I’m balding

Losing your hair when you’re young can be hard, especially if you’re still at school. But it doesn’t mean you should hide under a beanie for the rest of your life. Dr Ranj Singh gives us the lowdown on going bald.

boy looking in mirror

"Come on hair, stay in."

Why am I going bald?

Going bald before you draw a pension may not seem right, but the fact is hair loss can kick in from age 15 onwards.

“When boys go through puberty they have an increase in testosterone, which causes ‘male pattern baldness’ – the hair over the crown starts to thin and the front hairline starts to recede,” says Dr Ranj Singh.

Hair loss is commonly down to one of those annoying hand-me-down genes you’d rather not have. But in rare cases it can also be a sign of a medical problem, especially if it happens early in life, or if the pattern is abnormal. Losing hair in clumps or patches is known as alopecia areata, while 100% baldness is known as alopecia totalis.

So my balding is genetic?

Yes, baldness tends to be genetic. Curiously, it boils down to your mother’s genes.

This doesn’t mean you need to inspect family photos for bald-headed freak aunts, because you’re unlikely to find any. It simply means if there are a lot of thinning or receding males in your mother’s family tree then chances are you could soon join their ranks.

But I’m only 20…

Unfortunately age doesn’t factor into it. Where some guys go completely bald at 25, others thin so slowly that it’s barely noticeable.

“Hair loss affects different people to different extents – some people start going bald earlier than others,” says Dr Ranj.

Do balding treatments work?

Be wary of any shampoos that claim to thicken hair, prevent hair loss and even miraculously promote new growth. “Treating normal baldness is a massive industry, and unfortunately there isn’t much out there that works really well,” says Dr Ranj.

Even hair transplants (think Wayne Rooney and Elton John) that cost thousands are not guaranteed.

However, if hair loss is a major problem and you feel there may be an underlying medical reason for it, there are treatments your GP can prescribe. “There are several medical treatments for hair loss (including Minoxidil and Propecia) that work to varying extents,” says Dr Ranj.

If your thatch is beginning to thin

You can’t halt the fall out, but you can keep the loss down by not loading it with products and not pulling your locks into that ponytail you’ve been sporting for so long.

“It’s important that you look after your hair – make sure you wash it regularly, don’t use water that’s too hot, and make sure your health is generally good (e.g. nutritional deficiencies can result in hair loss),” says Dr Ranj.

Also avoid fiddling with your hair or colouring it. The more you leave it alone, in fact, the less of an issue it’ll be.

Should I shave my head?

This is down to personal choice. Shaving your head won’t promote growth, make it grow any faster, or make your hair thicker.

If your hair is history

The key is not to make a big deal about it. Whether you thin a little bit more over the decades to come or lose your hair completely, going bald doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.

Baldness isn’t a disease, after all. In fact most blokes feel better when they stop trying to cover it up and just accept baldness as a fact of life.

Bald but blue?

If you’re feeling uncomfortable about what’s happening to your hair, talk to a family member who’s been through your experience.

The bottom line is that whether you’re bald or have a lustrous mane, it is your confidence in yourself that matters most. If baldness is smashing your self-esteem then remind yourself of things about you that others like and admire, then build on it.

Even if you begin with something like your sense of humour, you’ll soon see why people rate you – with a rug on top or not.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


Updated on 29-Sep-2015