Let me start with a basic assertion; male pattern baldness is no fun.
In fact, I know from experience that it places a huge strain on the male psyche, causing debilitating symptoms such as anxiety, depression and dwindling levels of self-esteem.
I also became increasingly desperate when I first begun to lose my own hair at the tender age of 17, as I invested my time and money into a number of hairbrained and ultimately futile attempts to restore my flowing locks.
I’m here to say that male pattern baldness is an irreversible process, and one that you must embrace and tackle head-on if you’re to restore your confidence.
I chose to do this by taking control of my destiny and shaving my head completely bald, which helped me to heed a number of interesting lessons.
Here’s what I learned:
If you’re not familiar with male pattern baldness, this is a genetic condition that progresses over time. It’s also increasingly common in the UK, with an estimated two-thirds of all males likely to experience this at some point in their lives.
As I can testify, the process may also start during your teenage years, initially causing the hairline to recede while the hair around your crown starts to thin.
Interestingly, the early stages of male pattern baldness can cause your appearance to age, as it’s only natural to associate receding and thinning hair with growing older.
Conversely, both men and women correlate baldness with strength and virility, and these attributes are typically synonymous with younger males.
Before I finally decided to shave my head, I’d reached a crossroads in my battle with male pattern baldness. After all, the regression of my hairline was becoming too noticeable to disguise, while I had exhausted almost every viable treatment option to little or no effect.
Even then, shaving my head felt like a desperate measure, while the mere idea of being completely bald made me feel exposed and vulnerable. It therefore took a huge amount of courage to finally take the plunge, as I decided to accept my reality and embrace a bold, new look.
They say that courage comes in many forms, and this is something that I definitely associated with once my head had been shaved.
In this instance, it was not the physical act of shaving my head that was courageous, but the willingness to take a difficult decision and build towards a more positive future.
With courage comes great rewards, and this was certainly the case when I decided to shave my head completely bald.
Looking back, this was the single most empowering moment of life, as not only did it lift a weight off my shoulders (quite literally) but it also helped to take back control of my life and restore my ailing confidence.
Shaving your head can be empowering in more ways than one, with studies suggesting that bald males are perceived as more dominant, more masculine and ultimately better suited for advanced leadership roles.
From my own experience, I’ve certainly noticed that people treat me slightly differently with a bald head, and it certainly hasn’t harmed my career progression or ability to accomplish professional goals.
This may have something to do with the increased confidence and sense of empowerment that you feel after shaving your head, particularly if you’ve previously suffered with male pattern baldness. Regardless of this, however, there seems little doubt that the subconscious perception of bald men enables guys like us to thrive in the workplace!
From a purely physical perspective, I’ve also learned that shaving your head completely makes your upper body appear far more muscular than it otherwise would.
This does not mean that you can stop going to the gym if you choose to shave your head, of course, but it’s an interesting consideration and one that hints at why professional bodybuilders often adopt a bald look prior to competing.
So how exactly does this work? In simple terms, going completely bald reduces the overall size of your head, and this instantly makes your upper body look bigger than it is. This basic rule is most relevant to the shoulders, traps and upper chest muscles, which are typically among the hardest to train and hone due to the location of androgen receptors.
This principle has been applied to body hair for generations, so it’s interesting to note that shaving your head can also contribute to a more muscular and athletic look.
The link between head hair follicles and those on your face has been studied at length, but there’s absolutely no correlation between your decision to grow facial hair and the onset of male pattern baldness.
In fact, the heightened sensitivity to testosterone that contributes to male pattern baldness can also lead to increased facial hair growth, which is just one of the reasons why a shaved head and a beard represents such a popular look.
I’ve certainly grown to appreciate the popular beard and bald head combination, which I think restores balance to your face shape and diverts attention away from your scalp. Similarly, your beard can be groomed to enhance your unique facial features, with sharp, angular lines contrasting sharply with the arc of the scalp and creating a genuinely striking aesthetic.
This has been one of the most eye-opening aspects of shaving my head completely bald, as I’d never really considered growing a beard before I started to lose my hair.
If you’re suffering with male pattern baldness, it seems to suggest that shaving your head represents the best possible solution. After all, a bald head is arguably the very thing that you’re trying to avoid, while it’s also the type of stark and extreme look that makes most people baulk.
Not only does shaving your head negate the progressive nature of male pattern baldness and create a genuine sense of empowerment, however, but it also teaches you a great deal about yourself and how you’re actually perceived by others.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that shaving your head remains the single most effective way to tackle male pattern baldness and restore any confidence that you may have lost!