Baldness is the state of lacking hair, most often on the head. The most common kind of baldness is what is called male pattern baldness.
To become gradually bald is a normal part of the ageing process for most men. For some men, baldness can be distressing or embarrassing particularly if it is excessive or occurs early in life.
There was a story in the media in Nigeria where a wife never wanted to follow the husband out to any occasion, all because of his embarrassing bald head. You will even find friends or even colleagues laughing at the chronic bald head of their peers. For instance, you hear jokes like “if you are bald, you are saving a small fortune that would otherwise be lavished on your hairdresser.”
Historically, there was this evolutionary reason that a well-polished bald male’s head was often used by tribes of cavemen to blind predators. As a result every cave-man hunting a group had one bald member. In the same vein, there is the popular saying that men who go bald from the front of their heads are great thinkers.
According to research, baldness progresses with age, affecting 30 to 40 per cent of adult men overall, but rising to 80 per cent of men by the age of 80. In the case of Nigeria, a recent report indicated that over 20 Million Nigerian men are suffering from the embarrassing condition called “Bald head”.
Losing your hair is not the same as going bald according to dermatologists. Male baldness is a genetic condition, whereas hair loss per se can be caused by a variety of factors. If you are losing patches of hair in an apparently random manner you may have alopecia, a condition where a person (male or female) loses patches of hair from parts of their body.
Why do some men get bald?
One cause of baldness is genetics, or having a family history of baldness. Research has found that baldness is associated with male sex hormones called androgens. The androgens have many functions, including regulating hair growth. Each hair on your head has a growth cycle. With baldness, this growth cycle begins to weaken and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands of hair. Eventually, the growth cycle for each hair ends and no new hair grows in its place.
Can you prevent baldness?
Unfortunately, baldness is a genetic trait; there is no way to prevent it. I have read stories where some people mix marijuana (locally known as weed or “Igbo) with methylated spirit to apply on their head. This method has not been proven medically to prevent baldness.
However, researchers have been successful in re-growing hair on bald mice through the implantation of stem cells. It is hoped that one day they may be able to implant such cells into humans to activate the hair follicles to grow more hair.
Many thousands of men around the world have been able to conceal their hair-raising experience. They mask their baldness by borrowing hairs from the back of their head to fill in gaps in the front; some have even gone ahead to do hair transplant surgery! As much as these natural treatments are available, the message seems clear: It is nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about. Most men go bald. If you are going bald, embrace it.