneedles that add a layer of pigment dots on your head like getting a tattoo. Micropigmentation scalp treatments customarily happen over three sessions, depending on the balding level. That said, some variation depends on your hair loss severity, the style you desire, and other elements that come into play.
If this is your first micropigmentation treatment, you will meet with a technician who will be doing your treatment at a consultation. You will discuss all the pertinent requirements, including your hair color, hairline, skin tone, and the early signs when you started to go bald.
During the procedure, the skin gets a small wound when each ink dot forms. The formed scab eventually will fall away, which reduces some of the original pigment in your head. And no doubt, your immune system will attack the pigments, causing them to shrink and fade over time. Notably, this gradual disappearing of the inked dots is different for each person. Depending on your head, treatment sessions will involve different pigmentation shades. Undoubtedly, distinct shades are necessary for your head to make some pigment shades to stand out from other groups. Typically, lighter pigments are the first to be applied, while the follow-up sessions deposit darker shades to create the impression of a full head of hair.
So you see, you should not abandon all your hope as Dante would suggest; there are solutions out there for you should you go bald, including bald head skin care. You should give scalp micropigmentation a try and see where it takes you, but always remember to get a professional entity to do it. No matter what decision you make, remember this bazinga by Seneca The Younger- “I don’t consider myself bald, I am just taller than my hair.” While there is no compelling evidence to conclude that Seneca said these words, they remain apropos nonetheless.