Most men experience hair loss as a natural result of changing hormone levels that occur later in life, but young men may experience similar hair loss patterns early, such as in their 30s, which can be alarming. We strongly encourage men to immediately address their hair loss to protect the hair they still have. By the time you first notice your hair thinning with the naked eye, you’ve already lost about 50% of your hair.
Approximately 50 million men in the United States suffer from thinning hair, hair loss (also known as alopecia), and eventually complete baldness. Depending on age and race, about 40% of all men can expect some hair loss by age 35. Although losing hair volume is a natural part of the aging process, many men are self-conscious about their thinning hair and experience low self-esteem and even depression. Fortunately, many treatment options have proven successful with high satisfaction rates.
What causes hair loss in men?
A chemical known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone) breaks apart the male hormone testosterone, which causes individual hair follicles to shrink. Over time, the hair follicles lose their ability to regenerate new hair. The hair follicles do retain the ability to support living hair cells that are genetically programmed to grow cyclically. So when hair follicles are removed from the posterior scalp and transplanted to balding or thinning areas, those follicles will continue to grow hair. The results are natural-looking and effective.
Before hair loss can be addresses, the cause must be determined. The most common reasons for men losing hair include:
Male-pattern baldness is passed down through both sides of the family. You may think that there’s no hope against your genes, but many men have seen great success with hair transplants and prescription hair medication called Propecia.
Contrary to popular belief, stress is the least common cause of thinning hair. Medically termed telogen effluvium, this type of hair loss is sudden, temporary, and diffused throughout the scalp. It is not characterized by a receding hairline or crown. Your hair returns once the stressor is removed from your life. If you can’t remove the cause of stress, try exercising daily or enrolling in behavioral therapy. You should see your hair return to its normal thickness after approximately six months.
Poor health choices (i.e. diet, smoking)
If your hair thinning is a result of poor health choices, you’re actually experiencing hair shedding, which is temporary and easier to address than hair loss. Your hair needs nutrients to maintain a healthy, luscious look. Make sure you’re getting your daily requirement of iron, protein, zinc, and biotin. Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle and if applicable, quit smoking.
Men should expect some hair loss during the natural aging process. Over time, scalp hair follicles shrink and the hair grows shorter and finer until the follicle completely stops generating new hairs. Although some men are content embracing the consequences of their advanced years, others seek a solution to prevent continual hair loss. Prescription medication, hair lotion containing Minoxidil, or hair transplants are hair restoration options to address the aging process.
Even for men, severe hairstyles such as man buns, cornrows, tight braids, and harsh hair products can cause thinning hair. To restore your hair to its natural thickness, be gentle during styling, don’t pull or damage the roots, use medical-grade shampoos and conditioners, and avoid dying your hair too often.
Medical illness / Medication
Hair loss may result from serious medical illnesses such as diabetes or lupus. It can also occur as a reaction to medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners) and excess vitamin A supplements (retinoid drugs). Talk to a doctor to find out if this could be a possible cause of your hair loss.
Psoriasis is an inherited skin disorder that commonly affects the scalp. Caused by the immune system accidentally attacking the patient’s own cells, Psoriasis leaves white flakes similar to dandruff on the scalp and often contributes to temporary hair loss. In this case, a medical-grade shampoo is the most effective treatment to restore thinning hair.