Losing hair: The baldness issue
A few years ago, I came across a silly meme while scrolling through Facebook that went something like this — Women with straight hair want curls, women with curls want straight hair…. Men are simple, they just want their hair to stay.
Every bald person that I know laughed and nodded in agreement.
The first step to any problem is to identify the source of said problem. There are different kinds of baldness and before you start any sort of treatment for them, you must know what is causing your hair fall. A number of factors could be responsible — genetics, hormones, underlying medical condition, medications, stress, excessive hairstyling routine, and even diet could be the cause of your hair loss. Male baldness is different from female hair loss but it is particularly noticeable because it is much more severe.
Professor Syed Afzalul Karim, Chairman and Senior Consultant at Aurora skin and Aesthetics and former Professor of Dermatology at Holy Family Medical College Hospital in Dhaka is one of the leading figures in this field in Bangladesh and had some insightful information to share.
"One of the most common types of hair fall that worries us is sudden loss of hair that comes off in patches. It's a condition called Alopecia Areata. Another type of hair loss happens due to any sort of deficiency or physical condition in the body like — blood loss, anaemia, some kidney problems or following any diseases or stress. It is called Telogen Effluvium. If we find and treat the cause, the hair will grow back. In both of these cases, fantastic recovery is possible.
"The most common cause of balding that we are referring to as 'male type baldness' usually happens genetically. We call it Androgenetic Alopecia. Since it is a genetically passed condition, if a person's father was bald, there is a high chance of baldness for him as well," said Prof Syed Afzalul Karim, insisting that before anybody resorts to any type of treatment or solution, they should find out the cause of their baldness.
Certain medications might induce hair fall as a side effect. So can hormonal imbalance, thyroid disease, vitamin deficiency, and did we mention stress?
You would not use any skincare product unless you are certain that it is the right one for you, otherwise you will have to suffer. The same goes for your hair. Before you use any cosmetic product or any sort of hair fall solution, you should become certain that it is the right one for you. Otherwise, the imbedded chemicals could damage your hair and make things worse. But such products can only do so much, especially if you have already lost a significant amount of hair.
You might be wondering if there is any way to regain a full head of hair. Fortunately for you, modern science and medical practice have advanced enough that these issues are almost trivial these days.
"Even if someone is going bald due to genetic issues, it is possible to regain receding hair through hair transplant. We take hair from the back of the person's head (where he still has hair) and plant them in the front and in three months he will get the result. The hair will grow regularly like normal hair," assured Prof Syed Afzalul Karim.
There are other treatments like supporting medications or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) that promotes hair growth, but only your dermatologist can suggest you which is the correct treatment for you.
When to see a dermatologist?
The average human head has about 100,000 hairs (give or take). It is normal to lose between 50-100 hair strands a day and most men have short hair so they don't really notice the hair fall. If you notice that you are losing more than that, then perhaps it is time to consult a dermatologist.
For the younger people who are facing baldness, it might be difficult to accept because quite often one's confidence and self-image are related to how one perceives themselves and having a full head of hair certainly helps. If you are starting to notice unnatural hair fall, you might need to reconsider your lifestyle.
Hair fall usually becomes more noticeable by the time you hit 30 and by 35 it becomes hard to miss. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent male pattern baldness other than to get treatment. If you are going bald, you can start using hats or caps or comb your hair in a way that makes it less noticeable — but you have already thought of all these a thousand times. What you can do that will actually help is bring positive change in your lifestyle. Crash dieting practices or high stress can induce and increase hair loss. Balance is the key. Eating healthy, staying hydrated, stress management and keeping clean can go a long way in not only staying healthy but maintaining your look (and hair).
If you are trying chemically heavy hair products or leaning towards certain hairstyles that put a lot of tension on hair, it might result in hair fall as well. Avoid such measures and take care of your hair like you would care for your skin.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Simon Mansoor
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Special thanks to Professor Syed Afzalul Karim, Chairman and Senior Consultant at Aurora skin and Aesthetics and former Professor of Dermatology at Holy Family Medical College Hospital, Dhaka