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Men, Myths And Skin Care

While it's generally accepted that the mother's side of the family controls the destiny of men's hair, that's actually not the case. Baldness can be inherited from either the mother's or father's side of the family. Robert Weiss, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University, says, "You're probably in trouble if both your mother's side and your father's side are bald." There are treatments that can help, including Propecia and Rogaine, but they're not a fix for everyone. Dr. Weiss is studying a new treatment to stimulate hair growth. The technique uses low-energy light -- red light, to be specific -- that's emitted from light-emitting diodes. If pulsed just right, with the right frequency of pulsing, Dr, Weiss says he can get the hair follicles to get energized; to absorb the light and stimulate hair to grow. Want to do what you can to keep a full crop of hair? Dr. Weiss says, "People don't realize that one of the effects of alcohol on the liver and having maybe two glasses of wine a day -- it'll actually retard hair loss in men."

A BUMP IN THE (SHAVING) ROAD: In a recent poll, 97 percent of men said they shave. Of those, 78 percent said their skin gets irritated from shaving. That's a lot of sore faces! Some tips to minimize the ouch factor: First, get the beard thoroughly wet; shave in the direction that the hairs lie; avoid repeating strokes; and keep the skin relaxed while shaving. Curly hair? Take note: Dr. Weiss says, "The curlier your hair is, the more likely it is to grow back into the skin and create a bump. What you want to do ... is actually not shave as closely as you ordinarily would because a lot of the new razor systems are so good ... they cut [hair] almost below the skin surface." Sick of shaving altogether? Laser hair removal is also an option.

EXCESS HAIR: No, men don't like that hair on their backs. They could tweeze, shave, or wax back hair, but the thought of that is just too much for many men and if the hair covers a large area, it could literally take days to do! Laser hair removal may be the best option and is becoming more popular with men who want permanent hair removal. Lasers work by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle and injuring it so that the hair falls out and cannot grow back. Dr. Weiss says, "We've been working on and developing faster and faster methods of removing the hair as well as making them less and less painful. We actually just developed a new device, which has a very, very large head ... the flash lamp pulses and so you get a huge field of hair heated and destroyed in one pulse. You can treat en entire back in about 15 to 20 minutes." Now, that's something to write home about!