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As you drag yourself out of bed and into the bathroom to get ready for your day, you notice something different. In the mirror is the same man you’ve seen for years, except his hairline is just a little higher than before. Or is it? Unsure, you scratch the back of your head, only to notice it’s thicker than the hair up top. Whether you’re 20 or 55, you know what this must mean: you’re starting to go bald.
What you might not know is that male pattern baldness, or MPB, is actually a relatively common condition. In fact, many men, about two out of three, will struggle with significant hair loss during the course of their lifetime. You also might not know that, today, there are more ways of coping with balding than ever before. With this in mind, here are three things you need to know about going bald.
1. It Can Be Scary
It needs to be said right away that balding can be a scary process. If you grew up with a full head of hair, losing it can feel like losing a part of yourself. And losing a part of yourself can be a terrifying prospect. Such a change signals a major development in the course of your life. You may experience doubtful thoughts about your age, your body image, and your self-worth.
As with any other major development in life, you can choose fight or flight. That is, you can choose to embrace this new phase of life, or you can choose to ignore it for as long as possible. The bad news about ignoring MPB is that it doesn’t make the problem go away. And, in fact, you may even miss out on time-sensitive ways of fighting hair loss.
For example, these days there are many medications that can curb and even reverse the hair loss associated with MPB. Just compare the different advantages offered by topical finasteride and minoxidil to get a glimpse of what’s possible. Both of these medications have the ability to slow hair loss and improve growth. However, treatments like these tend to work better the sooner you use them. So even though it’s true that experiencing MPB can be emotionally taxing, it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. In fact, medication is just the tip of the iceberg.
2. It Can Be Exciting
As counterintuitive as it may first seem, going bald can actually be an exciting experience. It offers you the opportunity to update your style and explore new ones. As mentioned, there are lots of different ways for you to cope with balding beyond medication. And there are also people who can help you do just that.
For example, did you know that you can find barbers that specialize in styling balding hair? These professionals know how to help you get the most out of what hair you still have. You see, balding generally happens in progressive stages, defined and categorized by The Norwood Scale. And what you can do with your hair depends on its natural composition and what phase of balding you’re in. This kind of specialized barber can help you identify what stage you’re in and suggest a cut that suits you best.
Alternatively, you could commit to the process and shave your head entirely. An entirely bald head can be a bold and powerful look, and embracing it can give you a strong sense of confidence. Or, if you’ve ever wanted curly, straight, or blue hair, now’s your chance! Take advantage of your baldness and explore the extensive selection of wigs out there. While it’s important to acknowledge that balding can be scary, it also heralds the chance for you to explore yourself.
3. It Can Be Revolutionary
Changing your personal style isn’t the only opportunity afforded to you through balding. That’s because significant external changes, like balding, give you a lens you can use to look inward. It can be an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Take this chance to ask yourself questions, perhaps difficult ones, that may change the course of your life.
Ask yourself introspective, probing questions like, “Am I living a fulfilling life?” Take one step further, and ask yourself, “What am I doing that gets in the way of my own happiness?” There’s no one answer to these questions. And the point is not just to discover what those answers might be. The point is to be honest with yourself and explore whether you’re living in the fullness of your truth.
If you’re emotionally struggling with going bald, consider if those feelings originate elsewhere. Sometimes, underlying issues or unresolved emotions can manifest in a person’s response to external changes. Being honest with yourself could mean going to therapy and confronting difficult realities that you’ve been running from. Maybe it means continuing on your current path, as you’re genuinely content with where you are now. Take this opportunity to ask yourself the questions and honestly reflect on how you’re feeling.
You’re Not the Only One
Going bald can be a trying experience. But remember: around two-thirds of men on the planet are going through something similar. And while it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling, know there are more options for coping than ever before.
There are support groups and professionals out there who want to help you. And there’s tons of information online about balding and how to get through it. If you ever feel like you’re in the dark, reach out to someone who can guide you. You may be surprised to find how many people are out there, eager to help.