Controversial comedian Ricky Gervais is making waves with his new stand-up show Humanity in which he discusses his weight gain, ageing and hair loss.
“I’m losing my hair. It’s getting really thin,” he tells the audience. “No, honestly – in a lift with that light directly overhead and the mirror it looks like an x-ray.”
As with around 50 per cent of other men his age, the 56 year old shows clear signs of the hereditary condition male pattern baldness. During his routine he discusses how he plans to deal with this, in his own inimitable style.
Put off wigs for life
Gervais explains to the audience that he has thinning hair and is planning to shave his head, adding that he would never wear a wig. The reason for this, he says, is seeing how his uncle dealt with hair loss by wearing a wig.
“Guys, if you wear a wig or a toupee and you think you’ve got away with it – you haven’t. Everyone knows. Everyone knows immediately. My brain knows a wig has come into the room before I do,” the staunch animal-rights activist joked, before going on to tell the tale of his Uncle Reginald.
“I was put off wigs for life by my Uncle Reginald, a great bloke right who died a few years ago. He went bald, tragically bald, in his 20’s – it might have been something, it might have been Alopecia or something, I don’t know, but he was bald for 10 years, into his 30’s. He turns up one day at our house – Elvis.
And I remember I was about 8 and I went to my Aunty Edna, “what happened to Uncle Reginald’s hair?” and she said “It’s a miracle” – they were lying, they were hushing it, everyone knew it was a lie but he’d embroiled his family in on the lie.
They were going “yeah, it’s amazing, it just grew back”, and there were a load of things he wouldn’t do cos he was terrified of the wig coming off, right.
We weren’t allowed balloons at parties. Auntie Edna said “yeah, Reg is allergic to balloons” – he wasn’t allergic to balloons, he was terrified one of us kids would rub one on our sweater and his wig would fly across the room. We’ve got photos of him in the family album and if he’s at a wedding or a christening and he’s holding a baby, he’s always holding it at arms length so it can’t grab his wig. It must have been on his mind all the time. It was the only thing he feared, that wig coming off in public and this ridiculous lie being exposed.”
Taking decisive action
Whilst wigs or ‘hair replacement systems’ as they are also known now, have come a long way since Uncle Reginald’s day, it is certainly still true that wearers can feel self-conscious about them. Especially in adverse weather conditions. But getting a buzz cut is not the only option to men who are losing their hair.
In an interview with the Radio Times, Rick Gervais is asked about his hair loss. In typically coarse fashion, he responds: “You can shoot me if I ever have a hair transplant. I’d rather shave it off than go through that phase where men desperately hold on to their last tragic bit of fluff and end up looking like a baby owl.”
One aspect The Office creator failed to touch upon, and may not have considered, is one of the most popular options for men wanting to restore their hair and prevent baldness without resorting to surgery: hair loss treatment. He may want to speak to his friend and collaborator Karl Pilkington for information. Pilkington explored a variety of ways to conceal and prevent hairloss as part of his show The Moaning of Life, and admitted in interviews that he was considering this non-invasive route. However, given his advanced baldness, the TV presenter may have left it too late to see any meaningful results.
There are two MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications clinically-proven to treat male pattern hair loss as long as there are still functioning hair follicles capable of producing hair. This is the case in the vast majority of men where the area affected by the hereditary condition – the top of the scalp, from the hairline to the crown – is not bald. Baldness presents as smooth, shiny skin indicating the follicles are no longer active. As long as there is hair on the scalp – even if it is thinning – there is a chance that this may be a viable option and a hair loss specialist will be able to determine whether or not this is a worthwhile pursuit on a case-by-case basis during consultations.
The two key drugs used are finasteride 1mg and minoxidil and these can be used separately or simultaneously where suitable. Each comes at Male Pattern Baldness from a different angle; whilst the one-a-day tablet finasteride 1mg inhibits the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the hormone which binds to the affected hair follicles, causing thinning hair and receding – whilst applying appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil straight to the scalp can help to encourage accelerated hair growth. The latter can be particularly helpful in cases of stubborn hair loss, such as a receding hairline or thinning crown.
In addition to the pharmaceutical element of treatment, additional hair growth supporting products can be used, including low level laser therapy devices, such as the LaserBand, designed to stimulate the hair follicles, and the targeted food supplement Hair Vitalics for Men which includes a wealth of premium vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, including selenium, biotin and zinc to assist in maintaining normal healthy hair growth.
Whilst this approach cannot guarantee a head of hair like Uncle Reginald’s, it is certainly more discreet – and balloon-friendly.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies 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 Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.