There’s no escaping the effect of gravity as we age. The continuous downward pressure on the body produced by the force of gravity causes the skin to sag and weaken over time. But does the constant tug of gravity also affect healthy hair follicles – to the point of causing hair loss?
In an article published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Turkish researcher Dr. Emin Tuncay Ustuner believes gravity is as good an explanation for male pattern baldness as genes and hormones. Though “Gravity Theory” has been met with skepticism, Ustuner is convinced that gravity’s downward trajectory exerts harmful pressure on the scalp and follicles. It’s stronger as men age because there is less fat and skin thickness in the scalp to serve as a cushion against gravity.
Gravity not only causes hair loss by weakening follicles, Ustuner claims, but the shape of the scalp is a leading indicator of where the process starts.
Weight of the World
While a family history of male pattern baldness and the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) do cause hair loss, the weight of gravity on hair cells, according to Gravity Theory, affects the distribution of DHT throughout the scalp. Higher concentrations of DHT result in areas with less hair. The presence of DHT merely hastens the balding process. Moreover, the tug of gravity on the soft facial tissues exerts downward pressure at the front of the scalp. As a result, there is thinning at the hair line.
Does Gravity Theory Hold Weight?
It’s a compelling theory and is certainly worthy of further discussion of why men go bald. However, since gravity is a fact of life here on earth, it suggests that male pattern baldness is here to stay. That is, unless one is able to live in a zero-gravity environment.
But the theory by itself offers no workable solution to male pattern baldness. There is no topical ointment or surgical procedure which can negate the power of gravity.
Hair Restoration Worth its Weight
While there are many causes of male pattern baldness, there are many temporary and lasting solutions. Hair restoration surgery has a long track record of success using the patient’s own donor follicles.
Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG), for example, involves the removal of a strip of hair-bearing scalp from the back or sides of the head which is then dissected into individual follicular units that are transplanted into bald and thinning areas. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a similar technique that involves the linear scar in the donor area by individual extracting the follicular units.
Hair Mapping is a non-surgical technique in which the surgeon, using sophisticated magnifying equipment, examines the reproductive health of the patient’s follicles in an effort to “map” the direction of thinning hair. With this technique the surgeon is able to more precisely design and execute the transplant procedure.
Gravity is here to stay, yes, but your hair doesn’t have to go because of it, if the theory holds true. Talk to a board certified hair restoration specialist about which procedure is best for you.
Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation or view the excellent results that Dr. Choe has achieved for his patients in the before and after photo gallery.