An American tabloid magazine has made headlines after appearing to cover up Prince Harry's thinning hair in a recent publication.
Us Weekly published photos from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first official Royal Tour of Southern Africa. Whilst images of the couple were widely published around the world, there was something about the Us Weekly photos which didn't match the others - Prince Harry's hair loss, or rather, his sudden lack of it.
Despite HRH having had clear signs of Male Pattern Baldness - which he himself has acknowledged many times over the years - the magazine appeared to have 'touched up' his increasingly thinning crown, giving him a notably increased hair density.
Harry's hair has been gradually thinning on top - a typical symptom of hereditary hair loss and the result of a process called follicular miniaturisation - yet the cover of an October 2019 edition of Us Weekly showed the prince with thicker hair especially around his crown.
Unlike current hair cloning advancements being developed, where Male Pattern Hair Loss is treated using stem cell replication, this type of 'hair cloning' appears to be the work of image manipulation software, such as Photoshop.
This commonly-used programme allows users to 'clone' hair from one area of the photo and place it onto sparser areas of the scalp, as well as darkening the crown area to further imply there is less hair loss than we are used to seeing him with on the news and in other photos, including those on the Duke's own social media channels.
While some celebrities are known to indulge in a technique called Beauty Work to prevent any perceived 'flaws' from becoming public, Prince Harry's hair loss and that of his brother, Prince William, or indeed any of the male members of the British Royal Family, has never been hidden.
Whilst Harry was rumoured to have tried hair supplements and 'drops' - most likely the clinically-proven hair loss solution, high strength minoxidil - to help him in preventing baldness, it would appear neither he, nor his older brother, have tried a comprehensive course of male hair loss treatment.
What may have been a misguided act of flattery has backfired somewhat, with the Photoshop fail being reported in the media and shared across the internet, drawing more attention to Prince Harry's balding.
Since the time of Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, in May 2018, his hair thinning seemed to worsen, and it has shown no signs of slowing down.
Male Pattern Baldness can be exacerbated by stress, speeding up the rate of shedding in existing cases. Where there is a underlying genetic predisposition to androgenetic alopecia, it is possible for stress to trigger its premature onset, with or without a preceding bout of Telogen Effluvium - a common temporary hair loss condition often brought on by stress.
A key factor likely to have suddenly accelerated his rate of hair fall is stress. In the past 18 months, the Duke has got married, moved house and become a father for the first time, as well as undertaking his various Royal obligations and charity work.
Wedding planning is a hugely stressful event for many people, let alone those whose marriage is being live-streamed to the world, as is moving house and becoming a father, so these are understandable and relatable potential causes of stress.
Obviously they may not have the money worries of the average person, they do have to contend with other pressures, such as press intrusion. This is a particular strain on the Duke whose mother, Princess Diana, was killed during a car chase with paparazzi in Paris.
During this same time period, Harry's relationship and his wife have come under intense scrutiny from the media, receiving constant negative reports and criticisms, particularly from some sections of the UK press.
This has led to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taking legal action against the owners of newspapers including the Daily Mail, Mirror and The Sun. This unusual step is the result of what Prince Harry described in a public statement as "bullying":
"Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.
There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face as so many of you can relate to I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been...
...For these select media this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start. I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in...
…Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
When going through periods of intense stress, this can impact the hair growth cycle, temporarily preventing it from functioning normally; this, in turn, can result in sudden bald spots from Alopecia Areata developing, or severe shedding.
Although some hair loss conditions caused by stress are temporary and normal hair growth should resume naturally in due course, others - including instances where Male Pattern Baldness is worsened - may require treatment.
The first step to dealing with stress-related hair loss is to identify the source of the problem and address it; lifestyle changes to help you better manage your stress - including having a balanced lifestyle with decent amounts of exercise, regular sleep, and a healthy diet - may also be beneficial.
Secondly, where the hairloss is a concern, a consultation with a specialist can provide you with a professional diagnosis and personalised recommendations for effective hair loss treatment solutions and hair growth supporting products.
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.