Hair loss is something that most men experience in their lifetime, and around 85% notice some degree of hair thinning or balding by the age of 50. While it usually doesn’t indicate a dangerous medical condition, it can be distressing for men of any age to experience hair loss. Scientists have been hard at work for centuries to figure out causes and solutions.
There is no medical consensus on the exact cause of hair loss, and no cure yet exists, but enough is known about the condition to help men identify and address the issue at various stages.
With the right information and guidance from a medical professional specializing in hair loss, thinning and balding may be slowed and potentially restored with various treatments. This is what you need to know about hair loss in men to stay ahead of the problem.
Male Pattern Baldness, also known by its scientific name Androgenetic Alopecia, is the most common hair loss in men. In this condition, healthy follicles on the scalp begin to weaken over time, producing thinner, shorter hair that offers less coverage and density.
This process of Miniaturization typically leads to further weakening of follicles on the scalp, and eventually, these hairs may stop growing altogether. Apoptosis, the dying of follicle cells, follows a similar pattern in most men, characterized in the Norwood Chart of male pattern baldness. Hair around the back and sides of the head appear to be immune to this process.
The cause of genetic balding seems to be related to the interaction of androgens, hormones responsible for male sexual characteristics like deep voice, and the life cycle of the healthy follicle cells of the scalp. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the primary androgen at play and is thought to disrupt the growth of healthy hairs by impacting these life cycles.
For this reason, hair loss medications such as Finasteride work to manipulate DHT levels in the scalp to minimize interference with normal follicle function.
Genetic hair loss is by far the most common cause, but men may also experience balding due to traumatic injury, adverse reaction to medication, stressful life events, or autoimmune problems such as Alopecia Areata.
Overall health, age, other hormones, and lifestyle factors may also contribute to hair loss.
Does wearing a baseball cap every day mean your hair will fall out early? Are you more prone to balding if you lift weights or perform at a high level athletically? Is it true that the balding “gene” is inherited from your mother and not your father?
These are all fair questions, but the answers aren’t so cut-and-dry as some may think.
Wearing a hat frequently will not impact hair’s health on the scalp, especially if the fit is somewhat loose. However, a very tight-fitting hat that causes heavy friction on the head may not be healthy for follicles under constant pressure.
If you choose to wear a hat, keep it fairly loose and avoid constant daily use if possible.
On the question of maternal inheritance, there is no science to back up that common claim. Researchers have discovered that DNA coding for male pattern baldness involves more than one gene and can be inherited from either parent.
The presence of these genes also does not guarantee they will be expressed, meaning a man may experience no hair loss despite his DNA.
Finally, there’s the myth of the bulky bodybuilder who went bald from lifting weights and high-intensity workouts. While testosterone does play a role as a precursor to DHT, it does not appear to be linked to physical activity. However, exogenous hormones may indeed boost androgen activity and result in hair loss if not taken carefully.
Men tend not to notice hair loss until it’s too late, and it’s important to address the issue early on to obtain the best treatment.
The best way to assess hair loss is to compare current photographs of the scalp with ones taken months ago. It is difficult to get a 360-degree view in the mirror, and friends or spouses may not notice the gradual pattern of hair loss either.
While men may observe things like hair collecting in the shower drain or accumulating on the pillow, these tend not to be clear indicators of true hair loss, as some degree of shedding is normal for most adult males.
Men should keep an eye out for thinning and receding hair in the well-known problem areas along the temples, hairline, and crown. If sudden hair loss occurs in unpredictable patches or is accompanied by inflammation and pain, this is cause to seek medical attention.
There is no sure way to predict whether a man will experience balding in his lifetime, even if family members have shown hair loss in prior generations.
Doctors agree that as men age, the likelihood of hair loss increases, meaning that men should be vigilant about tracking and spotting hair loss patterns as they enter their 30s, 40s, and beyond.
Genetics will ultimately determine when and how hair loss occurs, but men may reduce hair loss severity by leading low-stress, healthy lifestyles with proper diet and nutrition.
As mentioned, the earlier hair loss is detected, the better. Even if a man suspects a receding hairline or bald patch, it’s recommended that they seek guidance from a reputable hair loss specialist rather than a general practitioner.
An expert in the field of hair loss and restoration will offer a professional perspective on the best course of action, whether it’s a preventive treatment, natural supplementation, alternative therapies, or surgical procedures such as transplants.
A successful hair restoration process starts with a consultation with a hair transplant expert who truly wants to understand your personal goals. Dr. Jae Pak of Jae Pak M.D. Medical is a board-certified physician and a hair transplant artist with 15 years experience. With a complementary background in engineering, Dr. Pak uses precision-like skill to bring his patients a natural and balanced hair line they can be proud of.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Pak today and discover what hair transplants can do for you.
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