Yes, that's the author.  It's much worse from the side.

Dude, Where’s My Hair?

Yes, that’s the author. It’s much worse from the side.

Many people have written about this topic, but they have failed to capture and express the devastating effects this disease has on the psyche of young men.  Although I usually write about Korea and travel related topics, I feel this is a topic that needs to be addressed.  People who suffer from early hair loss need to know that they are not alone and everyone else needs to understand how emotionally crippling this disease is for young men.  In fact, there is nothing in the world that makes young men feel more helpless, deficient, shameful, embarrassed, unattractive, unwanted, angry, or afraid.  By an unfortunate lottery, these men feel like natural failures and often withdraw to being shells of their former selves because their external appearance no longer represents how they internally know they should feel about themselves.

The two biggest signs of early aging for men are weight-gain and hair loss.  To a large extent, they can improve their bodies through proper nutrition and exercise.  Perhaps they are not genetically disposed to have six-packs(even if under 12% body fat), but they can improve their appearance.  On the other hand, very little can be done about hair loss.  In essence, this is why it is so debilitating.  Young men know they are strong and full of vitality, yet they are powerless in the face of hair loss.  They find their appearance reflects a version of themselves that is five to fifteen years older than their actual age.  The perception people form of them is drastically altered due to the few measly inches of recession in the front of their hairline.

Hair loss cannot be ignored.  We look at our face and hair every morning as we get ready for work or school.   Those who suffer from early hair loss watch a gradual recession of their hairline or watch in horror as 50 to 100 hairs fall off of their head every time they take a shower or brush their hair.  Other people can try to tell hair loss sufferers to remain positive, but they’ve never experienced what it feels like to watch years of their youth vanish in sheer moments.  When hair loss sufferers run their hands through their hair, their confidence is not affirmed by enjoying the feel of a full grasp of hair and vitality.   Instead, it is replaced by the shock of grasping for thin strands of hair or the feel of smooth bald spots that Hollywood led them to believe only existed for villains and old men.

Imagine the horror these young men feel when a woman they care about tries to rub her hand through his vulnerable hair or removes a hat she thinks he’s wearing to be stylish.  Imagine the horror of being invited to go to the beach with friends and knowing the addition of water to your head will reveal bald spots and thinning areas that are hidden when your hair is dry.  Imagine avoiding nicer clubs, restaurants and upscale venues in favor of casual establishments because you know you are more attractive in places that allow you to wear a hat.   These men try to remain positive, but hair loss is not something they can ignore or escape.  Every time they look in the mirror or touch their hair, their hair loss reminds them that their most beautiful and attractive days are already forgotten in the past.  They become obsessed  and look at their hair every day to try to judge if their condition is worsening, improving, or staying the same.  I believe this is acceptable for a thirty year old.  However, a nineteen year old should not endure being emasculated before his time.

The hopelessness for these men is only exacerbated because there are no role models or positive examples in our culture for premature hair loss.   Sure, there are people like Bruce Willis, the Rock, and Jason Statham.  However, their hair loss occurred later in life.  We have all witnessed the exploitative Hair Loss for Men commercials.  However, instead of sending a message of how to be comfortable with who you are, these commercials show grown men crying to their mothers about being follicly challenged.  What makes it worse is most of these men are in their thirties or forties.  How does that make a seventeen year old feel about himself before he leaves for college or has to take pictures for his senior prom?

The biggest badass rocking a bald head.

The one hope this author directed his attention to was Wayne Rooney.  Rooney is a star football player for Manchester United who suffered from an advanced stage of male pattern baldness at an early age.  Despite his vulnerable hairline, he succeeded in football, became a popular celebrity, and married a beautiful woman.  He weathered criticism about his athleticism, attitude, work ethic, social life and physical appearance for years.  Despite all the criticism he overcame, this tough, gritty English football star succumbed to the psychological trauma and social stigma of hair loss.  He underwent an expensive hair transplant surgery (25,000 pounds) last summer.  His example does not illustrate how a young man should deal with hair loss; it illustrates how difficult it is for young men to deal with hair loss.  Most young men are not wealthy, famous football stars with a beautiful wife.   Most are poor and searching for someone to love them for who they are.  However, just like Wayne Rooney, their confidence is shaken by what they see.  No matter what opinion a woman has about a man’s hairline, a man with declining confidence will be universally unattractive.

Wayne Rooney before and After hair transplant.

With a few short paragraphs, I hope I’ve painted a picture of how damaging hair loss can be to the self esteem and confidence of men.  There hasn’t been a day in the last ten years where I have not thought about my own hair loss.  I often get angry at men who are unattractive because they are too lazy to eat right, exercise, purchase matching clothes, or develop likeable and honest personalities.  I get angry and jealous when I look at my 65 year old father who has a much better head of hair than I do.  I get upset because I can’t style my hair or make it look nice.  I can’t embrace my baldness because my family and friends tell me I look horrible when I shave my head.  Unfortunately, they don’t understand that I feel fake by growing and styling my hair in such a way to minimize the appearance of my hair loss.  Did I mention my forehead is ridiculously big and I’m fairly short.  The worst part is, I often can’t pursue the women I love because I feel inadequate.  A lot of people will tell me hair loss should never cause these feelings, but I’m just being honest with you… it does.

I’ve been fortunate to have a few beautiful and wonderful woman love me and find me attractive despite my shiny head.  Life is not over because you lose hair early and it should not revolve around how you look.  Additionally, young men now have good options for preventing hair loss.  The key is to be proactive.  I visited a dermatologist when I was 17 and he provided me with awful information and told me my only hope was a hair transplant.  I would be in a much better position had I received proper information about hair loss and available treatments.  In part two, I will provide useful information on hair loss treatments and share the best sites and forums for both information and support.  For now, if you suffer from hair loss please know that you’re not alone and I understand exactly how you feel.  For everyone else, I hope you are a little more aware of how these courageous men are every time they do simple things like jump in a pool or rock their receding hairlines with pride to the best bars in town on a Friday night.  There are no clothes, make up, or tricks to hide their insecurity.  They embrace their insecurities simply by introducing themselves and saying “hello.”

Dude Where’s my Hair? Part 2. 

11 thoughts on “Dude, Where’s My Hair?

  1. I know how you feel man, as I am the same as you. I’ve personally thought about doing the whole hair transplant thing myself, but then as I did some research, hair transplant can fall off as well. I have myself to blame for most part, not getting enough sleep, smoking, and the way I ate, definitely contributed to speed of my hairloss. (Though there are people who does worse than me, and still have beautiful hair… hate them, envy them, whatever we will…… those lucky bastards hehe)

    My option: lose weight, build a great body, and shave my head shiny bald…(When I get close to your stage). 힘내~~!


    1. Cypher, you should really read part 2. There is no reason for you to lose any more hair if you take Propecia. It’s FDA approved and maintains or increases hair in about 80-90% of men who take it. Smoking and sleep loss contributes very little to your hair loss if you have a pattern of recession at the temples.


  2. Hey Brent. Thanks for writing. I never understood what it was like for a man dealing with alopecia, so this definitely gave others and myself some helpful insight. Many of us have features that others rarely notice or care about, but that we despise because without proper funds we will never be able to improve that particular area. My personal insecurity is my chest size. It makes a girl feel half as feminine if she doesn’t have an adequate bustline. It’s an area on girls that people have no trouble poking fun at. It’s a personal issue but people feel that it’s their business of whether a girl’s tits are real or fake. It’s definitely an insecurity I’ve dealt with since puberty, but at least back then I could have the hope that they would grow in one day. Well they haven’t really. I hate myself in a swimsuit and clothes. Getting undressed in front of others takes a lot of courage to muster. Well, I’m tired of feeling that way so this winter I’m planning on going through with a breast augmentation procedure. Maybe it’s just a personal issue and others could care less about what size bra I wear, but there’s no opinion of me out there that is more important than te one I have for myself. I think you actually look very attractive Brent, but I guess what I’m trying to convey is that I understand the personal battle to some degree. Sometimes we can’t accept ourselves the way we are on the outside enough to allow our true selves to show from the inside. I think all our friends could attest for you that this is not the case. Without your hair, I’ve gotten to know a warmhearted, friendly, and deeply philosophical guy who’d rather spend his weekends laughing in good company. Maybe get some breakdancing in too 🙂 I hope that you can come to a solution for yourself. There are options for hair loss and yes I know they are expensive, but I think you can raise the funds if it’s what you really want. From the girlfriend of a bald man, I can tell you that there are definitely women out there who find baldness attractive. I know I do, and Charles wonders why. I guess there’s a distinctive classic look to it that I enjoy. Also, I actually rather liked when your hair was shaved short. Anyway, I love you no matter what Brent, and as my grandma would say, baby you’d look good in a burlap sack.


    1. Jessa-Thank you. That was awesome. I wrote this specifically to help younger men dealing with hair loss but I think your response will help more men than what I wrote. We really struggle dealing with if beautiful women will ever accept us and it’s so nice to hear one speak out and say what you did. My mother was always right when she told me the most important person’s opinion about myself is my own. It’s amazing how a million compliments from other people cannot budge how we feel about ourselves. Our thoughts are powerful and if an ill-conceived procedure is what it takes to change our thought process than I agree with you that it’s worth it. You know I think you’re gorgeous but more importantly you have a wonderful heart. Tell Charles I fell in love with his bald head after reading his blog about Catch 22 last year. As always, stay in touch!


  3. I’m going through the hair loss thing now, and it started when I was 25. I’m 35 now, and living in Korea for almost three years. Age 31-35 has had a significant amount of hair loss. Years ago I decided I’m fine with it. I’m too freaked out by surgeries, treatments and whatnot to re-grow hair. 95% of the time: if your mother’s father is bald, and you are a man, then you will be the same as him. And that’s the case with me. I’m not ready to be a shaved bald guy yet (like my buddy Steve, youtube’s “QiRanger”), but I do cut it pretty short. What’s silly to me are the bald/badling guys who grow their hair long or the older guys still doing the comb-over. Get real, just cut it short. Forget about the hair already, it’s gone!


  4. It’s the 21 century…you don’t have to be bald…the only way you will get your hair back is hair transplant surgery…propecia and minoxidil and the laser comb will not work…it’s all snake oil…find yourself a good hair transplant doctor and get your hair back. It’s the only thing that will work.


    1. Laser Combs at the time do appear to be snake oil. However, minoxidil and Propecia are FDA approved for hair loss. Propecia has been reported to stop or slow hair loss in 90% of men. While hair transplants work, they are expensive and out of several people’s price range. Additionally, they depend on donor areas and the severity of balding. It’s far more effective to prevent balding than to replace hair through transplants. Your views are oversimplified. Hair transplants carry certain risks as well. Most people will need more than one to get the desired appearance and density for a natural look. It maybe the 21st century, but we have not cured baldness- not by a long shot.


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