Hair loss is one of the tough realities of being a man and can be particularly challenging for trans men as they advance in their transition.
FTM patients already have enough responsibilities between managing hormones and pursuing other aspects of masculinization, so thinning hair can be a major psychological setback — mixed with bad timing.
Whether you’ve just begun the transitioning process or you’re years into the journey already, thinning hair can catch you off guard and cause serious distress for trans men at any stage.
Since we’ve worked closely with trans men for years in their efforts to preserve and improve their hair, this article is dedicated to all the potential causes — and treatments — currently available.
We’ll cover the main points you need to know about trans men’s hair thinning and how to address the issue correctly while minimizing risk. Let’s get started.
With so many variables at play, there is typically no singular cause for hair thinning among trans men. Let’s simplify the situation by sorting out potential causes into three main categories and exploring them each before discussing solutions.
Set aside the medications, the hormone therapies, and the other factors that are unique to FTM patients for now. If we’re taking a big-picture look at the causes for thinning hair, genetics and aging are the two most prevalent factors, regardless of your medical background.
The genetic code we inherit from our parents determines the overarching outcomes for our hair during our lifetime, whether that means androgenetic alopecia is in our future or some other condition that leads to thinning or hair loss.
Women may not be genetically inclined to experience hair loss at the same rate as men, but it’s still a distinct possibility as they age. Taking preventive measures to stop hair loss in its tracks is recommended for everyone, trans men included.
There’s no getting around the influence of male hormones on hair loss for FTM individuals, and in most cases, hormone replacement therapy initially causes thinning.
It’s not just the introduction of masculinizing hormones like testosterone that can result in thinning hair, but also the minimization of estrogen and other female hormones that tend to keep hair long and strong through the years.
The fact that male hormones cause hair thinning leads many trans men to a difficult spot, where they wonder if the transition process is worth the tradeoff of losing one’s hair.
We advise that FTM patients do not backpedal their hormone treatment to preserve hair but instead seek preventive or restorative methods to make the most of the current circumstances.
While we tend to focus on hormone replacement therapy as the main culprit for hair thinning among trans men, there are many other possible causes.
Broadly speaking, modern lifestyles, diets, and medicines are simply not conducive to healthy hair, and any honest doctor should agree.
The combination of overwork, lack of movement, chronic stress, and environmental chemicals all add up over time. It’s no wonder why we see more hair thinning than ever before. Trans patients, in particular, may experience additional stressors or have overlapping medical issues that play a part in hair loss.
This is why we always urge our patients — including trans men — to take a high-level look at their lifestyle and any unsuspecting factors that may be leading to hair loss. Diet, exercise, sleep, supplementation – these should all be part of the program when it comes to preventing thinning hair and restoring any losses.
Ask any hair loss doctor, and they’ll agree that preventive measures are best for saving one’s hair.
Trans men just beginning their HRT regimens are in a great position to plan ahead and minimize hair loss resulting from increased male hormones.
Not all of these tactics are medical in nature. In fact, the ones we list here are low-risk, low-cost, and easy to implement right now. If you’re ramping up your FTM transition right now, we suggest getting ahead of the game to save as much existing hair as possible.
As trans men embrace their new appearance, it’s the perfect time to start working with masculine hairstyles that help you look and feel your best.
Wearing shorter hairstyles also has a number of convenient side effects, such as reducing the strain that longer hair causes on the scalp. If you’re used to wearing it long and “up” in ponytails or buns, it may be time to switch your style for long-term healthier hair.
What better opportunity to rejuvenate your health than when you embark on your transition journey? Establishing better habits now may pay dividends moving forward for your health, happiness, and hairline, especially as hormones start taking effect.
The blueprint for healthy living looks a bit different for everyone, but start with the basics like a balanced diet, regular exercise routine, deep sleep each night, and sustainable stress management.
This protocol isn’t always easy to follow, but it works wonders for preserving your hairline as hormones change with time.
Even the healthiest people need some extra nutrients and minerals to keep their bodies operating at peak condition. This is especially true for FTM patients who need additional resources to grow more muscle, facial hair, and other masculine features.
Many trans men are not only falling short in the nutrition department, but they also forget about supplementation that can make a huge difference in their hair’s length and strength.
Start simple with collagen and biotin in powder or capsule form, then add or subtract different hair growth supplements if they fit your profile and budget.
Sometimes the top therapeutics and medicines for hair loss are best implemented before thinning ever occurs. The problem is that too many trans men wait until hair is already on the way out to take these steps.
The good news is that today’s therapies and meds are widely accessible and not prohibitively expensive for most. For instance, hair strengthening shampoos and essential oils are now mainstream and can be highly effective in preserving hair.
It may seem drastic to start using shampoos and medicines before the first signs of hair loss, but given the commonality of hair loss among trans men, this is usually the recommended course of action.
Let’s say you’ve already started to notice the signs of hair loss after months or years into your FTM transition. Signals may be subtle at first, such as thinning on the temples or symmetrical receding on the frontal scalp in the familiar “M” formation.
But since many trans men expect some degree of thinning and are prepared to act accordingly, they usually have a high degree of success when it comes to hair restoration treatments.
Keep in mind that all of the methods described above are useful for preventive and corrective hair loss. However, this next section will address more serious therapies and surgical options you may want to consider to fix advanced thinning and receding.
The field has broadened widely in recent years for hair loss therapies that go beyond the typical shampoos and supplements.
Collagen induction therapies are increasingly popular for maximizing the preservation of existing hair and even reversing “dead zones” on the scalp where hair has been lost entirely.
These methods include derma rolling and microchanneling, creating tiny punctures on the scalp to activate hair follicles at a cellular level. Microchanneling is offered by our staff at Jae Pak MD Medical to aid hair follicle health.
Low-level red light therapy is another treatment making waves in the cosmetics space for hair restoration and general health. This method uses a specific range of UV light to stimulate cells on the scalp and undo some of the damage done over time.
There are also more experimental treatments ranging from advanced acupuncture to platelet-rich plasma, stem cell injections, and more. Trans men should write off any of these methods and explore everything on the table.
Now that hair transplants are widely accepted and more attainable than ever, the trans community has jumped on board and is getting great results. Both men and women on their transition journeys are seeking hair transplants to accelerate their results and achieve the appearance they’ve always wanted.
The mechanics of a hair transplant are no different for trans men, with FUE and FUT “strip surgery” still being the main two options. The chosen method could depend upon the volume of hair required to attain the ideal outcome and the level of scarring tolerated by the patient.
For trans people in particular, what matters most is the consultation process when planning out a hair transplant. These patients may have a unique and specific idea of what they want in terms of hair placement that surgeons should acknowledge and fulfill.
This makes choosing a hair transplant surgeon so important for trans patients who want the highest level of support and technical proficiency for their treatments.
You can browse Jae Pak MD Medical’s before and after photo gallery to rest assured that our staff has a strong track record across the board.
Thinning hair does tend to impact trans men, but between the foresight, the support, and the wonders of modern medicine, you have a great degree of control over the situation.
The key is to get ahead of the problem ASAP, which may mean utilizing medicines and treatments before the first signs of hair loss even occur. When thinning does begin, quick and confident action is essential to get results!
Work with a hair restoration expert who leads the field with trans patients — connect with Jae Pak MD Medical today!
Hair Loss Among Trans Patients | Practice Update
Androgenetic alopecia in transgender and gender diverse populations: A review of therapeutics | ScienceDirect
Hudson’s Guide: Hair Loss Information and Treatment Options | FTM Guide
Speak with Jae Pak, M.D. today!Request a Consultation