How to Adjust to Hair Loss and Baldness

Three Methods:Embracing Your BaldnessHiding a Receding HairlineTaking Aggressive Action Against Baldness

You are combing your hair one morning and notice a thin patch. Or is it? You second guess yourself for a moment and then panic. It definitely is thin! Balding is a reality that most men – and even some women – will face in their lifetime and it can exact a heavy mental toll, from depression to self-consciousness. However, you’ll find that with a little work you can embrace your baldness. If you’d rather conceal your hair loss while you adjust, there are ways to do that, too.

Method 1
Embracing Your Baldness

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    Try to come to terms with your loss. Many (probably all) men panic when they first see a thinning patch in their hair. Hair symbolizes vitality, sex appeal, and youth. Men fear going bald because they fear that they are losing these things. However, the truth is that it’s all in the mind. Reconciling yourself to less hair, and being proud of your baldness, could make you happier in the end.[1]
    • It is natural to feel some embarrassment when you first start to lose hair. The key is to neutralize this feeling of shame. You may not love the way you look at first, but you can’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by it.[2]
    • Learn to recognize negative feelings and then consciously let them pass. There is a big difference between thinking “I feel unattractive” and “I AM unattractive.” If you feel silly, tell yourself, “Yes, I feel foolish.” Then, move on with what you are doing without letting the thoughts control you.[3]
    • Some people call this a “mental shrug.” If somebody called you stupid, for instance, you would realize that they are being hostile and would probably not internalize the idea that you are stupid. You can dismiss your embarrassment at baldness in much the same way.[4]
    • Challenge your negative thoughts, as well. One reason you might feel embarrassed is that you agree with the “conventional” view of baldness – that it is somehow undesirable or unattractive. This sort of thinking can lead you to internalize the thoughts.
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    Take steps to lessen self-consciousness. Do away with “conventional” definitions of attractiveness, for one, and try to cultivate a healthier self-image. The media may show the ideal man one way, but there are many ways to be a strong and handsome man. You can adopt a different view.[5]
    • Don’t compare yourself to others. Every individual has a unique makeup. It does no good to look at other men and envy them for their looks or fuller head of hair. The men you see in the movies and in magazines are also not entirely real, in that they have the benefit of things like cosmetic treatments and airbrushing.
    • Take pride in things other than looks. Looks define you, but so do your talents, your interests, and your relationships. Find things that you like about yourself, like the fact that you have a fine baritone voice or are a great fullback on your soccer team.
    • Take a break from mirrors. If you find yourself obsessing about your hair, take a break. Stop yourself from constantly checking your hair line in the rear-view mirror or in shop windows. In these moments, remind yourself of one of your great inner qualities.[6]
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    Learn to love the bald. Your goal shouldn’t just be toleration of how you look, but pride and acceptance. Remember that you are not alone. Baldness is a part of being male and there is no reason to let it control your emotions. In fact, one of the most powerful things you can do to combat hair loss is to not just live with it but embrace it – learn to love the bald.
    • Accept it. 50 million men in the US have some amount of hair loss, and hair loss increases as we age. In fact, about 50% of men have some hair loss by age 50, while 80% experience it by age 70.[7]
    • Remind yourself of famous, powerful, and sexy bald men. What do Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart, Michael Jordan, Bruce Willis, and LL Cool J have in common? They are all bald – and they don’t hide it.[8]
    • Keep in mind that some women find bald men very attractive. What many find especially attractive is confidence, though, whether a guy has hair or no.
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    Don’t try to hide it. With thinning hair, you might be better shaving it off. According to one study, men with shaved heads were consistently rated as more masculine and dominant than those who tried to conceal hair loss, in addition to being rated as taller and stronger.[9]
    • By embracing baldness, you might actually appear more rather than less manly and attractive. Concealing thinning hair can be a big turn-off, as the concealment looks desperate and lacking in self-assurance.[10]
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    Go for a close-cropped look. Try a hair style that shows your thinning hair to best advantage. The general rule is that short is better when it comes to balding men, whether you go crew cut or full cue ball.[11]
    • For one thing, close-cropped hairstyles give your hair a sense of added fullness and lift. They also makes existing bald spots less conspicuous and are much less expensive in the long-run than various concealment or treatments.
    • Shorter lengths like buzz cuts also exude confidence. They say to onlookers, “Yes, I’m balding. So what?”
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    Shave it off. The final way to embrace your baldness is to go beyond the close crop and shave everything off. It is conspicuous, it is self-confident, and it is a good option for men with large bald spots.[12]
    • Although you will have to razor your head every now and then, a clean shave on top means that you will never have to bother with washing and styling again. It is the ultimate in low maintenance hair.
    • For many men with the style, the shaved head has become a signature look. Consider Jordan, consider Captain Picard, consider Andre Agassi.
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    Grow facial hair. You can also grow facial hair as a way to offset the loss up top and to direct attention down from your thinning pate. Adding a mustache, beard, or goatee can help to balance your face.
    • Full goatees work well with thinning hair, for example, as do thick, handlebar mustaches.
    • A full, bushy beard and shaved head is another bold look. If done properly, it can be extremely manly.

Method 2
Hiding a Receding Hairline

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    Get a strategic haircut. If you are still adjusting to new hair loss, you might be able to subtly conceal it with the right haircut. Talk to your barber or stylist and ask for their opinion. Keep in mind that this is not a long-term solution, and that the wrong hairdo can emphasize rather than hide hair loss.[13]
    • Go for a textured crop. This short hair style adds layers and tousle to the top of your head, making for a more substantial look. Think Matthew McConaughey.[14]
    • A more messy style can work also, in that it can both conceal and draw attention away from a thinning pate.
    • Get a Caesar cut. This very short style creates a vertical fringe for styling the hair forward, which will help to conceal a receding hairline. It was made famous by one of history’s great bald men, Julius Caesar.[15]
    • Avoid long hair. A longer length can actually draw attention to the fact that your hair is thinner.
    • Beware the comb-over. One of the worst styling mistakes is the comb-over, where the hair is grown longer and combed over the head to hide baldness. The problem is that the comb-over exaggerates hair loss rather than disguises it – the hair loss is too severe for a strategic haircut.
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    Try concealing products. There are certain non-medical hair products that you can try to hide a bald spot or receding hairline, as well. These too are temporary fixes. Still, they can help in cases of early hair loss.
    • Some products like Toppik use “electrostatically charged microfibers” made from keratin that intertwine with your own hair, giving a more full appearance. They come in an array of different colors and washes out with shampoo.[16]
    • Other products like DermMatch are designed to color your scalp so that it more closely resembles your hair, which will help to conceal thinness, and also coats the hair for a fuller look.
    • These products are of course temporary. They do not actually increase the amount of hair on your head or stop the balding process.
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    Don a fashionable hat. Contrary to popular belief, wearing hats has no effect on balding. They do not cause the hair to fall out by rubbing or “straining” hair follicles.[17] In fact, wearing a hat might be a good choice is you are self-conscious about hair loss while out and about.
    • According to legend, Frank Sinatra started wearing his trademark fedora to hide his receding hair line. Not only was it the height of cool, but he also angled it to convey different moods. Pushed back conveyed accessibility; tipped forward gave a sense of mystery; and slightly tilted up meant no-nonsense.[18]
    • You can choose any variety of hat, depending on your personal style. A fedora exudes cool, while a homburg is more debonair and a ball cap more casual.

Method 3
Taking Aggressive Action Against Baldness

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    Shop for a hairpiece. If your baldness is more advanced, or you just feel more self-conscious about it, one option to consider is a hairpiece, sometimes called a toupee. Don’t write toupees off as a joke. A cheap toupee can look terrible, it is true, but a customized hairpiece is worth the money.[19]
    • Although no longer as popular as they once were, top-of-the-line, customized “hair systems” are much better than the “rugs” of old. These weave real human hair into a membrane that looks like scalp, which is then fitted to the client’s head.[20]
    • Adhesive technology has also come a long way. New hypoallergenic glues can bond the toupee to the scalp for as long as six weeks and even allow the wearer to swim.[21]
    • An elite hairpiece will not come cheap, however. Expect to pay out around $1,000 to $3,000.
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    Experiment with hair growth medicine. Balding men can also look to a number of medications that either slow hair loss or, in some cases, stop and reverse it. Many such products are ineffective – no better than snake oil. However, the last twenty years has seen at least two that are medically tested and proven. Talk to your doctor about these, especially Propecia and Minoxidil.[22]
    • Propecia was approved by the FDA in 1997 and works in a majority of men. About 65% of patients experience a “significant” increase in hair growth.[23]
    • Minoxidil, better known by the brand name Rogaine, is applied topically. While it does sometimes slow or halt hair loss, some physicians do not consider it effective. Users may also start to lose hair again after they stop treatment.[24][25]
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    Try hair transplants. Hair replacement therapy is one of the more aggressive ways to combat baldness. A doctor grafts baldness-resistant hair follicles from the back or sides of the head and “transplants” them to thinning patches, so that the new hair will also be resistant to balding.[26]
    • Hair transplants have a success rate of about 60% in 6 to 9 months. Often patients undergo the therapy in conjunction with hair growth topicals or medicine.
    • Talk to a doctor if you are interested in this procedure. Remember that it is a medical operation. You may experience pain or tenderness in your scalp for several days, and your doctor may prescribe pain meds or a surgical dressing for several days after.[27]
    • Be advised that, if done poorly, hair transplants can look unnatural. They are also expensive. You will need between 600-1000 individual scalp grafts, each costing around $6. That’s about $6,000 to $10,000 for a full head of hair.[28]

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Hair Loss and Scalp Conditions