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The Science Spot With Dr. Harry Proboscis

16 Jan

The Science Spot With Dr. Harry Proboscis

This week’s question comes from Catrina Dobbins, in Ms. Stanley’s 4th grade class at St.Mary’s Elementary School:

Dear Dr. Proboscis-  How come most men I know (like my Dad) who have jobs are bald, but most homeless men that I see have a lot of hair?


That is a most interesting observation on your part. I hadn’t noticed or paid attention to that before. When I first read your question I laughed at your innocense, but as I started to do research on this topic, I found that you may actually be on to something.

Obviously, not all working men are bald. Some are bald, some have nice full heads of hair, but most do seem to have a gradual degree of thinning as they grow older. In fact, 89% of males will have receding hair lines and lose at least a fraction of their hair after the age of 20.

I drove through several urban areas in 6 major cities, some in warm climates, some in cold climates and some in moderate climates. I interviewed, or at least attempted to interview, 5 homeless men at random in each city. The results are quite shocking. Of the 30 men I found, 27 of them had full, thick hair. The hair was filthy and full of bugs, but it was amazingly thick. I put on double layered gloves and gently yanked on the hair to make sure that it was real and not a wig. All case studies had real hair, although some didn’t appreciate getting their hair pulled. (11 punched and/or kicked me, 5 bit me and 1 urinated on my leg).  While most had amazing heads of hair, all were missing teeth, but that is a study for another time. Which tells us that skipping a day of shampooing is ok, but do not dare miss a day of brushing.

There are many reasons for males losing their hair:

1- hereditary (if dad is bald, chances are good that you’ll be bald)

2- diseases or medicines

3- stress

4- imbalances in the body-  Certain men have thyroid problems- high or low levels can cause hair loss. Also, a chemical produced by the body which makes the scalp feel oilier called sebum can affect baldness. Excess sebum is a problem, and can prevent growth of new hair follicles. In addition, males convert the testosterone in their bodies in to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT clogs the pores of hair follicles and slows down the production of hair.( Sorry to get technical Catrina, but I am a scientist after all).

Why would homeless men have such full, thick hair? The answer to that seems to be a mystery, but I may have one theory. Women.

Women= Stress for the average male. The stress of getting their attention, of winning their favor, of keeping them happy, of keeping them interested, of worrying about them cheating or leaving, of their displeasure with your family, friends, income, hobbies, looks. Stress seems to be the leading factor of the average man’s hair loss. The homeless man has basically given up on trying to attract females and thus cut out a significant amount of stress from his daily life.

So, that, Catrina is my answer. The reason your daddy is going bald is mainly because of your mommy, and some day, you will marry a man with a full head of hair and cause him to look like a cue ball.

Thanks for the question. This has been the Science Spot, I am Dr. Harry Proboscis.

(Please send all of your questions to: Dr. Harry Proboscis c/o The Daily Drivel)