"The majority of men lose their hair not through stress, or bad diet, or lack of sleep, but through the genetic trait of male pattern baldness which is hard to treat through shampoos or supplements alone. Women lose their hair for very different reasons, but the argument still stands that a lot of the hair loss products on the market are just offering false hope. That said, there are a few that really work."

One friend who went bald in his early 20s said that even once he’d readjusted to his new look, the thing that saddened him was that this look would define him pretty much for ever. Another, now in his 40s, found it dispiriting when his hair started falling out in his 20s – “the first sign that my youth was fading…” He decided against Minoxidil and Finasteride – “If I recall correctly, one of the side effects was impotence or diminished libido, which didn’t seem a good trade-off” – and found the idea of surgery “laughable”, so opted to shave it all off, finding some cheer in the new-found solidarity among his fellow balding friends. Still, he says, anti-bald prejudices are real.

Many other women, though, start noticing thinning hair on top of their heads. Doctors say the defining sign is a widening of the part. The hairline itself is usually intact, but the hair becomes less dense behind it. Doctors will often run a battery of tests to make sure there are no treatable medical conditions, such as anemia, thyroid problems, tumors, or hormonal problems. "Ninety percent of the time, it's normal," Patel said.

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