At some point in their lives, most men experience hair loss. Going bald can be a huge blow to the ego, even for the most secure of men. If you’re one of the many men concerned about hair loss, you probably have a lot of questions. Why do some men lose their hair as they age? Is there anything you can do to avoid hair loss? Perhaps most importantly: Is there a hair loss cure? Here’s a quick overview of what causes baldness and what you can do to treat and prevent hair loss.
In this article:
- What Causes Baldness?
- What Hair Loss Treatment Options Are Available?
- The Key Hair Loss Prevention Steps You Can Take Today
Hair Loss Cure | Causes and Treatment Options
What Causes Baldness?
Hair fall can be caused by several conditions. Male pattern baldness, which is also known as alopecia androgenetica or genetic hair loss, is the most frequent cause of male baldness. This type of baldness usually develops gradually. Hair loss will start as a bald spot at the crown with thinning hair at the temples.
Male pattern baldness may begin as early as the teenage years, but most men who have this condition notice it when they are around 30 years old. About two-thirds of the population of men have this condition. Genetic hair loss most often affects Caucasians and Afro-Caribbeans, with those of Chinese, Japanese, and Native American descent rarely experiencing it. As the name suggests, genetic hair loss runs in the family. You have a high chance of developing male pattern baldness if your grandfather or father went bald early in life. A maternal grandfather who went bald is an even stronger sign that you will, too.
The underlying cause of male pattern baldness is related to testosterone. The body converts testosterone to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT promotes the growth of body and facial hair, but scalp hair follicles can become over-sensitive to this hormone. In those affected, DHT can cause scalp hair follicles to shrink and fall out sooner. Replacement hair growth is also reduced. In other words, testosterone can indirectly lead to male pattern baldness.
In addition to male pattern baldness, certain medical conditions and medications can also cause hair loss.
What Hair Loss Treatment Options Are Available?
Currently, there is still no cure for genetic male pattern baldness. However, there are treatment options that can help regrow some hair and prevent further hair loss.
Minoxidil (known as Rogaine)
One of the most popular and well-known male pattern baldness treatments, Rogaine, is applied topically to the scalp. There are two strength formulations: 2% and 5%. It’s recommended to start with the 2% solution and move up to the 5% solution if you don’t see hair growth within three months. Rogaine can be bought over-the-counter in the United States without a doctor’s prescription, but be on the lookout for adverse reactions to using the product.
Expect to wait for several months to see any results from Rogaine. Most people need to use Rogaine daily for six months to a year in order to see significant changes in their hair. Men who have just begun losing their hair typically see better results than those who have already lost a significant amount of hair.
Finasteride (known as Proscar and Propecia)
Unlike Rogaine, finasteride (marketed as Proscar and Propecia) is an oral medication. With a one-milligram daily dose, about 30% to 40% of patients can expect to regrow hair. A greater number of those taking finasteride will experience decreased hair fall. Side effects are rare, with only 2% of patients experiencing them.
Like Rogaine, it takes about six months of regular daily use to see real results. Finasteride’s effectiveness is said to be increased when used in conjunction with Rogaine. As when trying any oral supplement or medication, please do consult with your doctor first.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Another hair loss cure is hair transplant surgery. It can offer real long-term results for treating hair loss in men. Surgeons use grafts to transfer skin from areas at the back of the head that still have hair to sections at the top and front that have gone bald. The most natural looking results can be achieved by transferring plugs of just a few hairs.
There are significant downsides to hair transplant surgery. It’s expensive and can carry risks, like any other medical procedure. In addition, if your hair loss continues, the area around the surgery site can look odd as time passes.
While not approved for use in the United States yet, there is a new drug that is showing tremendous promise in reversing hair loss. Cyclosporine A was initially intended to act as an immunosuppressant following organ transplants. But, clinical trials have shown that it has the potential to be a hair loss cure, as it can enhance hair growth. Additional clinical trials are being performed to test the effectiveness of stem cells at regrowing hair. While these solutions have yet to become available to the public, they do offer promise for the future.
The Key Hair Loss Prevention Steps You Can Take Today
There’s no way to prevent male pattern baldness. If you’re genetically predisposed to it, you will start to lose your hair eventually. However, you can take steps to slow hair loss.
First, taking minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) before you show signs of significant hair loss has been shown to be effective at slowing down hair loss.
Second, be gentle to your hair. Use a comb instead of a brush, avoid snug-fitting hats, and don’t comb your hair when it’s wet. Some shampoos and conditioners can make your hair appear thicker, making it look like you have more hair than you do.
Your diet can also make a difference in how quickly you lose your hair. Make sure you have enough protein in your diet and eat iron-rich foods such as eggs, green vegetables, and liver. There’s some evidence that consuming wild-caught fish, green tea, bone broth, pumpkin seeds, and moderate amounts of caffeine can also help slow down hair loss. On the other hand, certain foods may actually speed up hair loss. Avoid processed foods, sugar, trans-fatty acids, and alcohol as much as possible.
Check out this video from Seeker about a new way to grow hair:
Of course, even if you take steps to prevent hair loss, there will probably come a time when you have to deal with baldness. One potential hair loss cure may be the answer to your problems. If not, it’s time to accept your baldness and own the shaved-head look. Believe it or not, there can be benefits! A 2012 study revealed that bald men were perceived as taller and stronger than their counterparts with hair, which makes us think hair loss isn’t such a loss after all.
What other promising hair loss cure options do you know? Share them in the comments section below!