Place: A doctor's clinic
51 patients have been checked and 17 are still waiting. It is 3 pm on Saturday at trichologist Apurva Shah‘s clinic. But Dr Shah is not at all pleased by this steady flow of patients. It is, in fact, annoying him how the young men of this city are losing their crowning glory before they could blow off their thirtieth candle.
"Earlier, I used to get middle-aged patients, mostly over 45. But a sizeable number now are in their 20s and 30s seeking hair restoration surgery. It is not that baldness or thinning of hair on the crown is only male-specific, but out of 10 patients 8 happen to be men.”
The majority of hair loss cases fall into the male (androgenetic) or female(pseudo androgenetic). A typical hair loss condition among youngsters is characterised by diffused hair shedding. It is a reactive process caused by a metabolic condition or hormonal stress or by excessive medications. Generally, the recovery is spontaneous, occurring within six months.
However, the vast (pseudo androgenetic) pattern baldness is caused by the effect of the hormone that leads to gradual and progressive hair loss. While medication like minoxidil does help, hair transplants or hair restoration surgeries are now the norm.
The reasons men lose their hair can be many. First and foremost, it is the lifestyle that is ‘Butchering ‘the hair, says Dr Naresh Patwardhan, President of Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons of India. Iron deficiency, lack of sunlight (vitamin D-3), stress, irregular diets, hormonal changes and related diseases like thyroid and diabetes are often the culprits.
Professions also play key roles as, out of 100 patients, at least 30 are from the IT industry and are aged between 25 and 35 years, says Patwardhan. Others are mostly from corporate and media businesses.
Losing one's hair not only affects one's looks but it also has emotional side effects.” A bald patch can play havoc with someone's confidence, says Swapnil Joshi, actor. "I'll almost lose my sleep if I see my hair thinning."
And that is the reason there are ‘hair growth clinics' mushrooming all across the city. Switch on the TV and you can see various ads screaming ‘guaranteed solutions' for hair loss, at a hefty cost, of course. Dr Apurva Shah warns against such claims as “hair once gone, never comes back“, he claims.The only way to save your crowning glory is by following the ‘prevention is better than cure’ dictum. Stay away from chemicals, follow a healthy diet of protein and antioxidants like fruits, flaxseeds, fish and brown rice. But once you start losing hair rapidly, follow one of these treatments under doctors' supervision.
FUT or follicular unit transplant - A small strip of hair bearing scalp is removed from the back and side of the head and this hair usually grows throughout a lifetime.
Another popular technique is the follicular unit extraction (FUE). In this, a small round punch is used to extract follicular units from a patient’s bald resistant donor areas one at a time. These 1, 2, 3 and 4 groupings (called follicular unit grafts) are then transplanted into a patient’s balding areas.
It may cost INR 80/100 per graft in the FUE technique method while the Strip (FUT) method may cost INR 80,000 onwards but the young lads don’t seem hesitant shelling big bucks for their mop of hair.
Also, there are some like Dr Rajesh Rajput who use combined antioxidants like iron, calcium, zinc, amino acids and Vitamins E, D and C with minoxidil and finasteride to control hair loss, reverse miniaturisation and achieve new hair growth within two to four months.
Vanity is not only a woman’s prerogative it seems. Men get equally conscious about their looks and hair plays an important role in this. After all, if men don’t want a ‘dark skinned’ bride then today's women also abhor the idea of marrying a ‘baldie'. After all, everyone can not get lucky like the Rock or Vin Diesel to flaunt their shining bald pate and still get girls swooning over.
The rest of us have to make rounds of trichologists and empty their pockets to restore their glory. Such is modern life!