Reverse Balding

Bald at 44

me today (after a light morning shave)

A dozen years in, I thought I would take stock of my alopecia universalis and ask a few questions of my fellow Alopecians. I actually love being bald—given the choice I’d do it all over again.

I went totally bald in 2000. The last 2 months of my haired life went quickly—I developed bald patches at the back of head that looked like cheetah spots. They quickly expanded and when my brother Greg told me to “shave that shit”, I did so once and then never had to again. That is, until recently. My bald stages:

It started in 1999 with a small bald spot on my otherwise full facial hair. I assumed I’d cut myself shaving. It remained like that for many months, then the spot began rapidly spreading across my face. Soon after, bald cheetah “patches” appeared on the back of my head. The last two months my hair was jumping ship with increasing speed. This included my body hair. One shave of the head and all the hair on my body was gone, seemingly forever.

Seven or so years of smooth swimming where I could not find a single hair anywhere on my body. Nothing. I described it to people as “smooth and hairless like a dolphin.”

Tennis Ball
A few years ago I developed very light blond, short, wispy baby hairs in small patches on my head. Almost undetectable unless the sun shined from behind my head. It’s slowly increased over the last four years, roughly coinciding with my courtship and marriage to Brangien. I describe it as “tennis ball hair.” It’s patchy, light and if I let it grow it’s not fully-realized hair. Recently I’ve even developed a few whiskers on my chin and cheekbones. Not enough to grow anything useful, but a few desert outposts of scraggly cacti. Still no moustache, beard, eyebrows or eyelashes. I used to have very full chest and body hair (which was completely dormant during the dolphin phase). I now have small communes of light-duty body hair—unnoticeable at a distance, but you would see it if we were, say, barbequing together in Hawaii. For a few years now I’ve been shaving the patchy tennis ball hair off parts of my head.

So, that’s the state of my bald-ishness. I’d be interested in hearing from other longer-term Alopecians to see if they have experienced similar patterns over time.

6 thoughts on “Reverse Balding

  1. seems like the lack of eyebrows/lids and nose hair would be most problematic. Do you do a lot of sneezing and wiping sweat from your eyes?

  2. You were an inspiration by the way when I went bald from chemo in 2001. The fuzzy hair you’re describing sounds exactly like how my hair started to grow back after chemo was done. I thought it looked a bit like the fuzz on a baby bird. It went away after my hair started coming back in for real.

  3. “Problematic” may be too strong word, but it is a minor annoyance at certain times. Back when I ran, I wore a headband to keep the sweat out of my eyes. And, yes, I do seem to be more sensitive by smoke, perfume, dust, etc. Achewww!

  4. Kim—that’s interesting about the regrowth. The first stages were like baby bird fuzz, now that you mention it. It’s become a little more tennis ball-like at this point.

    Happy to be of bald service to you! There is something humbling and liberating about losing hair.

  5. Bald, tennis ball, dolphin or ??? An awesome dude you are. I haven’t gone bald yet but weird things go on, ever changing as I age. I do have a crazy lump on my head that needs to be removed soon.

  6. Hi Daniel! I enjoyed reading this account. I tried to remember the early years as you described the cheetah spots.

    I love your sentiment that you’d do it all over again given the choice. As a guy who usually shaves his head, I empathize–sort of.

    I’ve been going through my own auto-immune disease challenge this year. At the end of January I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. It’s a little like MS, except it only effects the peripheral nervous system and most folks have a full recovery. Unlike you, though, I don’t think I’d choose to endure it all over again. I am about halfway through recovery and longing to go home, having been in two hospitals and a nursing home for the last four months.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more of your blog, now that I’ve found it. Take care, old friend.

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