i have this bad habit. when i meet someone for the first time (as experienced by some of you), i like to ask: "how old do you think i am?". not wanting to be rude, most people tend give a generous estimate, "30?". i would then tell them my real age (when i meet bloggers, i sometimes also add that i'm the same age as aaron), and then get a kick out of seeing their reactions. i've been told this isn't a nice thing to do. =P
i suffer from androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern baldness. my case is quite severe, and i believe i have never met another 25 year old male with as much hair loss as i have. nevertheless, it has never been of much concern to me. it's genetic (both sides of my family suffer from hair loss), and it doesn't affect me or my life in anyway. certainly, its not something worth hundreds of dollars of treatment over (should i go to Beijing 101 or Yun Nam).
my mother however, believes differently. perhaps anxious (like all mothers) that i am yet unattached at the age of 25 (and hence nowhere close to getting married and giving her a grandchild), she thinks that my lack of hair is seriously affecting my eligibility. [a survey onced found out that 60% of females would not agree to date a balding man] therefore she wants me to get it treated. after a few years of nagging, i finally relented and found myself in the National Skin Centre this morning.
the doctor who saw me was a young, relatively attractive, korean female doctor. the name plate outside the office said she was a "visiting fellow". she said to me, in a thick korean accent, "there are two kinds of treatment, one is a topical hair spray, the other is an oral medication, taken to suppress the effect of androgen on your hair. both treatments are long term. if you stop the treatment, your hair loss will continue. for the oral medication, you will eat a pill a day, until you are about 40 years old."
"wait a minute. does the oral medication suppress androgen, or just the effect of androgen on the hair?"
"well, to put this more academically, there are two different kind of androgen receptors in the body. the ones in your scalp are different from the ones used for sexual functions. there has been studies done on the effects of the oral medication. there were two different groups of people, one group took the medication, and the other group was on a placebo. after the studies we found no significant side-effects of the oral medication, so it SHOULD be safe..." [paraphrased]
the risks some men take for the sake of vanity.
[important: pregnant women should stay away from such androgen suppressants. they risk miscarriage if consumed.]
[a blue version of this post is currently being planned. it may, or may not, be published sometime in the near future]