Going bald? There’s no need to panic

Find out who goes bald, what causes baldness and what you can do about it with this helpful guide.

What is baldness?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is simply the loss of hair on your head. It can be temporary or permanent. Both men and women can experience hair loss.

What causes baldness?
Hair loss can be caused by a wide range of factors. It may be linked to an illness, chemotherapy, infection, an autoimmune disease or even inflammation of the scalp.

The most common cause of hair loss is male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia. This is the type of baldness many men experience as they age, and it is caused by hormonal and genetic factors.

Stress, diet, wearing hats, frequent hair washing, cigarettes and alcohol use are all cited as common causes of hair loss, however, they are rarely contributing factors.

How can I fix my baldness?
While there are a number of treatments available for hair loss, there is currently no cure. There are medical treatments available, such as minoxidil lotion and finasteride tables, which can be obtained with a prescription from your doctor. There are also cosmetic options, such as wigs and hair transplant surgery.

Minoxidil lotion is available over the counter at most pharmacies. It doesn’t work for everyone, but many people can see hair regrowth after six months. It is important to inform your pharmacist of any other medications you are taking when you start using minoxidil, especially if you are on high blood pressure medication.

Finasteride is available with a prescription from your doctor. One tablet a day can further arrest hair loss in 90 per cent of men, and two thirds will see partial hair regrowth. Regrowth can take up to two years to become visible.

Hair transplant surgery involves taking hair-bearing skin from one part of your scalp, and grafting those pieces of skin onto bald or thinning areas. It is important to remember that hair transplant surgery is not a cure – it is simply a cosmetic short-term fix, as baldness tends to be progressive. It is also a costly procedure, so make sure it is what you really want before you proceed.

I’m going bald. Is this the end?
The short answer is no. Going bald is simply a new look you’re going to learn to love. There are, however, a few tricks which can help you to look younger and more dominant, even with a receding hairline. The most important thing you can take away from this article is to avoid the comb-over at all costs. If you’re losing your hair, just accept it. Embrace it, even. Do not ever pretend it isn’t happening by combing long, straggly hairs over a shiny scalp.

In fact, your best bet is to go in the opposite direction. A number of studies have found that society sees men with shaved heads as being more ‘manly’. So, if you don’t feel comfortable shaving it all off, do try cropping the hair that’s left nice and close. You can read more about this study on the Huffington Post. I recommend taking a look at the gallery of attractive bald men at the bottom of the page – note the decided lack of comb-overs – and realise that women all over the world think these bald men have still got it in spades. 

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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