“I’m seeing a few hundred hairs in the shower drain every day. I really don’t think I am balding, but I came to ses you because I wanted to be sure that if I was balding, you could transplant my hair and keep it looking good.”
This comment reflected the comments, one way or the other, of many men who visit me, but this particular day, this 26 year old actor who just finished his first role in a major movie came to me with the above comment. He looked like a typical hairy 26 year old male and I thought that after I measured his hair bulk, that I would reassure him that he was not balding. Much to my surprise, the numbers from the tests surprised me but shock him. The tests indicated that he already lost 50% of his hair bulk in the front of his head just behind his hairline, and 40% in the top (between his ears) and crown (back) of his head. He came apart emotionally. “This can’t happen to me”, he said. “I am going to hit it big time in Hollywood, I have an interview coming up for my second film, now a leading man, and I just can’t go bald”.
I tried to calm him down. At 26, he could go on the drug finasteride and probably stop most of his hair loss, so that was the ‘good news’ I told him. But despite my reassurance, he had difficulty letting go of the idea that his career was going to be ruined. “They won’t take me on if they knew”, he said. Again, I tried to reassure him that the drug might very well buy him years on keeping his hair, but he would not, could not focus on what I said. Over and over again he said “It over, my life is over”.
Hair loss is devastating for many young men and they don’t have to be heading to the top of the Hollywood scene to feel the way this man did. Although the drug often turns out to be effective in 26 year old men, the reality is that some day he will have to face balding. Although preventive hair transplants are a terrible and improper decision for him now, if and when he starts losing his hair, this may become an option. He left very unhappy and even unwilling to consider taking the drug finasteride. I asked him to return to see me, but he was from out-of-town and not easily accessible, but I called him a week later anyway and he promised to see me in 4 months on his return to Los Angeles. I wonder if he will deny what I told him or if he will think this matter through and make the logical decision to try to slow down the balding process and fill the prescription I gave him.