Facts and fables about baldness

We lose between 50 and 100 hairs every day. That is not a problem because the hair follicle usually grows a new hair. This can be done up to 25 times, after which the bag is ‘finished’. When enough hair follicles stop producing new hair, you become bald. Many people dread the moment when the scalp becomes visible under a thinning head of hair. For a long time nothing could be done about it. In this article facts and fables about baldness. Both men and women go bald. Approximately 50 percent of 50-year-old men are bald, and 70 percent of 70-year-old men. Women also go bald more often than is generally thought. After menopause, approximately 40 percent of women become bald. The main cause is the genes. How do you become bald, when and what can you do about it?

Fact 1: baldness is largely hereditary

If both grandfathers were bald at the age of twenty, then it is almost certain that the grandson will also be bald. Baldness can skip a generation, sometimes even several. It is the most common form of baldness in men; androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.

Fact 2: Going bald is no longer necessary

For a long time, baldness was something you had to learn to live with. The only alternative was a toupee or wig. But now there are medicines against balding that are available with a medical prescription. For men, this concerns finasteride and dutasteride. They stop the process of hereditary baldness and also make the hair fuller. Women should not use these drugs for several reasons. For example, the medicines are harmful to the unborn child. For them there is the less strong cyproterone that slows down hair loss. It is important to start swallowing on time. The remedies only work before baldness starts, because hair once lost does not return. Not even with these medications.

Fact 3: hair transplant is the only permanent solution against baldness

In hair stem cell transplantation, the newest method of hair transplantation, hair stem cells and a hair follicle are transplanted together to a bald spot. A new hair then grows there. The results are good and lasting, but the treatment is also expensive. It is usually not reimbursed by the health insurer.

Fact 4: stress can cause -temporary- baldness

In the worst case, stress can cause temporary hair loss. Alopecia areata is the most common. This form of baldness causes bald spots on your head. The hair then falls out one section at a time. The hair almost always returns after a few months.
Stress can increase the process of hereditary balding. However, it is never the cause of hereditary baldness.

Doubtful: effective remedies can be purchased at the drugstore

Minoxidil lotion is the best-known remedy for hair loss. It works, but the effect usually does not last. All other remedies that claim to prevent baldness have not been proven to work.

Myth 1: Baldness only affects men

In men it is more common and often more visible. For example, men develop indentations and a balding crown. But baldness is also common in women. Of women under 40, 15 percent have some form of baldness. At a later age, after menopause, this even rises to 40 percent.

Myth 2: a covered head makes you bald

It is nonsense to think that wearing a headgear will make you bald. Research has never been able to prove this. In the past, a man wore a hat or cap and a woman wore a hat or scarf, but they did not become balder than they are now.

Myth 3: If you still have your hair at forty, you will no longer go bald

The pattern of the balding process cannot be predicted. Heredity predicts quite accurately whether you will become bald, but not at what age. Anyone who still has a full head of hair at the age of forty may be bald ten years later.

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