Why it's not worth trying to save your struggling strands
Paula Blanchet, RHN
Some men go to great lengths to hide their receding hairlines, vacant crowns, and overexposed scalps with creative hairstyling. Find out why embracing baldness may actually lead to increased manliness. Some men know they’re going to inherit baldness, while for others it’s a shock. One’s virility can take a hit with feelings of being less of a man, or less appealing to women. It turns out quite the opposite may be true. Studies show that men who embrace hair loss may be perceived as more manly, even more powerful.
Some men go to great lengths to hang onto their vanishing hairline. When Jim realized he was going bald at 19, it wasn’t a surprise, since there was family history on both his parents’ sides.
He initially tried to use his long, curly hair to hide his thinning scalp, but eventually gave in and shaved it all off. He even found his completely shorn strategy came in handy, like the time he arrived at a nightclub before realizing he’d forgotten his identification. When he removed his hat, he got a sympathetic wave-through by the bouncer.
Turns out, just letting it go may be the smart thing to do. The same studies that found bald men are perceived as powerful also found those hanging onto thinning hair are perceived as weak.
Consider the fun that’s poked at the American president whenever his shellacked nest of hair attempts a take-off during high winds. The memes are relentless. Learn from that if you think you’re being clever with your creative styling. (Everyone’s onto you.)
There is a perception that men with a full head of hair are more appealing, but that may be changing: men with shaved heads are pretty common these days. Some even do a great service on behalf of bald men everywhere. Think of Kelly Slater or The Rock. Both embraced the bald and are generally considered sexy and confident.
The sooner men choose to lop it all off, the sooner everyone else will get used to it. Yoav realized he was going bald in his early twenties and decided he didn’t want to have to worry about it. He took out the razor and never looked back. Now, most people in Yoav’s life have only known him with a bald head, and he doesn’t miss his thinning lid.
If you’re not quite ready to lop it all off, that’s perfectly understandable. Options include pharmaceutical medications, including finasteride or minoxidil. The problem is that both have downsides.
With finasteride, side effects are possible, such as erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, loss of libido, sleep apnea, or depression, which is also called post-finasteride sydrome.
Minoxidil, on the other hand, works for some, but not most, and results diminish if you stop, which means taking it for the rest of your life, or until you stop caring about having hair.
Rosemary may be as effective as minoxidil for hair growth. Try a simple salve for health hair and scalp: combine 1 oz (30 mL) grapeseed oil with 30 drops rosemary oil and massage into wet or dry scalp. Leave in for 20 minutes or overnight at least three times per week.
If your hair is just starting to thin, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There are natural considerations worth trying.
Hair loss can be related to stress. Regular exercise is important for stress reduction and encourages good circulation, which both promote healthy hair growth.
Occasionally, hair loss is due to nutritional deficiencies such as zinc and iron, which can be topped up by eating more of certain foods, including grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, and dark leafy greens.
Low dietary protein may also slow growth rates and cause hair to become fragile and brittle. Tuck into healthy protein sources such as Greek yogurt, fish, buckwheat, and pumpkin seeds.
You need cholesterol for making the hormones needed for healthy hair, and other fats help keep your hair planted in your skin. Deficiencies in fats may decrease hair hydration and skin’s oil secretion important for the protective coating of the epidermis, which helps keep roots rooted. Choose healthy fats such as oily fish, avocado, coconut, and flaxseed.
All that said, there are benefits to embracing hairlessness. Showering is faster! No more trips to the barber! Skip the shampoo aisle! Think of all the time and money you’ll save. If your impulse now is to grab a razor, then you’re a winner. By a hair.
Paula Blanchet, RHN, is a registered holistic nutritionist with a focus on inflammation as the root cause of many imbalances. interplaynutrition.com