Tennis legend Andre Agassi has released his autobiography, Open. The world’s media have feasted upon the book’s revelation that its author deliberately snorted the recreational drug crystal meth back in 1997 while still a professional player. In the book, Agassi also explains how he subsequently failed a drugs test but escaped a ban by lying to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) that he had unknowingly drunk a spiked beverage.
While the sporting authorities now debate investigating whether other similar incidents have occurred, the world of celebrity gossip is now speculating that the drug incident caused Agassi’s hair loss. While recreational drug use can be linked to hair loss, Agassi’s dabble in 1997 occurred two years after he shaved his already balding head at the age of 25. Photos of the tennis player taken prior to the drug taking clearly show the outline of his already receding hairline.
The fact that Agassi developed Male Pattern Baldness in his early twenties is not uncommon. A survey of over 10,000 men, undertaken by the Belgravia Centre, shows that hair loss in men rises exponentially in the 21-30 age bracket and patient numbers decline with age.
Agassi has spoken about the stress of being the world’s top tennis player. He is one of only six male players to achieve a Career Grand Slam (winning all Grand Slam titles) and the only male player to achieve a Career Golden Slam (winning all Grand Slam titles and the Olympic Gold Medal). In promoting Open, Agassi said, “So much happened in such a short span, every moment chronicled in newspapers and magazines: my worst losses, greatest wins, my relationships, my mistakes, my disappearances, my reappearances, my hair and fashion choices. Again and again I was written about and again and again it was all wrong, it wasn’t me.” Severe stress can trigger an earlier onset of Male Pattern Baldness; it is possible this contributed however it might have happened at this early age regardless of the pressures Agassi faced.
In 2004 Agassi spoke out about his hair loss and said he considered hair surgery and hairpieces but said that these were not suitable for his condition. It is not known whether Agassi considered hair loss treatments. He may have decided to go for the shaven look as it was a way of breaking from the celebrity circus that his life had become. When Agassi still had his famous long locks, he appeared in a massive ad campaign for Canon exclaiming “Image is Everything”. This slogan was tied into the loss of privacy that the tennis player came to hate.
There are two treatments that have been proven to be effective at stabilising hair loss and restoring lost hair. As a result of large scale clinical trials, Minoxidil and Propecia have been licensed by the MHRA and FDA-approved for the prevention of hair loss. To see the kind of results that can be achieved when these products are used as part of an tailored treatment programme, simply view Belgravia’s Hair Loss Success Stories.
Even if Agassi had considered hair loss treatments, he may have been warned off using Propecia because it might get him in trouble with the authorities (and given what we know now about his use of Crystal Meth, this would have been an important consideration). In 2005, Propecia was banned for use by sportsmen as it was considered to mask other performance-enhancing substances. Advances in anti-doping testing led to the ban being lifted on 1st January 2009. More information can be found here: http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/QA_Finasteride.pdf
When it comes to Minoxidil and Propecia, Male Pattern Baldness often responds best to early, combined treatment. Therefore, even if Agassi had wanted to use these treatments, Propecia was not available when he first began to suffer hair loss in the early 1990s. Men today have a much better chance of preventing baldness thanks to advances in medical sciences.
If you are concerned about hair loss and would like to find out how treatments can help, contact the Belgravia Centre for a consultation with a specialist. To book an appointment, which is free, just call the reception on 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form for an instant review (usually within 48 hours) of your condition and a mail order treatment service.