One of the finest aspects of our carefree childhood is that we didn’t have to worry about hair loss. Of course, there are a million other advantages, but the fact that two-thirds of men in America will experience some degree of balding before the age of 35—25% of whom will experience male pattern baldness before they’re old enough to drink—shows that a growing number of men are addressing the issue head-on.
There appear to be two factions when it comes to men’s hair loss. There’s the guy who laughs it off—after all, it’s the age of body acceptance and elegant aging. No stress, no fuss, they proudly rock their gleaming heads and live happily ever after. Then there’s the guy who regards his thinning hair and receding hairline as a burden that lowers his self-esteem and negatively impacts his social life.
If you’re listening, both of you: it’s not your fault. The bulk of hair loss is genetic, which means you don’t have much of a choice in the issue. The good news is that there is a lot you can do about it. That is, if you want to.
Why do guys get bald? It’s a subject we hear all too often here at Byrdie Boy, so let’s look at why guys grow bald, what we can do about it, and how we may avoid it. To get the facts straight, we interviewed Board-certified physician Azza Halim, M.D. and the trichologists at Philip Kingsley, the experts in all things hair loss, and addressed the age-old question: Why do men grow bald?
Continue reading to find out what they had to say.
GET TO KNOW THE EXPERT
- M.D. Azza Halim is a board-certified physician.
- The team of trichologists at Philip Kingsley.
Why do guys get bald?
The majority of it is hereditary, albeit the specifics are yet unclear. Some believe it comes from your mother’s side, some from your father’s, and yet others claim it skips a generation. What we do know is that, while the so-called “baldness gene” resides on the X chromosome (the one passed down from our mothers), there are a number of other factors at play.
But the true reason for hair loss may be traced back to three key culprits:
It is as follows: According to Halim, this frequent kind of hair loss, also known as Androgenic Alopecia, affects roughly 50% of males after the age of 35. However, the trichologists at Philip Kingsley warn it might start as early as adolescence. They also claim that it isn’t as easy as losing your hair. “Male pattern hair loss does not imply that your hair is going out.
Rather, it indicates that your individual hairs are gradually becoming thinner and shorter over the course of several years, as a result of numerous successive hair growth cycles.” The cause is a sensitivity in your hair follicles to male hormones known as androgens, notably DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
“If you have hereditary follicular sensitivity, it will be activated sometime after puberty.” Your hair follicles will gradually miniaturize and grow back thinner over time, diminishing the volume and length of your hair and exposing your scalp. “Hair follicles can eventually get so tiny that they stop generating hair entirely,” trichologists explain.
What you can do: Both the trichology team and Halim agree that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing male pattern hair loss. “We must first examine the core reason as well as the kind of hair loss in order to design the best treatment choices for each individual,” Halim explains.
She discusses various treatment options, including hormone balancing to prevent further hair loss and thinning, popular topical medications (both over-the-counter and prescription-only) such as Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine), oral medications such as Finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia), platelet-rich plasma therapy, and hair transplant/FUE grafts.
You may like: How To Use Minoxidil For Hair Loss
Your best bet is to consult a doctor or trichologist—pronto. “The aim,” Halim continues, “is to assess the condition early on in order to reduce loss, thinning, and breaking while also stimulating dormant follicles.” ” If you have common androgenic alopecia, you will most likely see improvements by following a regular hair care routine that includes anti-androgenic scalp treatments, shampoos, and lotions to prevent its advancement.
What it is: This form of male hair loss happens as a result of a stressful event within the body, such as physical or mental trauma, stress, or certain medications.
Essentially, the disruption shortens the hair’s development phase (anagen), resulting in an abnormal number of hairs moving to the shedding phase (telogen), leading to excessive daily hair fall. How much is too much? “It’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs every day on average, as long as they’re coming back,” explain the trichologists. “However, telogen effluvium can cause up to 300 hairs to lose in a 24-hour period.”
They clarify that telogen effluvium may not be as persistent as usual male pattern hair loss and that its degree and impact are proportional to the severity of the underlying cause.
When it happens: If you find yourself with a handful of hair, trichologists advocate looking back two to three months for a possible reason, since telogen effluvium hair loss normally begins six to twelve weeks after the incident that may have prompted it.
What you can do: Even if you’re positive you know what caused your hair to shed, trichologists suggest that seeing your doctor or a trichologist is always your best option if you suspect you have telogen effluvium.
There, you can be checked for other variables that can impact hair development, such as nutritional deficiencies (which we’ll discuss in a moment), thyroid function, and scalp health, and develop a treatment plan.
Factors of Lifestyle
Some research shows that a few lifestyle variables may help explain why men grow bald.
Nutritional deficiencies: According to Halim, a lack of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B6, B12, and E, minerals such as zinc, and other trace minerals can have a negative impact on hair development and renewal in certain people.
What you can do: She suggests eating a diet high in lean proteins as well as nuts, seeds, and healthy fats (all high in omega-3s) to supply your hair with the nutrition it requires to be soft and healthy.
She also emphasizes the importance of exercise in improving general circulation and delivering oxygen and nutrients to your hair.
“Smoking can harm hair by lowering the perfusion of oxygen to hair follicles as well as critical nutrients, as well as inflammation of the hair follicles,” Halim explains.
What you can do is stop smoking.
Thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, numerous prescription medicines, autoimmune illnesses, and diabetes can all contribute to hair loss.
According to Halim, any chronic disease that causes inflammation or interferes with the transport of important nutrients and oxygen to our vital organs, including the scalp and hair follicles, can cause hair thinning and/or loss by prolonging the resting (telogen) phase of the hair cycle.
What you can do: Seeing a doctor or trichologist will almost always include a blood test, which can help diagnose many of the issues described above. From there, you may create a healthy lifestyle that includes an anti-inflammatory diet and other required modifications.
Is it avoidable?
Even while we now know enough to virtually give a course on why men grow bald, there’s still the nagging issue of whether it’s avoidable. Halim gives some insight on the subject. “In order to fully answer the question, we must consider all of the previously described criteria.”
Nutritional deficiencies, for example, are completely avoidable. The hereditary/genetic component, on the other hand, is not. Still, if we are aware of this as part of a patient’s history, we may be able to address treatment alternatives more effectively early on, minimizing loss or thinning.”
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself for your hair loss. It is not only not your fault, but it is also not a terrible thing. From Bruce Willis to Vin Diesel, there are plenty of macho men with bald heads who are doing just well. You’ve got it.