You may be surprised to know that male pattern baldness affects over half of all men over the age of 50, while two-thirds of all males will feel the impact of hair loss at some point in their lives.
This means that 7.4 million men are losing their hair at any one time in the UK, and as someone who went through this as a teenager I understand that it can be an emotive issue.
Ultimately, I tackled my own issues with male pattern baldness head-on.
This meant shaving my head, to create a bold and defined look that helped me to take charge of my destiny.
This was an empowering decision, and one that helped me to recover much of the confidence I had lost when my hair first began to fall out.
Shaving your head brings its own challenges, of course, as it’s not always easy to protect your bare skin from the elements.
So, with winter just around the corner, I thought I’d share some advice on how to maintain your bald head and make the most of your look whatever the weather!
Shaving your head – The potential issues
If you’re anything like me, when you first shave your head you’ll become consumed with your look and how to make the most of it.
However, it’s important to remember that your newly shorn head will suddenly be exposed to the elements, as well as a number of potential allergens and skin irritants.
You’ll need to protect against these threats if you’re to maintain the perfect bald head.
Remember, studies have shown that baldness has a number of social advantages are arguably makes men more attractive to women, but this only applies if you take the time to protect and safeguard your look.
So, here are some of the challenges that you can encounter when you first shave your head!
When I first shaved my head, what I didn’t know was that a bare pate tends to draw more irritant than one that is covered with hair. This wouldn’t have changed my decision, but it’s certainly something to consider if you’re going to live your life with a bald head. These allergens can potentially trigger the onset of various skin conditions, while causing unsightly blemishes on your head.
In my early teens I also suffered with acne, but nobody told me that you could develop something similar on your scalp too! Scalp acne differs slightly from that developed during puberty as it occurs when hair follicles become clogged, but it has the same visual effect and causes unsightly, red bumps. This is why it’s so important to clean and moisturise your scalp after shaving (more on this latter) and ensure that your hair follicles remain clear at all times.
While dandruff is commonly thought to affect people with hair, it’s actually a scalp condition that causes the skin on your head to flake. So, even after you’ve shaved your head and your hair has been removed, don’t be surprised if this condition persists over time. Fortunately, this is not a serious problem to overcome, but it’s definitely something you should be aware of when going bald.
This should be the most obvious threat to a bald head, as the searing rays of the sun can cause your skin to burn when it’s exposed for long periods of time.
Take it from someone who knows; it’s easy to overlook this when you first shave your head as you’re so used to having a covering of hair on your scalp. Those of you with fairer skin will also burn more easily, so it’s even more important to take the necessary precautions when out and about.
Last, but by no means least, we come to razor burn. This is something that’s certainly familiar to me, while there are a number of common shaving mistakes that can cause small and unsightly cuts on your head. This is especially true if you use a wet shaving technique on your head, as this requires the use of a traditional razor that is genuinely sharp against the skin.
Now you know the issues, here are the solutions
Now that I’ve presented the issues, it’s time to look at the solutions and the best ways to protect and maintain a bald head.
From experience, I know that this is far easier said than done, and it’s important that you follow an informed and detailed skincare regime if you’re to truly look after your scalp.
With this in mind, I’ve listed some top tips for maintaining your hairless scalp and creating the best possible look.
Don’t ditch the shampoo and conditioner
Just because you’ve shorn your locks, this doesn’t mean that you should ditch the shampoo and the conditioner too.
Oils and dirt will continue to accumulate on your bald scalp over time, so you’ll need to ensure that the skin is cleaned regularly and without exception.
I’d recommend using a dab of your favourite shampoo when you shower, before following this up with a moisturising conditioner.
You don’t need to use the same amount of product as you would with a full head of hair, simply because there’s no requirement to work this through each strand and into individual follicles.
I know it may be tempting to use body or facial wash on your scalp in order to save time, but this is not necessarily effective.
It can also have a drying effect on your scalp, so it’s something to avoid at all costs.
Keep hydrated and moisturise!
I’ve already touched on the importance of using moistening conditioner, and this is particularly important during the summer months.
This will prevent your skin from drying out and becoming irritated, making it appear as smooth and as clean as possible.
If you do notice your skin beginning to flake after shaving then you may need to need medicated shampoo and conditioner to nourish the scalp.
Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner remains one of the best and most affordable products of this type on the market, so keep you eye open for this in stores.
I’d also recommend that you drink plenty of water each day when you shave your head. This will ensure that you remain hydrated and are able to maintain healthy looking skin.
Get the shave right!
When it comes to maintaining your bald scalp, arguably the most important element is the shave itself.
In my mind, there should be different stages to this process, as you look to prepare the skin before creating a smooth, friction-free shave.
Firstly, you should look to lubricate your skin with some pre-shave oil. The idea of this is to help you guide your razor smoothly along the scalp, minimising friction and delivering an even finish.
Shaveology’s brand of lubricants are particularly effective, as they boast a unique blend of high quality, fragrant oils that fully prepare your skin.
Next up, I’d recommend applying some traditional shaving cream to your scalp. While there’s no doubt that hair on your head is different to that on your face, you’ll need to use a proven product that creates a smooth, sleek and comfortable shaving action.
Create an even application over your head, while seeking out products that also work to open up pores and soften the hair follicles.
The razor that you use is also important, and I’d definitely suggest that you use a modern, cartridge-based product when starting out.
After all, this is designed to shave at the most effective angle, while the use of multiple blades improves efficiency and reduces the risk of inflammation on the scalp.
Gillette’s range of Fusion ProGlide razors are highly recommended for a close shave of the scalp, as they also feature FlexBall Handle technology that help you to reach the more awkward spots on your head.
Protect your scalp against the elements
Winter is almost here, and those of you who are bald will probably have noticed a chill setting in on your scalp!
It’s crucial that you make allowances for extreme weather conditions when you shave your head, whether you’re caught in an Arctic storm or basking beneath the heat of a midday sun.
In the winter, I find that beanie hats are particularly effective at keeping out the cold.
These can also make for a stylish fashion accessory too, helping you to create a winter look that suits your new aesthetic!
When the summer arrives, you’ll definitely need to protect your scalp from the rays of the sun. It’s imperative that you use a high-factor sunscreen when venturing outside on a sunny day, while I also try to look for products that have built-in moisturising qualities.
A great hat can also go along way to compensating for the lack of hair, but the most important thing is that you pay attention to the elements and afford your scalp the same respect that you do the rest of your body!
The last word
These tips should help you to overcome the challenges associated with shaving your head.
I’ve certainly sworn by them since losing my hair as a teenager, and would recommend them to anyone who is considering shaving their head for the very first time!