As the world's most expensive footballer, Gareth Bale is used to scrutiny for his performance, but thanks to some unflattering camera angles during the Euro 2016 tournament, it's his hair that's now under fire.
Despite keeping his long locks tied up tightly during his Welsh side's matches, the combination of sweat and rapid movement proved too much for his hairstyle which soon became dishevelled, exposing a large centre circle of hair loss around Bale's crown.
Fans have taken photos from the television coverage of each Wales match showing the midfielder's distinct thinning crown and posted them on social media, as well as tweeting them to both us and Bale directly, urging him to seek help. But is Gareth Bale's hair loss a simple case of Male Pattern Baldness or is there perhaps another reason for his thinning? From what we can see in the TV footage it seems likely that there could be two problems at play here.
Firstly, at 26 years old, Bale is in prime position age-wise to start seeing signs of hair loss if he has a predisposition towards androgenetic alopecia. A thinning crown is a key indicator of male pattern hair loss, as is a receding hairline and, despite the Real Madrid player's natural widow's peak, it does appear as if his edges are also being affected.
This genetic condition, which only affects areas around the top of the head, does seem to be the most likely reason for Bale's bald patch, however his hairstyle of choice - the 'man bun' - is not doing him any favours either.
Whilst wearing his hair long and tying it tightly in a high bun on top of his head does usually help to hide his hair thinning, it could be accelerating his hairloss. When worn regularly, as Bale seems wont to do given he is rarely pictured without his signature hairstyle, tight hairstyles such as buns, braids and dreadlocks, cause excessive tension on the follicles. This leads to weakened hairs that can snap along the shaft where the hair is secured, causing hair breakage, and can also damage the follicles causing hair loss from a condition called Traction Alopecia.
Mostly affecting the hairline, which may start to recede especially at the temples due to the stress of holding the hairstyle tautly in place, it can also cause patches of hair loss around the areas where the style is secured. In Gareth Bale's case this would be at his crown which, if it was already thinning, would only add to his worries as it is possible to have genetic hair loss as well as Traction Alopecia simultaneously. Luckily, many cases of TA are moderate and can be cleared up by following an effective traction alopecia treatment programme, though in persistent cases it can end in irreversible baldness.
After Wales were beaten 2-1 by an England team featuring Man of the Match Wayne Rooney and the winning goal-scorer Daniel Sturridge, early on in the Euro 2016 tournament, Bale told the BBC, "We keep fighting all the way". If he wants to apply the same mentality to dealing with his hair loss, there are a number of options open to him.
As he lives in Spain now, a hair loss specialist would be able to carry out an online consultation for him then tailor a bespoke home-use hair loss treatment programme to his precise needs, which could be sent out to him.
A personalised course of male pattern hair loss treatment with complementary hair growth boosters could help to prevent further shedding and accelerate regrowth, as it has done for many Belgravia clients whose results can be seen in our Male Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories. He would of course also need to ditch the man bun for as long as possible in order to avoid aggravating the follicles further and allowing them time to heal.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.