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Is gravity to blame for baldness?

By Daily Mail | Nov 2nd 2013 | 2 min read
By Daily Mail | November 2nd 2013

From poor genes to hormone problems, there are many reasons why a man can go bald.

And now one expert has come up with a somewhat novel theory - gravity.

Dr Emin Tuncay Ustuner, a plastic surgeon in Ankara, Turkey, believes gravity pulling down the skin of the scalp is to blame.

The vast majority of men suffer from male pattern baldness and Dr Ustuner believes his theory is 'unparallelled' in its ability to explain this type of hair loss.

The answer, he says, is the weight of the scalp on the hair follicles.

In younger men, the scalp has sufficient fat tissue under the skin, and it is 'capable of keeping itself well-hydrated,' taking the pressure off the hair follicles.

But as a man ages, the skin and underlying fat become thinner, and the pressure on the hair follicles increases.

Declining levels of the male sex hormone testosterone contribute to thinning of this fat, Dr Ustuner explained.

As the amount of cushioning fat decreases, the hair follicle has to work harder against all the pressure - and needs more of the hormone for normal growth.

To respond to this, a potent form of the male sex hormone testosterone, called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), builds up in the scalp.

The hair growth cycle accelerates in response to DHT, but it's not enough to overcome the increased pressure. Over time, the hair follicle becomes smaller and smaller, resulting in progressively increasing hair loss.

But it is a vicious circle - because higher DHT levels also cause fat to melt away, he added.

If the pressure created by the weight of the scalp is the cause of balding, then hair loss should occur at the top of the head - 'and this is exactly what happens in male pattern baldness', Dr Ustuner points out.

He believes that individual hair loss patterns are affected by differences in the shape of the head, reflecting variations in scalp pressure.

The weight of the facial soft tissues adds to the pressure at the front of the scalp, contributing to hair loss there.

In contrast, the ears help resist the effects of gravity on the scalp, lessening hair loss on the sides of the head.

The research is published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

-Adapted form Daily Mail

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