NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Taylor Murray was going bald and noticing that as his hairline was receding, so too was the number of clients that he had in the creative fields.
“I used to do fairly well with clients whose products were make-up or hair care lines,” says Murray, the lead web developer for CallTools, which offers contact center software. “I had some connections in those industries, and they made up a good percentage of my client base.”
That changed when Murray started going bald.
“I can honestly say that about 20% of my non-repeat business dropped off,” Murray says. “These were potential new clients. I still did well with engineering-related clients and such, but about 60% of my business came from the aesthetics industry.”
Murray reversed the trend by getting hair transplants.
But there may be a better, less-expensive way, and it starts with, oddly, plucking out your hair. A recent report in the journal Cell shows that, at least in mice, plucking hairs in a specific pattern and proximity to each other can stimulate the growth of six times the number in and around the area – 200 plucked hairs induced up to 1,200 replacement hairs.
The research team was led by USC investigator Cheng-Ming Chuong.
“By coupling immune response with regeneration, this mechanism allows skin to respond predictively to distress, disregarding mild injury, while meeting stronger injury with full-scale cooperative activation of stem cells,” the authors write.
Could it be a cure for male pattern baldness?
Chuong says that “it will help in the future.” However, he notes, “It is not very practical to go and pluck human hairs. We are working to find out more molecule signals related to this quorum sensing behavior. Hopefully, we can just apply the molecules to help treat human [baldness].”
That’s good news for men like Murray. But not all men agree with the "law of alopeciating marginal returns" -- that baldness interferes with prospering in the workplace.
“I'm bald, and if anything, it gives me confidence in an area other people are insecure about,” says Joseph Gochnour, a nutritionist and professional trainer at University of Texas at Austin RecSports, who has been bald since he was 23 years old. “It's how you carry yourself.”
“Just shave it off and stop trying to pretend you have hair," Gochnour says. "Own it.”
He may have a point. A 2012 study out of Wharton claims men with shaved heads appear more "dominant" and "masculine."
Josh Rubin, owner of Creative California, an Internet marketing firm, began balding when he was 23 years old. He says he struggled with it for a while.
“I tried to hide it, and I knew that it made me look less confident as time went on,” Rubin says. “I can't say whether or not the balding was a determining factor on job prospects -- or these days, in sales for my clients … but the confidence absolutely was,” he says.
Rubin decided to shave his head about six years ago. “It's really helped my confidence, and it's just part of who I am now -- no need to worry about covering it up,” he says. “I've never had an issue landing a job or client since.”
“As they say, it’s all in the head,” Rubin says.
—Written by S.Z. Berg for MainStreet