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Receding hairline and baldness, particularly in men, are universal causes of concern. There are treatments available now, thanks to advanced technology, which can bail you out. Trichologist Dr Apoorva Shah, the official hair care expert for Femina Miss India gives answers to some commonly asked questions about baldness and offers solutions.

 

Why do men go bald?
Baldness is actually a disease. The scientific name for it is androgenetic alopecia. The causitive factor for the disease is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Two per cent of testosterone is converted to DHT which gets attached to the root of the hair and causes diminiaturisation. Diminiaturisation makes the roots of the hair shrink, making the hair thinner. A stage finally comes when the roots become so short it fails to produce a new hair. The root becomes a dead one, there is no regrowth. If baldness has reached an advanced stage, then the patient can opt for hair weaving or transplant.

Can baldness be cured?
No, it cannot be cured, but the process can be slowed down considerably with regular treatment. Patients should go to trichilogists as soon as their hairline starts receding or a bald patch appears.

What is hair weaving?
Hair weaving is like wearing a hair piece. An exogenous hair is tied to the root of the existing hair to give a voluminous look.

What is hair transplant?
In hair transplant, the patient’s own hair is used. Generally, baldness appears as a patch in the middle of the scalp which increases in size gradually or the hairline recedes. But baldness never appears at the back of the head (this is due to the lack of male hormone receptors here). Hair is surgically removed from the back of the head and planted in the balding area. Hair removal from the back of the head is virtually undetectable. The transplanted hair continues to grow like normal hair.

Are these procedures time consuming?
Not at all. Both treatments are over within a day. The sessions are usually over in three-four hours at the most. In case of hair transplant, it takes three to four months for the hair to grow back normally.

Which treatment is more cost effective?
The treatments are of different types. Hair weaving is not a permanent solution. Depending on the number of hair woven, the costs can go up `15,000 to `20, 000. It generally lasts one to two years but the wear and tear can be major factor in decreasing the longivity. Hair transplant is a permanent solution and the costs can go up to ` 1-2 lakh.

Is it painful and are their any side effects?
Patients can feel mild discomfort but there won’t be any pain. There are no side effects. It is advisable that the patients share their medical history with the doctors in case of hair transplant, for instance if you have had hair replacement surgery before, smoking and drinking habits, drugs taken, if any. Risks are almost none if the surgery is performed by a qualified doctor.

Can diet and lifestyle trigger baldness?
Not exactly. Baldness is hereditary and genes are the primary determinants. Male hormones becomes hyperactive under stress. Red meat, red wine also have the same effect. People, who have a family history of baldness, should lessen their intake of such food and drinks. Green tea is a natural DHT blocker. A cup of green tea daily is also helpful. 
So, don’t feel down and out if you spot that menancing, nightmarish bald patch. With some help and proper treatment, you can atleast keep that hair, if not sport a shiny mane.

—As told to Ananya Majumdar

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