Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 48, Tuesday, December 13, 2011





“You don't know what you've got until you say goodbye.”

I'm sure you've heard the phrase before. It usually slots in well in the context of a broken heart, how the hero is going to miss her now that she's gone. That's the surface meaning, though. This line, sung, written or spoken by men is really a dirge to the hair that has begun to desert them.

Male pattern baldness is a curse, an early reminder to men that they are indeed mortal; for what is the loss of hair but our first dalliance with death?

I, sadly, fall in that category. I am not known to be a jealous person, but now I feel royally offended when I see men older than me with a full head of hair. It drives me insane and makes me rack my brains to figure out who I have harmed, which puppy I have mangled, which cat I have deep-fried to have deserved this. But alas, this is our lot. Men with heads full of hair are the exceptions. Don't correct me if I am wrong; that is the one straw that helps me sleep at night.

So, back to the starting quote. Yes, men with diminishing hairlines do know what they are saying goodbye to. I haven't given a monkey's about my hair all my life. Now, it is the most precious commodity -- take my wallet, even my mobile, but do not touch my hair! Part of being men, in other words... ahem … the stronger sex, is having an in-built power to deny and defy the obvious. People tell me that I have one year left; people with experience, i.e. a shiny dome on top. But I don't believe a word of it.

I have very specific plans for my rooftop thatch, receding though it may be. I have cut it short, and am clinging to the belief that with all sorts of measures --, changes in eating habits, using shampoos and conditioners, "mehendi" with coconut oil and tea leaves, etcetera ad infinitum -- I will suddenly re-grow my hair and have a mane the likes of Patrick Dempsey's, or Shahid Afridi's. Look what this does to us, I am not supposed to be jealous of Shahid Afridi, the man who bites cricket balls, much less know about Dempsey's hair and "mehendi" with coconut oil and tea leaves!

Which brings me to the second part of my rant, and in fact the title number. Barbers! Oh, they know vulnerability when they see it, they do. Their line of work trains them to see the slightest sign of recession, and they get to work on you long before you know you have a problem. I've been going to the same place for the last fifteen years; nice, clean, and they used to have a TV before they moved.

They have these woefully overpriced hair treatments, and for the last five years, during every visit I have been hounded by phrases like “Brother, just let me shampoo it and you will know the difference”, “Boss, there is this new hair product, just let us treat you with it for a month, and you'll never have to worry”. I, of course, steadfastly refused, partly because I didn't care much for hair till very recently, and partly because, you know, I don't particularly fancy haemorrhaging the green stuff.

About two or three months ago, when I was already acutely aware of my problem, a barber said to me, “Look at your hair now; there was a time when I couldn't run my fingers through it without getting them caught in your strands. Now it's so sparse.” That was the last straw. I turned around and told the guy that I never had hair like that, it was always bad, now just a lot more so. It's bad enough that it's going, you don't have to make it worse by saying it was once so much better. In my case, there were no boom years, just the current recession.

Of course, I said all this politely, and every other offer of 'magic' hair treatment I turned down as gently. Why don't we just tell them off, you ask? Hah! You must be a woman. You see, the really good part of going to a barber is the shave. Tilting our heads back, not a care in the world, and fifteen minutes later looking at a well-groomed face in the mirror is oddly gratifying. The reason we are polite is that during this luxury, the manic critters we call barbers are wielding razors -- no, only the word 'khur' does these obscenely dangerous tools justice -- sharper than the kitchen knives you slice onions with, at our throats. No more need be said.

So why do we keep going to the same places? Because we are men, and idiocy is an existential hazard. That is probably why the hair on our heads have such a commitment problem.



Huge Sale @ Aarong

Time to get ready and rush to Aarong's Huge Sale to enjoy some of the best offers you can ever get. To delight their loyal customers, for the very first time Aarong brings unbelievable offers on shalwar kameez sets, saris, panjabis, children's wear, unstiched dress fabrics and leather products like bags, shoes to keep everyday living stylish. Starting from December 9 this sale will be on till December 31, 2011 at all Aarong outlets across the country. So, drop by at any Aarong outlet to make the most of it!


Hair restoration treatment II

M.B.B.S, D.L.O ENT, Head-Neck
& Cosmetic Surgeon,
Phone: 01199845531

Now that we have discussed basic hair care, we will focus on health conditions that can lead to hair loss. The most common cause that I find in my patients, especially young ones, is dietary anomaly.

I am saying anomaly as I find many of my patients following unusual diets that are totally illogical and quite harmful. Too much or too less of anything is bad. We should make sure that our diets contain food from all food groups.

Some women start losing hair after pregnancy and while breastfeeding but the hair re-grows after following an adequate diet. Also, when patients are suffering from some chronic disease, taking medication can lead to hair loss. Then there are cases of hormonal insufficiency, which may lead to baldness.

In females, during the premenopausal and menopausal stage there is imbalance in estrogen/progesterone as well as testosterone levels. This leads to hair fall especially in the frontal area of scalp. Proper evaluation is needed before starting treatment in such cases.

In young, male adults we find a lot of cases with hair loss leading to baldness of the vertex area. This is mainly due to presence of DHT receptors on the follicles of the frontal part of scalp. The release of the hormone testosterone causes this kind of hair fall.

Hair transplant is a procedure where hair follicles are implanted into the bald areas and these grow as normal, natural hair. Follicular unit transplant is the latest recognised procedure for hair replacement all over the world. It can be done on both males and females as needed.

The scalp is divided into two areas -- the frontal is known as the temporary zone, hair on this part may fall off due to the presence of DHT receptors in young male adults and premenopausal women. The area on the back is considered permanent zone as these are devoid of these receptors, and hair from this area does not fall off.

In hair transplant surgery, donor hair is taken from the back of the scalp. A strip of hair is taken from the back of the scalp and hair follicles are cut out and preserved in normal saline. This is done under magnification and takes about 2-3 hours. Then these follicles are implanted one by one under magnification into the recipient area. It usually takes 5-6 hours to complete the surgery. It is done under local anesthesia.

The implanted hair starts growing 3-5 months after the surgery. The patient is examined properly before the surgery and the full procedure explained. As the hair, which is implanted, is taken from the permanent zone this does not fall off and lasts for life. This is a very safe and effective treatment for baldness. There are no complications of the surgery.

Hair transplant surgery is a very popular procedure done worldwide and there are many web sites on this topic. We should remember that a balanced diet with a good routine to keep our hair and scalp clean is the first and most important way to take care of our valued locks.


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