Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Men’s health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive

Going bald

Bald men often feel ashamed and inferior. Here’s how to cope with it.
By Tom Valeo
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Sitting in my secondary school biology class, listening to the teacher talk about genetics, I snapped to attention when she used male pattern baldness as an example of a dominant trait. My heart started pounding with fear - with bald men on both sides of my mother's family, I was doomed to thinning hair.

I remained anguished about the prospect of being bald for the next 20 years as my hairline retreated and my hair steadily thinned. I tried to disguise my own condition by keeping my hair clean and fluffed with a hair dryer. That hardly qualified as a treatment for baldness, but no other options seemed viable. I recoiled from the cost and the upkeep of a hairpiece. Treatments I tried didn’t seem to work very well. Hair plugs looked awful, one man I met looked as if he had been burned several times on the top of his head with a cigarette and each spot had sprouted a tuft of hair.

Then, when I was in my mid-30s, I suddenly stopped caring about being bald. I felt as though someone had flipped a switch inside me that turned off the shame I felt about losing my hair, and I never worried about it again.

But why do bald men feel shame? How did I overcome the shame, embarrassment, and dread that baldness once inspired in me? Even more importantly, how can other men achieve the same blissful indifference to their own hair loss?

Going bald: Understanding the symbolism of hair

Men often mostly dread being bald because they think they will no longer be attractive to potential sexual partners, but the horror men feel at the prospect of going bald goes beyond mere fear of not being attractive to women, according to psychotherapist Gershen Kaufman. It also involves deep shame, which he defines as the emotional response to feeling inferior.

"Just about everybody experiences extensive body shame", says Kaufman. "I don't believe I've ever met a human being who has not experienced some degree of shame about his or her body no matter how much it seems to match the ideal. There's always something wrong with the body".

Next Article:

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets for beautiful hair
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
nappy being changed
How to change your baby's nappy
woman using moisturizer
Causes and home solutions
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
woman with cucumbers on eyes
How to banish dark circles and bags
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting