Why Are You Bald? Blame Gravity!

Guess you can't blame your mother's side of the family anymore for your baldness.  That used to be the old wives' tale about whether or not you'd lose your hair.  If the male relatives on her side lost their hair, chances are, you'd be next.

But a whole new theory is evolving about hair loss. According to newswise.com, it's gravity.

That's right, gravity.  How much your scalp weighs on your hair follicles.

"In youth, the scalp has sufficient fat tissue under the skin, and it is 'capable of keeping itself well-hydrated,' buffering the pressure on hair follicles," as the Web site reports comments by Dr. Emin Tuncay Ustuner, a plastic surgeon in Ankara, Turkey. But with aging, "the skin and underlying (subcutaneous) fat become thinner, and the pressure on the hair follicles increases. Testosterone contributes to thinning of the subcutaneous fat."

As the cushion of fat decreases, the hair follicle must strive against higher pressure, requiring more testosterone to achieve normal growth. "This 'local demand' leads to a buildup of a form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the scalp, but not in the bloodstream. Rising DHT levels cause further erosion of the subcutaneous fat—creating a "vicious circle," according to Dr. Ustuner," newswise.com notes.

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.

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—"This is exactly what happens in male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia (AGA)," as newswise.com explains, quoting Dr. Ustuner.

The Web site notes that 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.

So, thank your ears for keeping even more hair from falling off your head!


  1. Hey Debbie, I always blamed hair loss on the disruptive effect of all the intense activity in my cranium. Glad to see you still have your light and lively touch with prose.
    Scott B.

  2. My light and lively touch? Scott, I had great teachers!


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