Balding and What Jason Alexander is Doing About His Hair Loss

Is Jason Alexander the Master of His “Dome Mane”? Is he really growing back hair?

The 52 year-old actor, probably best known as Jerry Seinfeld’s best friend George Costanza, has been seen, of late, sporting a head of hair !

This has prompted the blogosphere and twitter to go into overdrive;  TMZ is showing “before and after” pictures (see right).

NBC’s Jere Hester has gone so far as to say that:

Alexander’s new hair is a betrayal to chrome domes everywhere.

But hold on a second, is the hair real?

Alexander was a little evasive when first questioned about it back in July, tweeting:

I am experimenting with some interesting hair systems. Don’t be shocked if you suddenly see pics of me with more hair than usual.

Now he has come clean with a TwitLonger post

What you see on my head is a really good, semi-permanent hairpiece. By semi-permanent I mean that I can wear it constantly for weeks at a time, if I so choose. I can swim, shower, work out — whatever. It stays on. Or I can take it off any time of any day I choose. The reason it looks thin is that I challenged my designer to make me a piece that would look very similar to the way I did 10 years ago. So, it looks like a guy who is losing his hair and isn’t an artificial mop of hair that I never had.

Alexander says he is trying this out to expand the roles he can be cast for, and for the practical reason that “onstage and even to a degree on film, [his] head had become a big beacon, reflecting light in a very obvious and distracting way.”

“God only made so many perfect heads; the rest he covered in hair.” – Anonymous

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is related to your genes and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition.

Each strand of hair you have sits in a tiny hole in the skin called a follicle. Baldness in general occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow a new hair. However, the follicles remain alive, which suggest that it’s possible to grow new hair.

The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward (recedes) and forms an “M” shape. Eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and creates a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head.

It is important to note that hair loss may be due to other conditions. This may be true if your hair loss occurs in patches, you shed a lot of hair, your hair breaks, or you have hair loss along with redness, scaling, or pain.

“If Satan ever loses his hair, there’ll be hell toupee.”- Anonymous

Treatment is not necessary if you are comfortable with your appearance. Hair weaving, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle may disguise the hair loss. This is usually the least expensive and safest approach for male baldness.

Two medications are approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a solution that you apply directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is a pill that interferes with the production of a certain male hormone linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works a bit better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.

Did you know?

Minoxidil was first used exclusively as an oral drug to treat high blood pressure. However, it was discovered to have an interesting side effect – causing increased growth or darkening of fine body hairs, and in some cases, significant hair growth.

Propecia was initally used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (also known as enlarged prostate). Once again, a side effect prompted its use for male pattern baldness.

 “The very hairs of our head are all numbered.”

Hair transplants consist of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring and possibly, infection. The procedure usually requires multiple sessions and may be expensive. Results, however, are often excellent and permanent.

Suturing hair pieces to the scalp is not recommended. It can result in scars, infections, and abscess of the scalp. The use of hair implants made of artificial fibers was banned by the FDA because of the high rate of infection.

So, what do you think of Jason Alexander’s new look?

Have you considered hair loss treatment? What made you go for it? Or not?

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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