Baldness has its ups and downs – just like a widow’s peak – apparently. A lot has been said about a man’s hair or lack thereof and its relationship with one’s virility and intelligence. While some of these myths may have a degree of underlying truth, there are five things every bald man should know.
1. Intellectual activity or psychological problems will not cause baldness
Ever noticed in movies how the more intellectual, quiet types and evil characters are usually portrayed as bald whereas the main characters and heroes are generally attractive and mentally stable with no apparent hair problems? Unfortunately, this association permeates in real life. Several research studies have shown that bald men are regarded in a less positive light than their fully haired peers when being selected for a job or when asking for a pay raise when there is in fact no connection between the extent of hair loss and brain activity.
This myth is probably as old as hair loss itself. It may have emerged based on the assumption that because the brain is inside the skull and very close to the terminal scalp hair, excessive use of the brain and mental disorders could have a negative impact on hair growth. Aside from this, baldness could be linked to intellect or wisdom simply due to the fact that baldness progresses with age and as one becomes more experienced.
More information on What Causes Male Hair Loss
2. Baldness can be caused by emotional stress
Emotional stress has been shown to accelerate hereditary male pattern baldness and trigger other forms of hair loss such as alopecia areata (patchy baldness) and telogen effluvium (generalised hair thinning). When the body simply cannot cope with the pressure it shuts down the production of hair, redirecting energies elsewhere. A number of studies have shown that stress interrupts the hair growth cycle, either by prematurely terminating the normal anagen duration (active hair growth phase), holding the hair follicles in an extended telogen (resting phase) or by inhibiting hair growth due to hormonal imbalances.
More information on Stress and Hair Loss
3. Bald men are not necessarily more ‘virile’ or sexually active than others
There’s no denying that sexual activity is multi-factorial, so it’s unfair to say – and untrue – that bald men have higher libidos. Levels of free testosterone are strongly linked to libido and also DHT levels (the hair loss causing product in the body), but unless free testosterone is virtually non-existent, levels have not been shown to affect virility. If truth be told, a person’s hairline might be more indicative of their past than present disposition. After all, hair loss is progressive and free testosterone declines with age.
More information on Testosterone and Hair Loss
4. Shaving hair does not make it grow back stronger
If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, a shaved head will not prevent a bald head. Male pattern baldness is caused by a miniaturisation of the hair follicle itself. Shaving one’s head doesn’t increase the number of healthy hair present on the scalp and will not cause the hair to thicken.
More information on Effective Treatment for Male Hair Loss
5. Frequent ejaculation does not cause baldness
This old wives’ tale has toned down since its original inception. Apparently, excessive masturbation was said to cause hair loss on the head and hair to grow on the palms of the offending hand. Of course it’s just another ridiculous myth.
Ejaculation does cause testosterone levels to temporarily elevate and higher testosterone levels may correlate with both hair loss and increased sex drive in predisposed individuals who have a tendency toward hereditary male pattern baldness, but there is no evidence that regular ejaculation will cause baldness.
Perhaps it’s the idea of blood flow being directed away from the scalp. This theory actually led men to stand on their heads in the 80s in an attempt to grow more hair. While minoxidil (a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to hair follicles) has been used effectively with a combination of hair growth boosters in treating hair loss, there is no evidence that standing on one’s head can alleviate baldness.
More information on Hair Loss Myths and Truths