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>> Personal Hygiene 101- Balding?
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Balding? What about a lack of hair? What about being bald? Shaving your head? This is such a tough topic for most of us midlife bachelors. My answer to you is that you will know in your heart and accept what looks best – given your unique hair density challenges.
Bald can be attractive. Let me start with a story about one of my friends who shaves his head – Kenny. In his mid-twenties, my friend, Kenny, started losing his hair. I remember that I had not seen Kenny since high school – and then one day when I went over to another friend’s home, Kenny answered the door – and his head was completely shaved. I didn’t even recognize him at first – until he told me who he was … and then I made the cardinal and ignorant mistake of saying “Whoa – that head is something … can I touch it? Whoa.” As it turned out - Kenny was pretty sensitive about the whole shaved head look at that time, as he had recently had it shaved for the first time. To Kenny’s credit, he didn’t hit me or yell at me back then – but as our friendship renewed itself, it was obvious he was not happy about references to his head. Kenny started shaving his head because he lost all his hair on the top – and he was tired of just having hair on the sides and back of his head. He opted to shave it all off – and keep it shaved. And it does look good on him – better (in my opinion) than if he kept the hair on the sides and back. A shaved head can make many statements to the world – but the key statement is that you have the self-confidence and enough emotional security with yourself to do it. It’s a big step, and it is definitely not for everyone. I have not taken that step, myself – at least not yet. But I just might if I wind up losing a majority of my hair.
What if you are not yet bald – but are losing your hair? This is the boat that I am in – so I speak here from personal experience. There are multiple options for you to potentially pursue. You can try topical medications like Minoxidil that you apply daily, and which do work for some percentage of men. I have not tried Minoxidil myself – at least not yet … mostly because I don’t want to have to undertake a daily regimen. There are prescription medications (pills) you can take – such as Propecia. I was taking Propecia for roughly six months … and it does work … but it seemed to interfere with my sex drive. In other words, my libido started to crash and burn – I didn’t want to have sex. I’m not saying this happens to everyone – it is a potential side affect, and I was one of the people who it affected … so I stopped taking it. [All of the hair in the world will do you no good if you don’t want to date!] Propecia was a fairly expensive medication – it was costing me around $240 for a ninety day supply (in the year 2006). [And insurance didn’t cover it because it is considered cosmetic.] So right now, I am not taking anything – I’m letting whatever natural hair challenges I have run their course.
What about hair transplants? These are a valid approach to the problem of baldness – but there are several pluses and minuses to be weighed. My step-mother’s son, Mike, (a different Mike than the one I write about a lot in this site) recently went through the hair transplant process – and he seems to be very happy with the results. The “pluses” are that it uses your own hair – they take individual hairs or small groups of hairs from the portion of your head that has high density hair … and implant those hairs into the balding areas of your scalp. Depending on how much bare scalp we are talking about varies – you could easily have hundreds of implants … but thousands are more likely. Mike looks pretty good – I’ve seen fairly recent photos of him, and the implants have made huge difference in his appearance. And I’m quite sure his new hair has made a very positive impact on his self-confidence and ego.
The down-side (or minuses) of hair transplants are that it is very expensive and also takes time for the transplants to heal and look normal. Mike was not completely bald – he had a bald spot on the top-back of his head, and he was partially bald in the front, and front-top. As I recall, his transplants ran him around $14,000 – and this was in December 2005. So hair transplants are definitely not cheap! They also take a while to look right. What I mean is that Mike’s head looked like it had been in some kind of accident for the first several months – or that he had some kind of disease … as there were tiny bloody dots covering the parts of his scalp where the transplants were performed. This fairly disturbing look faded over time – and went away completely after six or seven months. Now he looks great – but there was definitely a financial price as well as a temporary physical price to be paid. If hair transplants are the solution you seek – be prepared for these costs! [Mike believes it was worth it – if that helps you out any.] For me – it would be tough to endure the six or seven months of having my head look like his did. I mean – I’m fairly self-conscious, and I don’t think I would react real well to all the questions I would get. I also have a fairly public face in terms of what I do for a living – recall that I am a sales manager for a high tech company. In other words - when I go into a meeting with clients, the last thing I would feel like doing is explaining what the hell happened to my head. Would explaining a newly-shaved look be any easier? Probably not. I guess this means that for me – the extreme solutions are not currently an option. You will need to decide what is best for you.
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