The hair has been regarded as the crowning glory. For women, it’s really important as it reflects their identity. Men, on the other hand, may not care as much as women, but certainly, there are men who are very much concern about their hair.
Whether you’re a man or woman who cares very much about your hair, it’s a devastating when hair loss occurs.
This devastating fact has been proven by 2005 survey1 conducted in Europe how hair loss affect a person’s self-esteem.
The sad truth is… hair loss is obviously very common in men which eventually result to male pattern baldness. We see these almost everywhere even celebrities and popular personalities have gone bald.
What’s Causing Hair Loss and Male Pattern Baldness?
Everyone experience hair loss regardless of gender. There two mostly mentioned types of hair loss; androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium. Androgenetic alopecia is commonly known as female pattern baldness in women and male pattern baldness in men.
First, it’s important to be able to distinguish between hair loss and hair shedding because these two are different although they’re pretty much similar but the cause is different.
Telogen effluvium is hair shedding that affects virtually to everyone at some point in life where stress or traumatic event happens. When hair shedding happens, hair will eventually grow again.
On the other hand, talking about hair loss, it’s permanent, which means the hair will never grow back naturally on its own.
There are approximately 70% of men affected with hair loss, and 40% women throughout their lifetime.
If you’re unsure what causes the hair fall, it’s always a smart decision to consult an expert so you would know exactly whether it’s hair loss or hair shedding and underlying causes.
What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
We’ll be focusing on androgenetic alopecia, and you might have already guessed it’s due to genes. Genes may play a role, but let’s not forget there are various environmental factors that may make a person vulnerable to androgenetic alopecia.
Initially, experts believed androgenetic alopecia is a condition that can be inherited genetically3 and pass down from generation to generation.
This happens due to the so-called Androgen Receptor gene, or AR gene increased activity within the hair follicles, which reacts to DHT(dihydrotestosterone), an androgen and a by-product of the male hormone testosterone.
Dihydrotestosterone(DHT) shrinks the hair follicles where the hair grows. When it shrunk, it’s blocking new hairs from growing. This process is constantly happening because it is made by the testosterone hormone, and it’s abundant in men for various functions, this is why hair loss affects mostly men compare to women.
Although androgenetic alopecia is most apparent when a man reaches the age of over 35, it can begin as early as puberty period, then risk increases and become more apparent with age.
The American Hair Loss Association estimated over 60% of men aged 35 will start noticing a little hair loss, and approximately 85% will experience hair thinning by the age of 50.
Women, on the other hand, can develop this condition after menopause, but it’s not due to a peak of testosterone, but rather a steep drop of certain hormones.
Men and women lose hair in a different pattern. When hair loss occurs in men, it has a definite pattern that starts at the crown while women lose their hair without a definite pattern.
Hair loss in women can start at the top, side, or even at the back, but women will never get fully bald as men do.
Tips For Preventing Hair Loss In Men
Although there is nothing we can fully avoid hair loss, certain things can be done to slow down or prevent it from happening at a very early stage.
With continuous effort on implementing these tips, there is a good chance hair loss can be prevented, and even grow some hair back.
1. Avoid Anything That Can Inflame Hair Follicles
While the majority of men is not into tying hair for like a hair style, applying chemicals to your scalp and hair can somewhat irritate the follicles and eventually shrunk them.
Among the chemicals that could be harmful to both hair and scalp include straighteners, dyes, bleaches, and among many others including some harsh and strong shampoos.
In the case where hair is long, make sure when tying them it’s not tight, which can also irritate the follicles. When hairs are pulled, it’s not just the hair are affected, but the follicles on the scalp, as well.
2. Using An FDA-Approved Topical Hair Loss Treatment
In times when hair loss is starting to happen, there is one FDA-Approved hair loss treatment available without a prescription.
Minoxidil is the name of the medication, and it’s sold under many brands and can be obtained over the counter including online sources like Amazon.com as Rogaine in most cases.
Some people believed it works while some do not. Perhaps the key to being successful in using Minoxidil is on how it is applied.
Reading the instructions at the back of the Rogaine box, it should be applied twice a day, but it doesn’t say anything how long one should be applying it to see results.
Normally, a package is equivalent to 1 month to 3 months of use.
However, experts said results can be realized after at least six months of regular application.
Minoxidil comes in different strength, but the most common one is 5%, and it’s available in shampoo, drops, and foam forms. It’s available for both men and women.
Another hair loss treatment is called Propecia with a generic name of Finasteride. It’s prescription-based hair loss medication. Unfortunately, it is linked to unwanted sexual health side effects on men including;
- erectile dysfunction
- loss of sex drive
- trouble reaching an orgasm
- abnormal ejaculations
- runny nose
- …and many others
Should your doctor prescribed you with Propecia, ask for a list of potential side-effects. It is also worth asking an alternative hair loss treatment.
3. Maintain A Healthful Diet
Just as any parts of the body, hair needs proper nourishments through the food we eat. Hence, eating proper food groups particular whole foods can help maintain good hair growth and better health for the scalp and follicles.
Certain nutrients that are essential for hair health include Vitamin D, which is abundant if you have regular sun exposure, zinc that is also vital for men’s health for sperm production.
Other important nutrients the hair needs include protein, healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some plant-based foods.
Biotin is another useful nutrient for the hair and widely available in supplementation form.
While it’s easy to take these nutrients through supplementation, there’s no substitute for real foods. Eating real foods particularly fresh green vegetables and fruits can have huge positive impact on hair health and overall wellness.
So, prioritize in eating healthful foods and take supplements to speed the effect and see results quicker. On the other hand, if there are foods recommended to eat, there are also foods to be avoided including fatty fried foods cooked in vegetable oils.
It is believed these foods might convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone(DHT) very quickly. Sugar is another one to avoid particularly refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. If you’re eating too much sugar of any form, start minimizing sugar consumption today if you care about your hair and overall health.
4. Opting For A Natural Approach
There are many naturalistic approaches to maintaining proper hair growth including the use of coconut oil, and application of aloe vera gel.
My choice is aloe vera gel because I am a living witness it works on me. After over a month of regular application of the aloe vera gel, new hair starts to grow.
Based on my observation, my entire hair number have doubled during the past month.
I still continue to apply the gel. Initially, during the first three weeks, I apply it twice a day; one during morning 30 minutes before taking a bath, and once in the evening before sleeping.
It takes a bit of an effort doing the application, plus the supply of fresh aloe vera is not that much. So, I decided to plant them in pots and I was surprised they’re not difficult to grow. Here’s a picture of my aloe vera in pots that are going strong.
There you have it! Hopefully, you’ve learned something about hair loss in men and might be able to help yourself survive from it.
Or, if you have a friend who suffered from hair thinning, you could help him find a way to slow down somehow the hair loss process, and even grow back some hair even if hair loss is known to be permanent.
Note that, eating the right kinds of foods is one major secret to having healthy hair, and overall health condition.
Supplementation could work, but don’t rely on them solely because just as their name implies, they only supplement to a healthy eating and lifestyle.
Don’t be too attached on the saying it’s due to gene and we cannot control or at least do something about it because as we know today through epigenetics, we’re not controlled by our genes.