Hair loss is definitely not a new phenomenon. You can look at classical sculptures and Renaissance paintings to see that men have been going bald for millennia, and while civilization has progressed, a hair loss cure is still just out of reach.
Scientists are still trying to figure out the fundamentals of why men lose their hair, and every bit of research brings them closer to a solution.
Today, we’re looking at the many different reasons behind male baldness and highlighting some of the treatments that deliver the best restoration results.
The Most Common Cause
If there is one supervillain causing baldness in men, it’s androgenetic alopecia, which is the culprit for nearly 95% of male pattern baldness cases. No other cause comes close.
How does androgenetic alopecia work, and why is it so devastating to the male hairline?
The basics of the condition are pretty simple, but the details are more complex than we can fathom, which is why no real cure for balding exists. It all takes place in the follicle unit of the scalp, where microscopic structures of hair, muscle, and fat are organized in a way that delicately supports each individual hair.
As boys become men and men become older, these follicle units go through their own life cycles, known as hair cycles, and different parts of the scalp seem to have distinct mechanisms that dictate how fast and strong they grow. That’s why the hair on the back of the neck typically stays around longer than at the front of the hairline, and why we choose specific, intentional donor areas for treatments like Follicular Unit Excision.
Androgens, which are derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone, are thought to be disruptive to the hair cycles of the scalp, especially in those sensitive areas.
DHT is the specific androgen targeted by medications like Finasteride and is considered the main reason why men lose hair. Higher levels of DHT appear to correlate clearly to more rapid and widespread balding in men of all ages.
Without getting too deep into the science, this is the basic reason why the majority of men go bald, and why women and younger men tend not to experience hair loss in the same way. Experts agree that age is one of the main determinants of hair loss severity, with the likelihood of balding increasing by roughly 10% with each passing decade. A man in his 50s has more than a 50% chance of losing his hair, a man in his 60s has a 60% chance, and so on.
Since medical experts agree that early treatment is best for any type of hair loss, men should be ready and able to detect the warning signs of balding and address them immediately when they begin to occur.
While androgenetic alopecia is definitely the primary hair loss concern for men out there, a number of other rare conditions can result in balding as well.
Other hormone problems related to the thyroid gland can be responsible for hair loss in younger men, as well as autoimmune disorders that attack specific patches of hair throughout the body. One of the most devastating conditions of this kind is known as alopecia areata, and it results in unpredictable hair loss patterns, no matter the age of the patient.
Other factors like hypertension and nutritional deficiency can play a role in hair loss as well, so it’s important that men take a holistic approach to self-care in order to help them extend the lifespan of their hair.
Lifestyle and Supplementation
Speaking of lifestyle, let’s talk about some of the doctor-recommended ways that you can ward off early hair loss.
You’ve heard the term “pulling your hair out” over a stressful situation? Well, as it turns out, there’s some scientific truth to the expression!
Too much stress is bad for all the systems of the human body, and the worst type of stress is the chronic, low-level anxiety that many people suffer from today.
An overload of work, money problems, or personal issues can negatively impact the immune system and lead to early hair loss, so try to chill out and avoid taking on more responsibility than you can handle.
One of the best ways to combat stress in a healthy way is to work out!
Hair restoration specialists tend to agree that a good exercise routine is a key to keeping the blood flowing throughout the entire body, including the scalp. Sedentary living is not good for the respiratory and cardiovascular systems either, and keeping these systems healthy are thought to contribute to healthy hair as well.
Think about it – the nutrients we get from food need to be delivered to every corner of the body, including the hair, so the better functioning our internal delivery systems, the more efficiently vitamins and minerals can be transported to the follicle units of the scalp.
In case you’re wondering about overdoing it on testosterone, try to limit exogenous sources like hormone replacement therapy and other supplements that boost the male sex hormone. Remember, testosterone is quickly converted to DHT the older you get, and it can accelerate androgenetic alopecia if you aren’t cautious.
As far as natural oils and ointments go, there’s no harm in trying out Saw Palmetto, Zinc, and Tea Tree oil solutions to help hair remain healthy, though there is not much scientific evidence to back these products up in terms of helping with hair growth.
Treatments That Work
If the natural route is not working out in your favor, it’s worth checking in with a hair restoration specialist and determining a medical path forward.
Topical solutions such as Minoxidil have a great clinical track record and have been proven effective for men under 40 who are first experiencing hair loss. Minoxidil is affordable, accessible, and you’ll know if it’s working in less than 3 months. Plus, it does wonders for women who show signs of hair thinning in middle age.
Finasteride is an oral medication with millions of strong testimonials, and it’s just one pill a day to see some impressive results for hair restoration. Since it acts in DHT molecules, it’s not for the ladies, but men should definitely consider adding it to the regimen after consulting with their doctors.
In terms of surgery, we’re in the golden age for hair restoration procedures.
We touched on FUE earlier on, but there are numerous other non-invasive methods that men have their disposal thanks to modern technology and science.
Scalp MicroPigmentation is a new favorite in the industry and is a great option for men who want to replicate that slick, short-buzzed look.
Medical News Today examined the effectiveness of laser and light therapies, which are also gaining traction in the field, and will likely make major strides in the near future.
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for hair loss, and every man will have a distinct set of needs. That’s why the guidance of an expert physician is so crucial for success.
Today we identified the core cause of male balding: androgenetic alopecia.
This genetic condition is going to happen to the majority of men in their lifetimes, so it really isn’t something to be ashamed of.
It’s up to you to minimize its impact with good lifestyle choices and an aggressive hair restoration protocol when you see the first signs!