It was necessary, the forelock, to assign me this report on baldness. And twice more than one! Firstly because I have the mop well planted – which is equivalent to a provocation. Then because, little worried appearances, I do not comb myself since 1981 – which is equivalent to waste! That year, I had gone on a nine-week trip without thinking of taking a comb.
So, I admit, I do not deserve to have hair. If there was a capillary justice, I should be the first bald.
But I have a personal reason to be interested in baldness: like all males, I have four chances out of five to end up bald. Baldness only affects 15% of men under 20 years of age. It rises to 30% in the thirties, 40% in the quadras, 50% in the fifties, to reach 80% of men over 70 years! I would not bet on my own genetic chances: my brother was tonsured at 44 years old and my father saw his skull become desertified around 70 years old.
In my circle of friends, I have four bald heads: one grafted and three shorn. To my knowledge! As the statistics suggest, the others would be able to hide their alopecia by various stratagems, such as grafts, hairpieces, densifiers or drugs. And then, guys, we do not talk too much about our problems. Especially that my friends do not seem to make their baldness a disease.
To find out what is going on in a peeled coconut, we know – so I went to meet my friends, which gave me some surprises.
I started with Mark *. Since he does not have much hair on the pebble and is an internist, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone: what medicine says, and what he thinks about it. Except that the discussion was shorter than expected. “Jean-Benoît, baldness is the most boring medical subject of all. Hair loss has no effect on physical health, apart from exposing the skull to sunlight. And 95% of hair loss in men is genetically programmed. There is nothing to do; you have to accept it, that’s all. Period.”
WHAT SCIENCE SAYS
A normal head has 50,000 to 100,000 hairs. Each lives on a cycle of two to four years, before falling, at a rate of 50 to 100 per day. And each hair follicle generates a new hair.
In the bald, the follicles get out of order and the falling hair is no longer replaced. But it is wrong to say that a bald “loses” his hair; it is an atrophy. In fact, bald ones have all their hair except they are microscopic. This genetic imbalance does not affect the hair at the back of the head, simply because they are, in reality, the extension of the beard!
In males, the cause is largely genetic, hence the term “androgenetic baldness”. The fault lies with an enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, which reacts with testosterone to produce dihydrotestosterone, a true poison for hair follicles. More rare, non-genetic baldness can be caused by medication, illness, stress, nutritional deficiencies, anesthesia and other disorders, such as trichotillomania (or mania to tear hair).
If Mark insists on acceptance, it is because the psychological effect of baldness is sometimes important, even disastrous, for some.
Hair loss places the male not only in front of a new image of himself, but also in the face of age-old atavisms, such as the fear of aging and the loss of virility or that of no longer seducing. According to a 2005 European study, 43% of men who lose their hair are concerned that they would be less attractive; 22% find an effect on their social life; and 21% feel depressed.
My other hairy friends, Pierre * and Romain *, also told me about what it does to them. Roman is generally more concerned about the shape of his head, very round, than his baldness on the vertex – technical term for the top of the skull. “Since I do not see her except on portraits taken from behind,” he said, “I do not see myself as bald.”
Bald who can!Pierre, he has it in full face. He started losing his hair at the same age as Romain, but on the forehead and the temporal lobes. He says he lives well with the situation, but he confesses: “When I look in the mirror, there is always a moment when I say to myself: it’s me, that? And in dreams, I see myself with my hair. It must work for me, internally. ”
Another deplored interviewer for this report, Jean Stéphane Leroux, is convinced that all men who lose their hair are troubled: “Nobody likes to see themselves without hair. When they say the opposite, they lie to you. They all end up admitting it. “For his 50th birthday, this travel agent, who teaches at Sigma College, a private institution specializing in travel-related trades, offered a gift of $ 3,500:” micropigmentation capillary”. This new technique of tattooing the scalp reproduces the impression of a freshly shaved fleece. “It was that or the graft, or the wig.”
As a matter of conscience, I asked several women what they thought about male pattern baldness. Most of them told me that it did not bother them, but I did not find one who had wanted at all costs a bald as a lover: we are more in acceptance than in desire.
Angélique Martel, editor-in-chief of beauty at Elle Québec, admits having always had a weakness for men with “a short hair length, at the Richard Gere” – actor cited as the paragon of the hairy. “In Quebec, the one who reconciled me to baldness is the actor James Hyndman, who took his own by shaving. Hyndman has made the bald ones sexier. It’s more fun than the image of the little boxer with a crown. “