Most men experience hair loss at some point in their lives. It's when the hair loss is noticeable and affects how you look and feel, that it becomes a problem.
There is a great deal of information out there online about hair loss, for both men and women, but not all of it is backed by science. Many hair products, for example, claim to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth, but don't provide evidence to back up their claims. This article is designed to provide you with a review of the current evidence-based research regarding hair growth and hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss In Men?
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Genetic factors mediate male pattern baldness, but the exact cause of this genetic predisposition is unknown. It is known that the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is converted from the male hormone testosterone, plays a role in the development of male pattern baldness.
The majority of men experience a receding hairline and/or thinning on the top of the head. These changes are often accompanied by a widening of the part. In severe cases, there may be a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair around the back and sides of the head. Eventually, the hairline and the “horseshoe” progress to complete baldness.
Genetics is the biggest factor when it comes to hair loss in men. A strong family history of hair loss is a key indicator that a man will likely experience this problem. It is important to understand that genetics can play a role in the speed of hair loss, as well as its severity.
Other factors include diet, age, stress, and overall health.
How Does Hair Growth Work?
Hair growth is a dynamic process that involves a delicate interaction of hormones, genetics, and the environment. Hair grows in a cycle. It has a long growth phase, a short transitional phase, and a resting phase. When you have a hair loss problem, it is most likely due to a problem with one or more of these cycles.
The growth phase is the active phase of the hair growth cycle. Hair grows around half an inch per month in this phase. The active growth phase of the hair is controlled by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone. DHT plays a key role in male pattern baldness. Men who experience male pattern baldness have higher levels of DHT than men who do not.
During the resting phase, the hair follicle shrinks to about half its size. The hair is completely enclosed by the sheath. The resting phase is controlled by the hormone testosterone. Testosterone inhibits the DHT that stimulates hair growth.
The transition phase is when the hair follicle switches from the growth phase to the resting phase. The hair is no longer growing but is still in the follicle. This is a brief transitional phase.
The hair follicle goes through the growth, transition, and resting phases in a continuous cycle.
How To Make Your Hair Grow Faster
There are different things to consider when asking yourself how you can help stimulate hair growth, all starting with lifestyle changes.
Stress: If you are under a great deal of stress, you may want to consider stress management techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Yoga, meditation, and exercise have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be a factor in hair loss.
Smoking: Smoking can cause hair loss, so quitting smoking may be the easiest way to improve the look and feel of your hair. It's also much better for your overall health.
Diet: A healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your body. Eating a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can improve the look of your hair, and keep it from falling out. Eating plant-based foods that are high in protein can support hair growth. Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and tofu are all great sources of protein that are low cholesterol and healthier than a high-protein animal-based diet.
Medication: If you are currently taking medication, you should ask your doctor if the medication could be causing your hair loss. There are many drugs that can interfere with hair growth (and even cause hair loss) including heart medication, antidepressants, and more.
Sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and well-being. In addition, it may help to prevent hair loss.
Exercise: Regular exercise can improve your overall health, reduce stress, and help you to lose weight. Your overall health is affected by your weight, and exercising may help to improve your hair loss.
There are a variety of OTC solutions for men dealing with hair loss. Most of these solutions are as simple as taking vitamins and supplements. If you are deficient in vitamins or are lacking in certain minerals or nutrients, this can affect your hair growth. For example, zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, while an iron deficiency can cause thinning hair. Vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss in both men and women. Maintaining a balanced diet is the best way to avoid these deficiencies.
If you are concerned about your hair loss, you should consult with your doctor to see if there are any deficiencies that need to be addressed. If you are not at risk for any of these deficiencies, then you should consider seeking treatment that is specifically designed for hair growth.
Biotin: Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential vitamin that can help with hair growth. It is sometimes used in combination with other vitamins to boost the effect. Most multi-vitamin supplements contain some form of biotin. It is important to note that biotin is not a magic bullet for hair growth. Most studies on biotin have found that it is most effective for thickening hair and improving the quality of existing hair.
Vitamin C: Using vitamin C for hair loss has been a popular topic in research for years. Several studies have found that increasing your intake of vitamin C can reduce hair loss. However, these studies have not found consistent results. Non-scalp hair growth has been shown to improve with vitamin C supplementation, but there is little evidence that it will aid hair growth on the scalp. But overall, you can't go wrong with having some extra vitamin C in your diet.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is another vitamin that is commonly recommended for hair growth. Low levels of vitamin D are linked with hair loss, and several studies have found that increasing vitamin D intake is effective in reducing the amount of hair lost.
Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be essential for hair health. A deficiency in omega-3 can cause dry hair and hair loss. There are many foods that contain omega-3, including flaxseed, chia seed, and certain fish. If you are not getting enough omega-3 in your diet, you may want to consider taking a supplement.
Iron: Iron deficiency can cause hair loss in both men and women. In fact, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Most people can get enough iron from their diet, but if you are concerned about your iron levels, you may want to consider taking a supplement.
Phoenix Health Hair Loss Solutions
Finasteride: Finasteride is a drug used to treat male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). It does this by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is involved in converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that causes the follicles to shrink and the hairs to fall out. Finasteride is only active in the scalp and is, therefore, a locally-acting drug.
Finasteride is available through Phoenix Health's convenient telehealth visits. Our visits use the latest HIPAA-compliant technology for secure, private, and high-quality text-based doctor visits.
You can speak to a doctor today about your hair loss from the comfort of your own home. Phoenix Health offers convenient telehealth visits for men's health. Put your mind at ease by scheduling an appointment now.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.