The other day I read a bit about a new TV channel aimed for the youth.To my pleasant consternation the period of ‘youth’ as envisaged by the channel was between 15 and 34 years.Lucky me..here I was slowly but steadily slipping away from youth and entering into the rather ancient sounding 30s and suddenly I have hope again!! Actually a lot of people these days seem to be more afraid of the ageing process than death itself!
So why are people really afraid of ageing ?
In my professional capacity I get to see a lot of people who could loosely be categorized ‘old’ ,asking if something can be done for those rapidly multiplying age spots or those invading army of wrinkles.When I started practice I used to have a sense of disguised disgust when I saw these ‘oldies’ fretting about the aesthetics of their physiques as though they were going to participate in a Ms / Mr World contest. I used to have a smirk hidden in my mind when I gave what was supposed to be sincere advice regarding chemical peels ,dermabrasions or Botox……..Now I tend not to be so judgemental ,simply because I can see myself a couple of decades down the line ,searching out for that elusive black hair in a sea of depressing grey.
So is attempting to look younger really bad ?Guess not ….but having unrealistic aspirations regarding the same is dangerous.Given a choice ,not many of us would mind having a few wrinkles lifted,a little tuck or a push and a nip here and there.Money and privacy would probably be important issues.I mean if you offered people a free facelift in the complete privacy of their homes ,not many may decline.In other words deep in their hearts everybody does want to look younger.
A recent conversation with one such ‘eager to look younger’ patient I came across went something like this
(Disclaimer :All resemblances to any living or dead or in between people or animals are intentionally coincidental)
“Hello doctor ,how are you” Mr S looked a jaded 30 something,What few hair remained on his head were meticulously dyed jet black.Apparently Mr S was still single and looking.Unfortunately he felt nobody (read gals) was looking at him.
“I have one big problem Sir” Lucky guy!I mean I definitely have quite a few more big problems
“This….” Mr S dramatically taps a couple of times on the side of his skull
Duh?!The psychiatry OP was the next block.Did Mr.S lose his way?
“Very little here ” He elaborates still continuing the tap dance with his right index finger
Low brain weight?Welcome to the the club mate!……would I have to refer it to neurology or psychiatry me is thinking………He looked quite intelligent though.
“See….. all coming of so easily”This time Mr S pulls out a few of his hairs and displays it on his palms
Oh…very little of that.Welcome to that club too mate!
Mr S went on to elaborate on the mental trauma and deep anguish caused by the thinning of his pate.I could empathize with him to an extent …..most guys who’ve reached the 30’s could do the same I suppose.
Anyway, after that sob story ,it was my turn.I explained to him the available options right from lotions that promote hair growth to hair fixing and transplants ,elaborating on the pros and cons of each.
“Transplant??does it really work..do I have to find a donor?”
Now that would be something …..finding people to donate their hair for a noble cause
“No”I reassure him “ We take hair from the back of your scalp and place it into the frontal areas”
“Oh ..but then wont that too fall away after some time?” Mr S queries anxiously
“Well…”I go on to explain to him in detail concepts of ‘donor dominance’ and ‘resistance of occipital hair to androgenic alopecia”.To put it in very tiny nutshell ,the hair from the back of the scalp is relatively resistant to male pattern of baldness and the hair that are transplanted to the frontal areas tend to grow with the characteristics of the donor site i.e they tend to remain resistant to the normal balding process.
Mr S is happy
“Er Doc….why is it called androgenic alopecia”
“That’s coz the male pattern balding is mediated by male hormones specifically testosterone”
“You mean..I may be balding because I have a lot of that testo …whatever ?” Mr S is happier
“Well..in a way yes”
“You mean …. A balding man is more of a man than a non-balding man?”Mr S is happier than happier
Uh oh . “Hmmm…well…..kind of I suppose”
“Interesting…..you think they know about this”he whispers conspiratorially
They??!The CIA ?
“I mean girls…do you think they know ‘bout this testicle thing?”
testosterone actually ,but there was no point telling Mr S that now.He seemed to be possessed.
“I am sure they are aware”
By now Mr S was positively guffawing
“Well doc…thanks a lot…I’ll think about the treatment options you mentioned and get back to you……then again maybe I’ll keep my shiny pate.May be the girls will dig my testicle thing”