Men Hair Loss - Hair Loss & Hair Transplant Surgery Guide

Why do men lose hair?

Why do men lose hair? It’s a question that has had plenty of people scratching their heads throughout the ages.  And while modern research has shown that baldness is usually caused by a chemical imbalance, understanding the cause is one thing – finding a way to counteract it is another thing completely.

Many men find that losing their hair affects their confidence and their self-esteem. In some cases, the loss of self-esteem can be dramatic and lead to deeper psychological problems, such as agoraphobia. For these sorts of people, it is tempting to try every sort of remedy available in the hope that something will work. But it is important to remember that very few remedies for hair loss are proven.

In this article, we will look at the reasons behind male baldness and the steps that you can take to enable you to cope with it and treat it.

Understanding male hair loss

We all lose hair. Men, women and children. Losing hair is part of the natural cycle of growth. Usually, around 90% of the hair on your head is growing, while the remainder has completed its growth cycle. In a few months time, the 10% of hair that has completed its growth cycle will fall out.

For some men, however, hair loss is a slightly different phenomenon and a different condition to natural hair loss. This condition is usually called ‘male-pattern baldness’ or – to give it its medical title – Androgenic Alopecia. To most of us, it is simply known a ‘going bald’.

Male hair loss is usually inherited and is a genetic trait. Research shows that, most often, it is inherited from the mother’s side of the family. Therefore, if your mother’s father went bald at an early age, it is likely that you will too. Male-pattern baldness usually begins with thinning at the temples and on the crown of the head.

So what causes male-pattern baldness? As we have already mentioned, male pattern baldness has a shared gene.  This gene leads certain men to develop an excess of the chemical dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT is a natural and harmless chemical which every male produces. However, an excess of DHT has the side effect of thinning the hair follicles so much that the hair eventually falls out and is not replaced.

Coping with male hair loss

For many men, baldness is not a condition that causes too many problems or issues. We tend to think of male-pattern baldness as affecting middle-aged men. But for some men, the onset of baldness can happen very early, as early as in their teenage years. This can be a cause of real stress and anxiety.

If you are concerned about hair loss, the first step should be to consult your doctor and to obtain a proper diagnosis. There are a number of factors that can cause male hair loss and, while male-pattern baldness is by far the most common, there are other reasons why you could be losing your hair.

For example, stress can cause hair loss. Patients who are recovering from an illness or a major operation have been known to suffer from temporary hair loss. Similarly, other types of stress within your personal life, such as suffering from grief after a death, can cause temporary hair loss.

There are also other medical conditions that can create hair loss. Sometimes, if you are taking medication for another, unrelated condition, that can result in unexpected side effects such as hair loss. Conditions such as anaemia and an under-active thyroid gland can also lead to hair loss. Finally, hair loss can also occur because of a fungal scalp infection.

Because hair loss can be caused by such a variety of issues, it is definitely worth consulting your doctor before using any over-the-counter treatments. Once other conditions have been ruled out and your doctor has diagnosed your hair loss as male-pattern baldness, you can begin looking at how to combat it.

Stopping male hair loss

Feeling self-conscious about hair loss is not a new phenomenon. Weird and wonderful remedies for curing baldness have been recorded throughout the centuries. Julius Caesar applied a mix of ground horse tooth and deer marrow to his bald pate. While the father of medicine, Hippocrates, advocated a blend of cumin, pigeon droppings, horseradish and beetroot – not the most attractive thought if you’re getting ready to go to work!

The bad news for Julius Caesar and every other man who suffers from male-pattern baldness, is that there is no medically proven way to stop the condition. For some men, it is plain and simply a fact of life and something they have to learn to live with.

Treating male hair loss

Treatments for male-pattern baldness are many and varied. They range from complex drug treatments to simple cosmetic devices. The type of treatment that is right for you is therefore dependent on your lifestyle. It is important to remember that, whichever type of treatment you choose, it will not cure your baldness. It will counteract it. So treatment will necessarily be ongoing.

Generally, remedies for male-pattern baldness can be divided into two groups. There are the purely cosmetic approaches that simply disguise the conditions. Then there are the pharmaceutical approaches that will help to block DHT and improve vitamin supply to the hair follicles.

There are a number of cosmetic approaches on the market that will help to disguise male pattern baldness, which range from wigs and toupees to cosmetic concealers which help to thicken the thinning areas of hair. At the more expensive end of the scale is hair transplant surgery, which has become far more sophisticated in recent years.

In terms of pharmaceutical treatments, there is a multitude of products on the market. However, only two ingredients have been proven to help counteract hair loss. The first is called Minoxidil, which usually comes in lotion form. The second is called Finasteride, which is usually prescribed in tablet form.

Don’t forget, these treatments are only for male-pattern baldness and they are not appropriate for every type of hair loss. For example, if your hair loss is due to anaemia, rather than androgenic alopecia, you will require an entirely different type of treatment. Therefore, it is essential that you consult your doctor before embarking on any course of treatment.

Because these treatments only counteract baldness, rather than curing it, you have to use them continuously. If you stop using your chosen treatment, you will continue to lose hair.

Hopefully, this article has given some useful background information on male-pattern baldness and how to counteract it. If you would like to know more about treatments, or about specific products, you can get much more detail in the other articles on this site.