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The Bald Facts

Worried your hair is looking a little thinner? MAXIM chats to world-leading dermatologist, Professor Rod Sinclair, to discuss the facts about baldness and the revolutionary new pill that may put an end to hair loss forever…

We’ve all been there: admiring our grand mop on top in the mirror. Then the questions come. Has my hairline moved back a bit? Am I losing my hair? According to Professor Rod Sinclair, of Sinclair Dermatology in Melbourne, everyone will experience some level of hair loss in their lives. “There’s not a 60-year-old on the planet who has hair like a 16-year-old,” he tells us. “It’s the age at which it begins, how rapidly it occurs, and how much you ultimately lose, but everyone is losing hair.”
Although we’ll all undergo a degree of thinning at some point, Sinclair is quick to stress that the days of inevitably going bald are over. “We now live in an era where you don’t have to go bald. We’ve got a whole range of treatment options available that can put a handbrake on it completely and also partially regrow your hair.” Whether it’s male pattern baldness or hair loss related to an underlying autoimmune disorder, such as alopecia areata (in which hair falls out in patches), the doctors at Sinclair Dermatology are at the cutting edge of treatment and prevention.
The largest clinic of its kind in Australia, the centre has completed over 100 clinical trials and offers treatment options ranging from medication to hair transplants. Crucially, the earlier one notices hair loss the better chance of achieving a successful solution. “A lot of people don’t really become aware [of hair loss] until they’ve lost 20-50%. You can lose a lot of hair before you’re visibly bald.”
The fight against going bald isn’t new. Companies have marketed hair regrowth lotions like Regain for over 50 years and globally we sink over $3.5 billion each year into trying to address hair loss. So do any of these over-the-counter products actually work? “We looked at Regaine, and it works, but it takes about six months to regrow hair. Most people who are going bald will try the Regaine, they use it for about six weeks, they can’t see anything happening and they give up. While we have known how to address hair loss for many years, nobody really liked using the treatment, so it was a bit of a failure.” That’s where the Hairy Pill is different.
In an Australian-first, Professor Sinclair is now offering Minoxidil (the medication in Regaine) in a daily tablet form. “If you use it as a tablet, you can actually get much higher doses into the follicles. It’s also safer, because when you put a lotion on the scalp, the person to person difference in the amount that gets into the bloodstream is huge. If you use it as a tablet, the absorption is 100%, so we can control the dosage much better.”
While you can still go to your GP to get a referral to Sinclair Dermatology, Professor Sinclair has simplified the process. “People can sign up online, have a teleconsultation with a doctor over the phone and if you are suitable, they organise a local pharmacy to deliver the medications.” By moving the consultation online, the Hairy Pill is an easy to take, easy to arrange treatment for male pattern baldness that works.
With the rise of effective topical and clinical treatments to combat baldness, will blokes still opt for a dreaded hair transplant? According to the good profesor, a hair transplant remains an efficient, albeit more invasive, way to regain hair. “The benefit of a transplant is you can put the hairs where you need them, whereas with a tablet they grow all over the scalp. If you’ve got one particular area, a transplant is a good procedure.” Additionally, for those further down the line of hair loss who may require more intensive treatment, such as a hair transplant, the Hairy Pill can be taken in conjunction to help maintain volume.
So why is keeping a full head of hair so important? “There’s an evolutionary and societal component,” explains Sinclair. “From an evolutionary perspective, hair is an important sign of fertility. From a societal point of view, we spend money on haircuts, on our clothes and on our shoes, but baldness can undo tens of thousands of dollars spent on the latest clothes. For many people, if your hair’s not looking good, nothing else is really going to work.” Hair is a sign of confidence for many — just look at President Trump. “Donald Trump starts every day getting his hair done to get it looking at its best. He looks like Gorbachev when he’s bald, but he considers himself a virile man with a beautiful young wife.”
Still, for men of innate confidence and style (and well-shaped heads), hair loss isn’t a loss at all. Famous bald men like Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Billy Zane and Jason Statham have consistently dated some of the world’s most beautiful women. Not to mention Jeff Bezos — the richest person on earth and proudly bald. Sure, the aforementioned are all famous and cashed-up, but a 2016 study at the University of Pennsylvania found that both men and women perceive bald men as more dominant, masculine and confident than men with a full head of hair. Perhaps Dolly Parton summed it up best, “I love bald men. Just because you’ve lost your fuzz doesn’t mean you ain’t a peach!”
Do these new treatments spell the end of the time-honoured tradition of bald men and the women who love them? “When you’ve got treatments that work, I suspect it will become like braces,” concludes Professor Sinclair. “Braces used to be very expensive and special, but now it’s become the norm. There will always be some people who will be happy to go bald, and they’ll do it as a look, but for other people it’ll just become a thing to avoid.” ■

For more information about The Hairy Pill, head to thehairypill.com.au. To arrange an appointment or consultation at Sinclair Dermatology, head to sinclairdermatology.com.au

TEXT BY REILLY SULLIVAN

For the full article grab the September 2020 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

Cliff Hanger