Brooke Womack-Elmore is a doctor of physical therapy, but that isn't her only passion in life. When she met her husband in 2011, she developed an interest in the whys and hows behind male pattern baldness. "My husband fell victim to male pattern baldness when he was just 24," Elmore says. "As the years went on, I saw the difficulties and challenges he faced as his hair slowly receded and eventually disappeared. He was self conscious and constantly sought validation." As a woman, Elmore wasn't blind to the fact that the number of options available for women who suffer from hair loss—wigs, weaves and clip-ins to name a few—greatly outweighed the options available for men. Not long after, Elmore created Mancave4hair, a prosthetic hair line for ethnic men featuring textured hair units, to remedy the issue at hand.
Here, Elmore addresses a few commonly questions regarding male pattern baldness.
Why are men are more apprehensive to address hair loss?
For men, hair is an asset that boosts confidence. Some may feel that hair loss makes them less appealing to their female counterparts, resulting in career problems, marital distress, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. I believe men are also apprehensive to address hair loss because society has made it somewhat unacceptable for them to freely and openly search for options without judgement. In order for men to feel more comfortable about receiving hair loss solutions. It's far more common than people realize, and by being supportive in their decision, we can start to make it more of a social norm.
How can a stylist/barber gently address hair loss with their clientele?
A great way to start the dialogue is to ask questions like, “What do you like and dislike about your hair?” or “If you could change one thing about your hair, what would it be?” You can also add in icebreaker questions like, “Have your noticed any changes in your hair in the past 2-3 years?" Questions like these will open up a window of opportunity to go further in depth about hair loss solutions. Lastly, be very mindful about the verbiage you use and veer away from using the term "balding."
How can hairstylists incorporate the importance of scalp health into their appointments?
Providing your clients with facts about scalp help and integrity along with the side effects of poor scalp health can help bring value to the topic. Having literature readily available for your clients to read will also be a great way to educate them at their own speed. Don't be afraid to offer something for free, like a scalp integrity assessment coupled with a free consultation. This will provide you with a prime opportunity to educate and address your clients who may not be aware of their scalp issues.
Can you speak more to the health concerns that are tied to male pattern baldness?
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, they found that men with male pattern baldness have a 32 percent increased chance of developing coronary artery disease, with an even higher risk in men 55 years or younger with both frontal and crown baldness as compared to men with full heads of hair. Male pattern baldness is also referred to as “androgenetic alopecia,” which is a genetic sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This sensitivity may increase the risk of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obesity and prostate cell growth. Hair loss can also indicate health conditions such as lupus, fungal infections, and a thyroid problem.