It’s all uphill from here…
I’m Paul Inman – and you’ve guessed it, I’m a bald guy.
I’d say right now I feel more confident than ever, more secure with myself, happy in my own skin and the way I look, but that’s not always been the case.
Take it back about 20 years
I can tell you from the heart, back then I wasn’t the person I am now. I still had my personality, my sense of humour and my morals but I lacked somewhat in self-confidence, self-esteem and really didn’t like the way I looked. Growing up I was I happy child, loving parents, two wonderful sisters and plenty of friends. School was fun, activities out always enjoyable and holidays were the best. So what happened, well adolescence that’s what!
Early teenage years
Breaking into my early teens my face decided it needed to break out too, I became the spotty teenager, not just the odd one but a face full of spots! I’m not going to go into this too much but let’s just say from about 13-18 it wasn’t a good time for me, but you know what, it got better. Besides the usual name calling, trips to the doctors to get the next acne treatment and the lack of confidence, I had some good friends, male and female so I ignored the idiots and keep a low profile. I was kind of lucky thou, I was never one to back down if someone did say something, they got the same back, being one the oldest in my year and fairly stocky lad kind of helped!
I can remember around my 17th birthday I noticed a massive change in the condition of my skin, I seemed to be getting less and less spots, confidence was starting to grow and I thought, ‘here we are, the end of teenage acne’. At the time I had a girlfriend, she was a good-looking girl, popular and I’d known her since my middle school. Things were starting to look up, school was getting better, I was starting 6th form, learning to drive, and enjoying my underage drinking (where possible)!
Just as I thought things were on the up I noticed another change with my face, mainly the thickness of my hair! Now I was never the most stylish of teenagers, never had the best haircuts or clothes but I did know how to style myself at the time, I’d say I was more Rock than Pop. My style was quite grungy, not full Rock / Goth but a mix of what I could afford and what I could borrow. My hair then was a mix of short and long, short sides/back and a waving fringe that I suppose I kept because I thought it covered my spots!
17 and going bald 😐
At 17 the thought that I might be losing my hair had never crossed my mind, ‘that only happens to older men when they become Dads and start going grey – not to a 17yr old boy’. But it was happening, and happening pretty fast from what I could tell. It was mainly on top, the whole top of my head, not really a receding hairline. I probably need to describe how I felt at the time as I know some of you will have either gone through the same things or you’re feeling these emotions right now!
Shit – why me!?
Is it the shampoo I have been using, or the styling products!
Maybe if I don’t comb my hair it will stay in…
It must just be a temporary thing and it will grow back, I’m only 17!
My Dad still has plenty of hair so I’ll be fine…
No one will notice if I keep my hair long and fuzzy on top…
There will be something I can get from the doctors to help…
Maybe I can grow it longer and it will look fuller…
Shit – why me…
To say I was really upset was an understatement! I had just come out of the other side of a serious case of acne the distress that caused, now you want me to go through losing my hair as well? Come on!
Dealing with it (help and support)
Rather than talking to anyone about it I carried on as if nothing was wrong, like it was just a phase and things would be fine, I’m not really losing my hair.
So for a couple of years, I tried the things above, all to no avail. You have to remember at the time there also wasn’t much help or advice for a young man losing his hair, friends of that age didn’t understand, teachers were not someone I turned to and there was no such thing as Google!
The only support I had was my loving parents and a girlfriend (who was supportive). Deep down I was an emotional wreck, really worried about going into 6th form college every day to face the usual gibes ‘transparent head’, ‘see through scalp’, ‘baldy’ and my favourite at the time, ‘Skeletor’.
Seems funny now but then it really got to me, I was really low, didn’t know where to turn, so much so I looked into having my hair thickened at a clinic in Manchester, and I went through with it, ended up paying out several thousand pounds via savings and my parents help. I though it was my only way I could get through things, face the haters and feel good about myself, how wrong I could be!
For a time my thickened hair looked good, not many people noticed I’d had anything done, well so I thought. My close friends noticed but they were supportive, people who didn’t really know me had no idea and people I met for the first time thought nothing!
I was beginning to think I done the right thing, but I knew in the back of my mind this was just a temporary fix, a mask to cover up my shame, to give me a break from people my own age taking the piss! It was never going to last as my hair was still falling out and looking after, to what was for all intents and purposes a wig, was a nightmare! I know these days there are lots of different products, services and treatments around but at the end of the day, none of them reverses what’s going on and makes your hair grow back, none of them!
So what should I do now, my miracle cure seemed only to worsen my anxiety and lower my self-confidence, I was pretty desperate at the time, probably at my lowest looking back, sleepless nights, crying, hiding away and avoiding going out – something had to change!
Something did, I had to pick myself up off the floor, stop feeling sorry for myself and say, fuck it, I’m not going to die!
I think rather than an informed decision and more one of desperation I decided that it was time to just face the facts, I’m going bald and nothing I can do can stop that.
So it was time to man-up and deal with what was underneath this stupid woven headpiece! At the time my sister had a friend that was a mobile hairdresser, she could clearly see I was in no fit state to visit a barber and to help be out she made an appointment for her friend to come round to our house and help me…
Well, the rest, to be honest, is history… but let me tell you this, the day I admitted to myself that I was going bald and there was nothing I could do about it was simply most liberating time in my life. Don’t be fooled, the months after embracing what was to come were really tough, adjusting to a new look and pushing through the people finger pointing took some serious inner strength, it built character and it made me who I am today.
It’s not easy, I know what you are going through, but if I can do it, a normal guy who lost his hair very young, then you’re going to be fine, trust me.
(This site is for you no matter your age, your stage of hair loss and where you might be in your life – take look around, read and digest. If you have any questions, feedback, suggestion or things you’d like to see on this site please get in touch)