As rugby's 2018 Six Nations Championship enters its final week of action, Ireland have managed to secure their first title since 2015, with Wales, England and France gunning for second place.
In spite of this sporting tension, England's Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones, captain of the Welsh rugby team, have managed to maintain a friendship, with Itoje even making tongue-in-cheek remarks about Jones' hair loss
Although the 23-year-old Itoje is nine years younger than Jones, they became close during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, with the pair spending two weeks together as roommates.
However, the England player couldn't resist a cheeky dig at his former teammate: "He [Jones] let his hair down. I'm fortunate enough to have quite long, free-flowing hair. He's severely balding, but I think he's come to terms with that now".
From line-outs to hairlines
Jones has played for Wales a staggering 116 times, the second most appearances in the national team's history.
However, he has been less successful at staving off Male Pattern Baldness
. The lock forward displays tell-tale signs of the hereditary condition, as his hair is clearly thinning on top
While Jones appears comfortable with his thinning hair
, many sportsmen - like all men - feel uncomfortable when they start losing their hair, particularly given the amount of scrutiny they are under on a constant basis.
In some cases, they turn to surgical hair restoration
, often believing it to be a 'quick-fix' option. However, this is rarely the case, with on-going aftercare needed - in the form of pharmaceutical hair loss treatments - widely recommended
by transplant surgeons both before and after an op of this type, in order to preserve results.
experiences with premature balding have been well documented, and the current Everton footballer has had at least one Follicular Unit Extraction
(FUE) hair transplant. Rugby league star Luke Gale
also opted for this procedure to stop chants from opposing fans and to regain self-confidence.
While Itoje dished out the initial hairloss jibe, he might want to be wary. His customary look, a short back and sides with dreadlocks on top, could make him susceptible to Traction Alopecia
This condition is caused by consistent, excessive pressure put on follicles by certain hairstyles, namely tightly-fitting hair extensions and tensely-woven styles like cornrows and dreadlocks.
Hair loss solutions
While Rooney and Gale have turned to surgical hair restoration, many men choose a more discreet route, opting for clinically-proven male pattern hair loss treatments
to help them stabilise shedding and promote regrowth.
Non-surgical hair regimens often revolve around one or both of the two primary, MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved medications - finasteride 1mg and minoxidil.
The former inhibits the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT
), the hormone which causes hair to gradually thin and shed in men who are genetically sensitive to it. Topical formulations of high-strength minoxidil
- which are applied directly to the scalp to increase blood flow - can also be used to encourage hair growth.
Additional complementary hair growth supporting products
can also be used alongside these medications. These range from FDA-cleared low-level laser therapy (LLLT) devices designed to stimulate the hair follicles and suitable for use at home, to nutritional support in the form of highly-targeted food supplements with key ingredients shown to help in the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
Men using these types of hair loss solutions are frequently aiming for a more private way to prevent baldness
as the changes they may experience from non-surgical treatments are more gradual and understated than the effects hair transplant surgery. This can require the head to be shaved - completely or in part - and leaves behind reddened, inflamed skin where the new grafts have been inserted, for a week or so whilst the scalp heals.
Losing hair is a physical process, but it can often affect those experiencing it emotionally. As a result, many Belgravia clients appreciate the monitoring and guidance they receive from welcoming and friendly
hair loss professionals, and their support plays an important part in clients' treatment experience.