Bald!  -  Sexy William’s crown crisis (You Magazine, April, 2002)

By Richard van Rensburg

Here’s the bald truth: the curse of the Windsor family’s males has caught up with Prince William, the royal hunk.

He’s only 19, but Britain’s royal hunk Prince William is going bald – and you can be sure the world’s media will keep up a running commentary on every hair he loses.

“It’s known that the Windsor men start losing their hair early,” a family friend says. “But William’s a bit concerned about it. He’s not particularly conceited but he knows he’ll be in the spotlight all his life – and people can be cruel.”

Prince Charles (53) was about William’s age when he began to go bald. He tried to hide it by combing his hair over the bald spot and William is now painstakingly doing the same.

“If you look closely you find you’re dealing with a wonder of construction – the prince doesn’t go anywhere without a comb or brush,” a student friend says.

Many people wonder just how Princess Diana’s handsome son is handling his crisis – after all, losing your hair is no laughing matter for a young man.

Will he try to cover his receding hairline the same way his dad does, or will he learn to live with an increasingly visible dome?

On the other hand, perhaps medical science will come up with a more permanent solution for him and thousands of other young men in his situation. After all, there have been quite a few promising breakthroughs since Julius Caesar optimistically rubbed a mixture of bear fat, ground horse’s teeth and the marrow from the bones of deer into his shiny pate.

Coincidentally, just as newspapers trumpeted William’s problem across Britain, the first scientifically proven pill to fight male hair loss was released there.

Propecia, the new product, is now the buzzword among British men trying to come to terms with receding hairlines. Five of every six men who participated in clinical tests worldwide found their hair loss stopped after taking the pill. Even more promising, the hair of two thirds of those tested began to grow again.

But South Africa is one jump ahead of the British – the American-made pill has been available here on prescription for some time.

Initially there was some concern about side effects because some of the men in the test group complained of reduced libido. But it affected only two percent of them and proved to be temporary, the manufacturers say.

Propecia is prescribed for men only, because of a risk that if taken by pregnant women, their babies could be born with deformities. It is quite safe for the male sexual partner of a pregnant woman to be taking Propecia as this will not endanger mother or baby.

Stockbroker Jon-Brandon (JB) Bloch is one of the South Africans hailing Propecia as a miracle product.  “My hair now looks like it did five years ago,” he says. “My hairdresser couldn’t believe it.”

At the age of 34, he approached Dr Kevin Alexander’s Hair Loss Clinic in Johannesburg for help. Now he takes a tablet every night, (because his hair could start falling out again if he stopped the treatment.) “ I also wash my hair with Dr Alexander’s special shampoo and conditioner, rub two of Dr Alexander’s clinically proven topical hair regrowth lotions into my scalp, and take a couple of Dr Alexander’s hair vitamin and mineral supplement products every day,” he says.

JB looks and feels younger and has more self-confidence. Side effects? “None, thank God,” he says.

“Prince William, JB and 95% of men (and women) who suffer from hair loss have a hereditary condition known as alopecia androgenetica,” Dr Alexander says. “An enzyme in the body converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes hair follicles to shrink, making hair thinner and finer. Propecia prevents the DHT-forming process by inhibiting this enzyme.”

Propecia is one of only two hair loss treatments for men approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other treatments are presently being developed and should be available in the next few years. Experts say they should give even better results.

What else can be done to stave off baldness – can diet and lifestyle make a difference?

Not necessarily. “Healthy hair obviously needs certain vitamins and minerals including zinc, calcium, folic acid and iron, and of these iron is the most important,” Dr Alexander says, “and stress isn’t a major cause of permanent hair loss, although it can hasten the process.”

And what of the so called “natural” and other “miracle” cures which one sees advertised in the media?  The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery advises people to find out if the claimed efficacy of “miracle cures” is based on true scientific trials and evidence. 

Article Reproduced with permission of You Magazine