Continuing the comic-book theme we started with a look at Captain America star Chris Evans’ hair loss, this week we look at the hair loss of everyone’s favourite smooth-headed mutant, Professor X from the X-Men franchise.
Following this month’s release of the film series’ prequel, X-Men: First Class, actor James McAvoy who plays the young Charles Xavier (who later becomes Professor X), revealed that he still does not know what will cause his character’s baldness in subsequent X-Men films.
The original trilogy of films, adapted from the popular comic-book series of the same name, is set in an alternative present day. In each of these, Professor X is entirely bald, and is played by Patrick Stewart, who himself has been entirely bald in real life since being a teenager, due to the hair loss condition Alopecia.
The latest film takes place in the 1960s, and sees the young Charles Xavier/ Professor X with a full head of hair. He is played by James McAvoy, who has yet to show any signs of Male Pattern Baldness.
When asked how his character would lose his hair in future films, McAvoy admitted to the Sunday Mercury newspaper that he does not know: “He either shaves it or he loses it, I don’t know how they’ll do it,” he said. “In the comic books, he’s still very young when he loses it, on the day his powers activate. We decided not to do that,” McAvoy continued.
Possible causes of Charles Xavier’s hairloss
Being a product of Hollywood, and a superhero action fantasy to boot, the filmmakers aren’t exactly restricted to reality when determining how the character experiences hairloss. From being a side-effect of the mutant X-gene which gives him his special powers, to succumbing to radiation from a nuclear blast, or falling victim to a follicle-devouring outer-space monster; the cause of the professor’s total hair loss is perhaps unlikely to reflect reality.
But if the story were taking place in the real world, what might be the cause of Charles Xavier/ Professor X’s hairloss?
Alopecia is a condition which often begins with patchy hair loss, but can progress to such an extent that all hair is lost from the scalp, where it becomes known as Alopecia Totalis. This is the condition that Professor X actor Patrick Stewart began suffering from when he was 19. Within a year he had lost virtually all the hair from his scalp.
The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by periods of extreme stress. And for a man who is constantly trying to save the world from one crisis or another whilst also managing a school for young and often boisterous mutants, stress must surely be free-flowing.
Alopecia can affect both men and women, and occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, causing hair loss and a halt in the production of new hairs.
Male Pattern Baldness
Unlike Alopecia, if the Professor’s total hair loss occurred as a result of Male Pattern Baldness it would probably have happened quite gradually. Like the superpowers provided by the fictional X-gene, Male Pattern Baldness is a genetic condition, and can be inherited from either the mother or father’s side of the family. Also known as Androgenetic Alopecia, the hair loss condition usually begins with thinning around the crown of the head, or a receding hair line. In many cases it does not result in total baldness, however this is possible.
Male Pattern Baldness is triggered in genetically pre-disposed inviduals when testosterone in the body is converted to dihydrotestosterone via a naturally occurring enzyme process. This then causes follicles to shrink and produce less hair.
Far from being a mutant genetic condition, Male Pattern Baldness is estimated to affect around half of all UK men by the time they are fifty, and can strike at anytime from their early-twenties onwards.
Could Professor X’s hair loss be treated?
If the later incarnation of Professor X (as played by Patrick Stewart) walked into The Belgravia Centre, we would be unable to help him, as all follicles on the scalp will have already ceased to function.
However, if the younger character played by James McAvoy came in with thinning hair or patchy bald spots, we would have a variety of treatment options to offer him. Pharmaceutical treatments such as Propecia and Minoxidil have been scientifically proven to be effective in treating Male Pattern Baldness, and have also been used effectively in the treatment of patchy hair loss caused by Alopecia Areata.
However, to be fully effective they need to be used in conjunction with other clinical and support treatments, under the guidance of hair loss experts. Our team are experts in treating a variety of hair loss conditions, and are happy to utilise their skills to treat both mutants and non-mutants alike.
For further information on The Belgravia Centre’s hair loss treatments please contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help. Alternatively, fill out our online diagnostic form for a free consultation that we can post anywhere in the world.