Balding can be a shock for many men, especially when they weren't expecting it. It is a gradual process, and more often than not, the first signs of it are a receding hairline or a few lost hairs at the crown of the head. But don't despair! There's a lot you can do to prevent it, or embrace it.
The majority of the fear resides in the unknown, but the more you know about the process, the more you can prepare for it. Whether you choose to embrace it, or fight it, it's your decision to make. This article contains some information that may help you make that decision.
What Causes Male Balding?
DHT: The typical cause for male hair loss, or male pattern balding, is caused by an overproduction of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. The body produces testosterone, which, when converted to DHT, causes hair loss. DHT is responsible for making hair follicles smaller and less effective at producing healthy hair.
Genetics: It's important to recognize that this is a natural process, not a disease. The body is set up to lose hair, and it will do so. Male balding is genetic, and will affect about 50% of men by the age of 50, but the good news is that there are ways to prevent it, or at least delay it.
Alopecia Areata: Another cause for balding that's a little more difficult to prevent is a condition called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is a condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles, causing them to shrink and stop producing hair. Alopecia areata is mostly brought on by stress, but it can also be genetic.
All sorts of factors may be at play when it comes to hair loss. Many of these antagonizers are not enough individually to cause hair loss, but they can when in conjunction with each other.
Smoking: Smoking has been proven to increase the risk of male balding. It can cause an increase in DHT in the blood, which is what causes hair loss. Smoking also has an effect on the blood vessels, which is also a factor in male balding.
Healthy Diet: Diet can have a huge impact on the production of testosterone, DHT, and other hormones in the body. A healthy diet can help prevent male balding, while an unhealthy diet can cause it. Food contains many vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair, so it's important to eat right. Eating less animal products and dairy has been shown to improve hair growth.
Stress: Stress can be a huge factor in balding. Studies have shown that people who are under a lot of stress have a higher risk of hair loss. Stress can cause a rise in DHT in the body, which causes hair loss. It also causes a rise in the stress hormone cortisol, which causes hair loss as well. Stress is difficult to prevent, but if you can manage it, you can help prevent balding.
Lack Of Sleep: Sleep deprivation has always been linked to stress, but it's also been linked to hair loss. Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of hair loss. This is especially true for people who suffer from sleep apnea.
Excessive Sun: Too much exposure to the sun can cause a big spike in DHT levels in the body, and that can lead to hair loss. It's important to wear a hat and protect your scalp from the sun if you don't want to lose your hair.
High BMI: A high body mass index (BMI) has increased risk of male balding. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight, and while some people believe it's an inaccurate way of measuring health, it does have some validity. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have excessive levels of DHT in the body, which causes hair loss.
Excessive Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to male balding. The body metabolizes alcohol into sugar, which causes spikes in blood sugar levels. This can cause excessive levels of DHT in the body
Am I Going Bald?
The first step to male balding prevention is to understand if you are losing your hair or not. Male balding is a gradual process, so it's often hard to tell if you're suffering from it.
The easiest way to tell if you're suffering from male pattern balding is to look at the front of your hairline. If it's receding, you're likely suffering from male pattern balding at some point in the future. If it's not, there's a good chance you're not balding.
Take a look at a picture of yourself from a few years ago. It's important to note that male balding, like most other factors in hair loss, is a gradual process. If you're going bald, it's going to be a slow process. If you're going bald quickly, you may have a nutritional deficiency or an underlying condition, and you should seek advice from your doctor.
True/False Signs of Balding
A number of factors can cause male balding. It's important to recognize the signs because the earlier you recognize you're suffering from male pattern balding, the more options you have for treatment.
My father/brother/grandfather became bald, and I am losing hair. — True. Genetics plays a role in male pattern baldness. If you have male balding in your family, there's a good chance you'll go bald as well.
I have stress/anxiety/depression. — False. While stress can bring on male balding, these conditions are typically not a primary reason for male balding. You'd typically need another reason, like DHT, to experience balding over these conditions.
I have high cholesterol. — True. High cholesterol can cause male pattern balding. The vitamin B3, or niacin, can help lower cholesterol and help prevent male pattern balding.
I have high blood pressure. — True. High blood pressure can cause male pattern balding.
I work in an industry that exposes me to high levels of pesticides/chemicals. — True. Chemicals used in industry are known to cause balding.
Medical Conditions That Cause Hair Loss
Besides genetics and the natural process of hair loss, many medical conditions can contribute to hair loss.
1. Hypothyroidism. A medical condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone, which can cause hair loss.
2. Anemia. A condition where the body is not producing enough red blood cells. Anemia can cause a lack of iron in the body, which can result in hair loss.
3. Cushing's Syndrome. A condition where the body produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces naturally, but higher levels could be causing hair loss.
4. Alopecia Areata. A condition that causes the body to attack healthy hair follicles, causing hair loss.
5. Stress. It's important to remember that stress can cause hair loss, when in conjunction with other factors, such as a vitamin deficiency. Stress causes many changes in the body, and one of the side effects is hair loss.
6. Vitamin Defencincy. Hair loss can be caused by a lack of vitamins in the body. If you're not getting enough vitamins in your diet, your body may not be able to produce enough hairs, which could cause hair loss.
Treatments for Early Hair Loss
1. Finasteride is a clinically proven hair loss treatment that is available by prescription. It can be used to treat baldness in men, and is often used in conjunction with Minoxidil.
In a study on Finasteride, 83% of men who took the medication reported that they did not experience hair loss, while 28% of those who took a placebo still did. This means that Finasteride is effective for over half of the men who take it at stopping hair loss.
It is important to note that Finasteride stops hair from falling out, but Finasteride does not regrow hair for some men. 66% percent of men saw their hair regrow after taking Finasteride for two years.
2. Minoxidil is a hair loss treatment that is available over the counter. It is used to stimulate blood flow to the scalp to promote hair growth. Minoxidil is not a treatment for male balding, but it can help regrow hair in some men when used in conjunction with Finasteride.
It is important to note that Minoxidil is not a cure for male balding, and it will not regrow the hair that you have already lost. It will only promote growth of healthy hair in some men.
3. Hair transplant surgery is another treatment for male balding. It involves removing hair from other parts of the body and transplanting it to the balding area. While the risk is low, it is possible for a surgery to fail, which means that the surgery will not be effective or grow new hair. Hair transplant surgery can be very expensive, and can cost up to $5,000.
Finasteride is the most conclusive solution for male hair loss, but it’s only available with a prescription. Phoenix Health’s telehealth solution is a low-risk, high-reward alternative to costly medical appointments and long wait times.
Talk to a physician via a text chat from the comfort of your own home about your hair loss and find out if Finasteride is right for you. No camera is required.