Much has been written about the lack of self-confidence that comes with hair loss, as men with Male Pattern Baldness often put pen to paper (or teary eye to drinking friend’s bosom) to describe just how powerless they feel to stop the rising tide of hair on their pillow each morning.
Few men, though, write about it so earnestly – or so publicly – as author Nick Coleman, whose 2,500-word essay on the subject of his own thinning was published recently in the Independent.
First signs of hair loss
The author, whose new novel Pillow Man has just been published, explains in the article how he first got a glimpse of the bald scalp that would come when he was a punky young student in 1979.
“There,” he writes, “clearly visible in the mirror, rising in the moon among thinning dark clouds, was a white hemisphere both beyond my hair and yet somehow also in amongst it.”
Gazing into the mirror he says he saw a bald head, barely veiled by the curls that he expected to see. It was the first time he had noticed any signs of hair loss, or that his hair was going thin.
The article – which is equal parts hilarious and moving – goes on to describe how Coleman was recently reminded of the moment he first faced his own hair loss when he saw Wayne Rooney interviewed on TV. The way the footballer’s hand seemed drawn to touching his scalp, Coleman says, was characteristic of a man ill at ease with his locks. Rooney, of course, has famously undergone two hair transplants, having been affected by thinning hair since his early 20s.
“It just wouldn’t stay down, that hand,” writes Coleman. “Up it would go, as if heading for the summit of Wayne… and then divert for a fiddle on the lower slopes.”
A similar compulsion to “confirm what little hair I had left” was something that tormented Coleman in his 20s: unsurprisingly he found himself sympathising with Rooney’s wandering hand and its inability to stop itself from “checking in.”
Developed itchy scalp
A serious point that the writer touches on is how itchy his scalp became when he started to shed hair. “It drives you mad,” he writes. “Partly because the itch is unscratchable and partly because it keeps moving around.”
An itchy scalp is not, however, regularly associated with Male Pattern Baldness or indeed one of the various forms of Alopecia – the writer does not explain which condition he has (though it is most likely the former, genetic hair loss being the world’s most common form of hair loss in men).
Itchy scalps are often caused by shampoos that irritate the skin – some can damage hair follicles and lead to an infection called folliculitis, which can lead to hair loss if untreated. Itchy scalps with red patches, meanwhile, are often the result of psoriasis, which can lead to temporary thinning.
Another potential reason for this ‘itching’ is something called Burning Scalp Syndrome which causes a tingling sensation and, although it does not cause hair loss itself, it is associated with shedding due to it often signalling the onset of genetic hair loss.
Psychological effects of hair loss
What the writer does delve into, however, is his feelings about having to get to grips with how other people perceive you once baldness kicks in.
“When you lose your hair young, you are marking the end of that period in life during which others see you as ‘a man’,” he writes. It’s over, he says. From now on, you will be a “bald man” or a “prematurely bald man.”
Hair loss-related confidence issues are incredibly common, however, fortunately regrowth solutions have moved on a little since the days when Coleman’s hair started shedding and there are now clinically-proven male hair loss treatments available for those who are not ready to accept their fate.
The best way to stabilise shedding if you’ve suddenly noticed an increase in hairs in the shower tray is to speak to a hair loss expert as soon as you can so that a diagnosis can swiftly be made – and a bespoke treatment plan featuring hair growth boosters can be implemented.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.