Entries in Baldness (3)


Bald Men Seen as More Masculine, Less Attractive?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Forget about the hair plugs -- new research suggests men with thinning hair would do better just shaving it all off.

A new study indicates men who choose to go bald by shaving their heads are perceived as being more masculine, even taller and physically stronger -- although less attractive than men with a full head of hair.

The study included three tests of people’s perceptions of men based on how much hair they had on their heads.  In each test, participants were asked to rate men with hair, shaved heads and naturally thinning hair on how dominant and attractive they appeared.

“The results were consistent across all three studies,” said Albert Mannes, a lecturer at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania who conducted the study.

The results might not be surprising for anybody who has ever seen an action movie: men who shave their heads are perceived as being more dominant and masculine.  Those men were also perceived as being on average one inch taller, and able to bench press 15 more pounds than other men.

They are also, however, seen as less attractive than their counterparts who have a thick head of hair.

Mannes said he has a number of theories as to why this might be the case.

One possibility is that shaved heads are associated with stereotypically masculine professions: the military, police, firefighting, and more recently, professional sports.

Another theory is that Hollywood has had an effect on society’s views of bald men -- as anybody who has seen Bruce Willis, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel or Jason Statham in one of their many action movie roles could attest.

“Take, for instance, Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad.  He went from high school teacher to hardcore drug lord just by shaving his head,” Mannes said.

Yet another possibility is that men who shave their heads are going against the norm of a society that places so much value on beauty, of which hair is a large part.

“It takes a lot of confidence to go the route of baldness, so we think they must be really self-confident,” Mannes told ABC News.

He also points out this could be a largely American phenomenon, noting that in England, shaved heads are more closely associated with skinheads.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baldness Drug's Sexual Side Effects May Be Long-lasting

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Men who take Propecia for baldness may experience sexual side effects that last for months to years, even after they stop taking the drug, a new study published Thursday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests.

Researchers from George Washington University interviewed 54 men under the age of 40 who reported side effects for three months or more after taking Propecia, also called finasteride, to treat their hair loss.  None of the men reported having any sexual, medical or psychiatric problems before they took the drug.

Some of the men took the drug for a few weeks, others took it for years, but all of them reported side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual drive, problems with orgasms, shrinking and painful genitals, even some neurological problems, such as depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.

For 96 percent of the men, the sexual problems lasted for more than a year after they stopped taking the drug.

"Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men," said Dr. Michael Irwig, the author of the study.  "The chances that they will improve?  I think it's lower and lower the longer they have these side effects."

Irwig cautions that it's possible that only men who were the most affected by the drug participated in the study.  Because he recruited his study participants through an online forum called PropeciaHelp, a group for men who have experienced persistent sexual side effects from the drug, he said the study may not have included men who have fewer or less pervasive side effects.

Finasteride works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into a more potent form, called DHT, which contributes to hair loss.  It was originally developed in 1992 by drug giant Merck as a treatment for enlarged prostates and sold as the drug Proscar.

Propecia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997, and at that time Merck noted that a few men reported sexual side effects during clinical trials of the drug.  On its website, the agency said those side effects were resolved when patients stopped taking the drug.

But the agency received more than 400 reports over 13 years from consumers reporting sexual dysfunction, and nearly 60 men reported that those side effects lasted longer than three months after the men stopped the medication.  In 2011, the FDA mandated a label change for Propecia and Proscar, warning that some patients reported erectile dysfunction that lasted after patients stopped taking it; in April, the agency updated the label to include reports of libido, ejaculation and orgasm disorders.

In a statement, Merck said no evidence has proved a causal relationship between Propecia and long-lasting sexual dysfunction.

"Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing," the company wrote in the statement.

But researchers say many physicians who prescribe finasteride are likely not aware that the side effects of the drug may haunt patients for years.

"These things just get handed out left and right for any urinary symptoms," said Dr. Ryan Terlecki, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who has prescribed Proscar for some of his patients with enlarged prostates.

Terlecki said the findings about long-term side effects from the drug are alarming, but more research will likely be needed before doctors can know for sure that the symptoms are completely attributed to the drug.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Hair Tattoos?': Consider the Pros and Cons Before You Commit

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly one-third of men are bald, while nearly 30 million American women are losing some of their hair too.

Good Morning America investigated an innovative new "hair tattoo" treatment that can help hide thinning hair, but what should you know before giving it a try?

First of all, you should know that what you're getting is not really a tattoo.  It's not cosmetic makeup either, although both of those were the jumping-off point for this new invention.

While there may be variations between the treatments offered, the basic process involves getting ink marks inserted just under the skin of your scalp that look like tiny hairs.  By contrast, tattooing uses a heaver gauge needle, injects ink much further under the skin and usually causes bleeding.

Good Look Ink, the company profiled by GMA, calls it "Cosmetic Transdermal Hair Replication."  Other companies call it "Scalp Pigmentation," and still more say "Cosmetic Hair Follicle Replication" or "micro hair technique." So YOU don't call it a "mistake," here are some pros and cons to consider before getting one of these treatments.

What kind of needle do you use?  

Hair replication specialists say regular tattoo needles are too thick to look like realistic hairs, so you don't want that.  They say finer cosmetic makeup needles are more appropriate for hair treatments.  But there is one critical detail: they say the needle should not be perfectly round.  Hair follicles, when magnified, are actually jagged, irregular.  Ideally the needle used to mark your scalp will mimic that.  And, of course, make sure the facility uses brand-new needles on each customer.

What kind of ink do you use?

You know how old tattoos often have that blue look to them?  You definitely don't want that on your head!  So make sure the facility providing your hair replication service doesn't use ordinary tattoo ink.   Apparently, cosmetic makeup ink isn't quite right either because it can fade.  Ask whether the facility uses an ink formulated just for the scalp.  We found they are hesitant to talk about it, perhaps for competitive reasons.   But you'll at least want to make sure the ink is safe for use on your head.  Ask if there is a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) that you can read about the ink. Look for a facility that blends a custom color to match your natural hair or a place that has a huge array of colors to choose from, so you can find a good match.  And keep in mind, the process of replicating hair with ink is new, so few have seen the long-term results of how it holds up.  Some companies say the ink can fade and customers may have to undergo a re-treatment a few years later.

Can I see the results on somebody else before undergoing treatment?

In the era of Photoshop, you shouldn't trust before and after pictures alone.  The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer watchdog, has caught weight loss companies doctoring "after" photos, so it can happen.  Insist on seeing the results in person -- and don't be shy, get a nice close-up look.  Ideally you'll be able to see more than one past client and at least one of those people should have the same type of hair loss that you have.

Can I grow my hair out later?  

For men, if you have the classic horseshoe of hair left, growing it out would look truly strange since the simulated hairs in your bald spot would not grow.  Guys, don't go for this treatment unless you are ready to commit to the buzzed hairstyle.  Since this procedure is used to mask thinning hair in women, growing it out shouldn't be an issue for the ladies.

How do you find a natural-looking hairline?  

This is the most crucial aspect of the treatment.  If the hairline is too low on the forehead it can look awful.  For that reason, it's best to start with a conservative hairline.  You can always add more.  It's much easier to add than subtract.  The ink can be removed, typically with a laser, but it is very difficult and can be painful.  It's best to consider it a permanent look.  Many men have just enough peach fuzz left on their heads to trace an appropriate hairline.  Also make sure you choose a hairline appropriate for your age.  Even men without male pattern baldness tend to see some natural rescission of their hair near their temples as they age.  Women's hair loss is usually diffuse or concentrated on top of the head, at the part, so determining where to place the ink marks is easier.

What if I lose more hair?

Ask the treatment facility about this.  Ideally, they will blend your simulated hair with your real hair by fading the ink marks into your hair.  That way, if you lose more hair there will already be simulated hairs there for camouflage.  Ask whether there is any problem with getting an additional treatment later, if needed.

What if I want my hairline to recede naturally as I age?  

That is a definite challenge of this treatment.  For that reason, it's smart to start out with a conservative new hairline.  You can always go back for a re-treatment, if you want the hair to come further down your forehead.  But once you commit, that's likely to be your look for life.

What will I do when my natural hair starts to go gray?

Some hair replication companies say this is not an issue for men who wear their hair close-cropped or for women, who often color their hair.  But the truth is, the procedure has not been around long enough for people to really know how it will wear and how it will blend with graying hairs.  Some companies say they can re-treat your scalp with a gray pigment.  If you think you will want to go naturally gray someday, ask plenty of questions about this issue.

Can hair replication be combined with other baldness solutions?

Advocates of this treatment say they like it because it can be used to camouflage scars from hair transplant operations.  It can also camouflage alopecia in which people sometimes lose distinct patches of hair.  They also note that men who have been wearing a hairpiece for years can now get rid of it without having to admit they wore it in the first place!  Ideally, it will just look like a guy has now chosen to buzz off his hair.

Is sun exposure a problem?

Yes, it can be.  Centers that provide this treatment say UV rays can affect the ink.  They urge customers to wear sunscreen or a hat if they will be in the sun for a long time.  And since nobody knows how the ink holds up over decades, this is an issue to consider carefully.

Is it safe?

Since the procedure is so new, there's not much, if any, data on whether people have suffered side effects.  So the best option is to compare this hair replication procedure to its closest relatives, permanent makeup and tattooing.  The two main health concerns with those are the cleanliness of the needles and the possibility that you could have an allergic reaction to the ink used.  Ask the facility if they use brand-new needles on each client.  It's also a good idea to get a small patch test on an inconspicuous part of your scalp, before going in for the full treatment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio