So, we all have that one close male friend or family member that has started losing his hair although he’s barely hit his mid twenties right? We’re all so used to baldness being a by product of aging in men that we’ve never paused long enough to stop and think about a very serious question.
Why do more men experience hair fall and baldness as compared to women?
The answer, although not conclusive is actually pretty simple. Whether we believe this is an evolutionary process we share with animal that shows an older, more mature (and more balder) member of the pack is no longer a threat to younger males or we talk about genetics and hormones, the fact is that Androgenic Alopecia or male pattern baldness is a condition that is just more common in men rather than in women.
There are however three broad ways specialists categorize the major reasons for excessive hair loss in men.
The first reason has to do with men’s hormones and the production of the male hormone testosterone in their bodies. Over time, the levels of testosterone in their bodies turns into di-hydrotestosterone (DHT) which is regulated in the body till a certain age. After which it starts replacing older hair follicles with newer yet considerably shorter and sparser hair follicles. What’s surprising however is the infamous “M” shaped pattern in which this growth is formed.
Okay. So while that explains why older men go through with it, why do some guys start going bald in their twenties or even their teens? Well, younger men or teens are usually going through puberty which increases the amount of hormones which in turn affect the production of DHT. This also explains why most women do not go through this as the levels of testosterone in their blood is far lower.
The next factor is of course the genetic one. Researchers have identified that the genes for hair loss might be passed onto the next generations but usually more so if it comes from both parents. Talk about praying for some recessive genes right now!
The last and perhaps most important factor is the external stimuli and reasons such as sleeping patterns, diet, smoking habits and so on. These may play a big role in whether or not a man’s hair will fall off prematurely. However, statistics show that whether or not external factors are taken care of, men are just more prone to male pattern baldness.
There isn’t much we can do about the issue although hair transplants are the most reliable solution to this problem. However, this can turn into a serious issue as there is a lot of stigma and anxiety attached to men going bald, especially at younger ages. Especially since our society does not look kindly towards men who experience any form of hair loss and baldness.
The super recent incident with Hum News morning show host, Ovais Mangalwala shows how we as a society ridicule men who are bald, whether this is a condition or entirely by choice. Yes, that might be a difficult concept to grasp but some men DO go bald BY choice. Since the clip of a 27 year old prank caller called in asking advice about his own experience with hair loss and making fun of Mangalwala’s hair situation has gone viral, many news outlets and social media users have begun trolling him.
While Mangalwala responded back in a very classy and well researched response, it wasn’t enough to appease most trolls and people looking for a laugh and really points us to an issue that is a major reason for depression in men but is still largely ignored by larger discourse.
It’s not even that there is no representation of bald men within the greater media here and around the world but those characters are either aging dads, older men, comic reliefs or even villains. We do see some prominent examples such as Vin Diesel and Jason Statham or even our very own King of Couture, HSY but on the whole, baldness does not always equal attractive or successful in our context and even the world over.