The Belgravia Centreis 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.
For many years old wives’ tales have suggested that men with bald spots are more virile than their hirsute counterparts. Usually there is some small grain of truth in such stories, which persist through generations based on anecdotal evidence.
Investigating the issue, dermatologist John Burton went on record in 1979 to say, “The suggestion that bald men are more virile than their well-thatched contemporaries is probably an old wives’ tale, but it must be conceded that old wives are likely to be unusually authoritative in this matter.”
So could it be that bald men are more sexually potent?
Where did the story come from?
Since the ancient times of eunuchs being employed to look after the king’s harem, people have realised that castrated men never lose their hair. The Greek philosopher appears to have been the first observer to write about the condition in the 1st century BC.
In the 20th century, anthropologist James Hamilton conducted research on American prison inmates who had been sterilised as part of their sentence. His study found that castration before the onset of hair loss prevented the onset of male pattern balding; whereas for inmates sterilised after hair loss had begun, the balding did not spread, nor did it reverse.
Hamilton correctly concluded that the hormone testosterone, which is no longer produced following castration, played a significant part in hair loss. He was not however able to determine whether baldness and virility were related.
Burton’s baldness theory
In 1979, John Burton studied 48 men and assessed what he called “surrogate markers of masculinity”. These markers included hair density on the limbs, sebum secretion rates, sweat levels, muscle thickness and more.
In the end, Burton was unable to provide any link between baldness and these “surrogate markers”, leading him to conclude that head hair had no effect on virility at all.
Into the 21st century
Two medical researchers from the University of Melbourne have recently completed research to finally identify or discredit the hypothesis. They tested 2836 men in total, some of whom had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and others who were clear. Each was assessed for a level of balding (none, receding hairline, vertex and fully bald) by an interviewer.
The subjects were then asked to complete a questionnaire that detailed their history of ejaculations and sexual partners between the ages of 20 and 49. When the results were collected and analysed, the researchers quickly realised that there were almost no differences between the responses, regardless of the hairloss being experienced by each.
The results, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, suggest that not only are bald men no more virile than their hirsute counterparts, but that they probably had fewer sexual partners too. The researchers went on to suggest that much of this discrepancy could be to do with a lack of confidence brought about by hair loss and poor self image.
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 diagnostic 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 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.
Human hair is a remarkable thing, from its structure and growth, to its many diverse styles and colours. Here are some of the most unusual hair facts you will read anywhere today:
1. Facial hair could save your life
For men still trying to decide whether to lose their ‘Movember’ growth, here is something to consider. Facial hair has been shown to help reduce the risk of contracting some skin cancers because it protects the face from exposure to solar radiation (particularly UVA and UVB rays). Leaving the moustache in place and growing a beard could actually save your life.
2. Redheads don’t go grey
Unlike their brunette and blonde counterparts, redheaded men and women tend to go blonder as they age, eventually turning pure white. Studies suggest that redheads may also be more sensitive to pain, requiring painkiller doses up to 20% stronger than people with other hair colours.
3. Humans are as hairy as chimps
Hard as it may be to believe, humans actually have the same per inch density of hair growth across their bodies as chimpanzees. The human’s ‘naked ape’ nickname fails to account for the fact that only the thickest, most pigmented strands of hair are readily noticeable, like those on the tops of our heads. The rest of our bodies are covered in very fine, short hairs that are also very pale in colour, making them hard to see. Like humans, chimps can suffer from hair loss conditions.
4. Blondes really may have more fun
Research suggests that blonde women are perceived to be more feminine by their peers, and have also been found to have higher levels of oestrogen. This hormonal boost is thought to give women a more youthful personality and finer features. Perhaps more importantly though blonde men and women have an average of 130,000 hairs on their scalps – brunettes average just 100,000 and redheads 80,000.
5. Blondes struggle in the boardroom
It’s not all good news for blondes though. Although blondes make up 25% of the UK population, just 5% of CEOs of FTSE500 companies are blonde, suggesting they are underrepresented at board level. Redheads also account for 5% of CEOs, surprising some because they only make up 1% of the British population.
If you’re affected by hair loss, then it’s only natural to focus on your hair itself – especially if it’s conspicuous by its absence! However, it is well worth remembering that your hair itself is not likely to be where the problem is found. The hair shaft is not actually living tissue – which is the reason why you can have it cut without experiencing any pain – and so the actual cause of baldness or thinning can normally be found amongst the roots of the hairs themselves: in the scalp.
The scalp is the living tissue found on the surface of the skull from which our hair grows. Despite being only mere millimeters thick, the scalp is differentiated into five layers, which can be remembered through the handy mnemonic; S.C.A.L.P.
Skin: The skin is the surface layer of the scalp. This contains the hair follicles that produce hair shafts, and the sebaceous glands that secrete oil that gives the hair its distinctive shine.
Connective tissue: Immediately beneath the skin lies a layer of fat and fibrous material.
The epicranial Aponeurosis: A denser layer of fibrous tissue that anchors the skin and connective tissue above in place is the next layer down. If this aponeurosis is damaged by a head injury, then the wound will be a gaping one, which will require stitching.
The Loose areolar connective tissue: This lies beneath the epicranial aponeurosis. This more fragile layer is rich in blood vessels, and so it bleeds profusely upon injury.
The Pericranium: The pericranium is the outer layer of the skull that provides the bone beneath with nutrition and the capacity to heal itself.
Blood supply and hair loss
As with the rest of the body, the scalp relies upon the blood to provide it with oxygen, nutrients and to dispose of waste chemicals. In the scalp, the blood is supplied via five arteries, which branch off the two major blood vessels that supply blood to the head – two from the internal carotid and three from the external carotid. From these major arteries, the blood filters through into a network of capilliaries. It is potentially here when one of the hair loss treatments used at The Belgravia Centre – Minoxidil – exerts it effect. According to some scientists, Minoxidil is effective because it causes blood vessels in the scalp to dilate, boosting the level of nutrients that hair follicles receive.
The appliance of science
Scientific knowledge like this has been crucial for the development of effective treatments to combat hair loss. Once the growth of hair was as mysterious as any of nature’s workings, but with careful research into physiology and biochemistry, our hair loss experts are now able to make informed assessments of each patient’s symptoms and their most probable cause. Every Belgravia Centre treatment plan is carefully tailored to the patient concerned – you can explore our online archive of success stories to hear the tales of many of our satisfied clients.
If you’d like to find out more about the science behind the treatments and how they could help you, then call us on 0800 077 6666 or contact us online to arrange a no obligation appointment at our London clinic, or complete our online diagnostic form for a remote assessment today!
Our hair is important to us. It can often be the first thing you notice about a person, and bespoke styling can be a great way of expressing your attitude and personality. The power of hair is certainly used to great effect in fiction, with writers often describing a character’s hair in such a way that it tells us something about them. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter books, after all, has lank, greasy locks that hint at his slippery reputation, whilst the golden hair of the Elf Queen Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings speaks of her origin in a heavenly realm across the sea. Folktales and traditional stories are no different, with all manner of odd and amazing hairdos being described and dramatized. Here are a couple of examples:
Rapunzel is the most famous example of unusual hair as a defining character trait in a fairytale. In the original story collected by the Brothers Grimm, an enchantress traps a young girl in a tower without doors. In order to rescue her, a handsome prince who discovers the tower must climb up the girl’s long, blond hair. It could be suggested (with your tongue firmly in your cheek) that should this story have actually happened, the strain of allowing a full-grown man to regularly climb her hair may have lead Rapunzel to develop Traction Alopecia!
According to Inuit belief, the goddess Sedna is the keeper of all sea mammals. All the sins of mankind drift down through the water, where they become lodged as dirt and grime in Sedna’s hair. When the hunting becomes particularly poor, a shaman is sent through trance to go down to the depths and cleanse Sedna’s hair for her.
The Greek storyteller Aesop had a story about a man who had two wives, one older, one younger. Both wished for their husband to be more like them, so the older wife pulled out all his dark hairs, the younger pulled out all his grey ones. In the end, the man became completely bald – proving that if you give in to everyone, sooner or later you will have nothing to give!
Hair loss treatment is no fairytale
With such amazing variety being possible with the humble hair, you may be disappointed if your own is thinning or receding. The good news is that, as our extensive archive of success stories from satisfied patients attests, the effectiveness of The Belgravia Centre’s range of hair loss treatments is anything but mythical.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of hair loss, you can message us online or contact us on 0800 077 6666 to organise a free, no obligation consultation at our central London clinic. Or, if you live outside of the city, you can complete a diagnostic form online. One of our hair loss experts will be able to assess your condition, and devise a bespoke treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.
Hair is an amazing substance. Composed of a protein called keratin, hair is a unique structure found almost only in mammals – of which humans are one example. In fact, the presence of hair is one of the defining features of the biological classificatory order Mammalia, along with mammary (milk) glands. We’ve put together a collection of fascinating facts about hair and hair loss from the natural world – some of which might surprise you!
Hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body, second only to bone marrow.
Hair first evolved amongst a common ancestor of birds, mammals and reptiles that lived 310 million years ago. The substance alpha keratin first evolved as a component of claws (for which it is still used), but a subsequent mutation along the mammalian line lead it to form into hairs.
The substance from which hairs are made – keratin – also forms part of horns, such as those sported by rhinos. This is why when a rhino horn is cut off, it eventually grows back!
Humans aren’t the only mammals that experience hair loss. Certain other species of primate, such as chimps, stump-tailed macaques and the uakari, also progressively lose their hair after adolescence. Their condition is still known as Alopecia, as it is in humans. Stump-tailed macaques in particular have been used to study the causes of human baldness, as the mechanism by which they shed their hair is much the same.
The male lions of Tsavo national park are notable for being maneless. They are also known for being more aggressive and for forming prides with more females per male than is usual. This is believed to be because the male lions of Tsavo have a higher level of testosterone, suggesting that lacking a mane is a sign of male dominance.
Sea otters, on the other hand, have the densest fur in the animal kingdom, with up to 150,000 strands of hair per square centimetre. Long guard hairs keep the fur waterproof, while the undercoat traps air and keeps in body heat. In order to maintain this waterproof coat, sea otters need to keep it scrupulously clean, and are therefore able to groom their entire body. They even blow air into their coats, in order to add to the insulating effect!
The various sloth species of South America have a greenish tint to their long fur – but this isn’t due to pigmentation! Because they move so slowly, they actually have algae growing in their hair. This doesn’t bother the sloths though – in fact, it helps camouflage them!
Polar bears don’t actually have white fur. The outer layer of guard hairs that cover their body are actually transparent; they only appear white because of the way they scatter light (rather than by reflecting it, as white fur would).
Many mammals living in temperate or polar environments change their pelts with the seasons to assist with camouflage. The Artic Hare, Arctic Fox and Ermine (or Stoat) all do this. They achieve this by moulting their brown or mottled summer coats in autumn, replacing them with a white winter coat underneath. This is then moulted and replaced with a fresh summer coat the following spring.