Hair Loss in Men
Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Hair Loss in Men
Around two thirds of men experience some form of hair loss by the age of 40, and that figure rises further by the age of 50. Male hair loss much more common than many people think, and it's a problem that's not about to go away any time soon.
Although there isn't a cure for chronic types of male hair loss, there are various treatment options, including topical medications like finasteride and minoxidil, laser light therapy, hair transplantation, orally consumed supplements, topical serums, and micro-needling therapy, to name some. Diet and lifestyle can also play a key role in the overall health of the hair.
So, before we look at the treatment options, let's first look at the main causes and symptoms of baldness and thinning hair in Men.
What are the three types of hair loss in men?
There are three types of hair loss in women (and men): anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL. These three hair loss types cover a wider range of hair loss issues, all categorised within these three types.
- Anagen effluvium - This is usually something caused by harsh medications that damage a growing hair follicle, like chemotherapy, for example. The damage can be temporary, or permanent, depending on the treatment or procedure.
- Telogen effluvium - This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out. This is usually a temporary type of hair loss, but in many cases, it can lead to longer lasting problems.
- Androgenetic alopecia - More commonly known as male pattern baldness (MPB), this type of hair loss is the most common in men (and women). This hair loss type is hereditary. Hair tends to thin and fall out at the crown region of the scalp, and the frontal hairline progressively recedes, and in most cases, leads to baldness.
What are the most common causes of hair loss in men?
There are varying "sub-types" of hair loss in men. Here are the most common ones.
- Male Pattern Baldness - By far, the most common form of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness. This can occur any time in the adult years, more commonly in the 30s and 40s, but it can also occur in younger men, even as early as their early 20s. Male pattern baldness usually starts with thinning at the crown of the head, and also progressive recession at the frontal hairline.
The primary cause of male pattern baldness is a combination of genetic factors and the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone and is thought to play a significant role in shrinking hair follicles, leading to thinner and shorter hair growth cycles. However, not all men with a genetic predisposition to male pattern baldness will necessarily experience significant hair loss, as the severity of hair loss can vary widely.
- Seasonal Shedding - Seasonal hair loss is a temporary form of shedding that occurs during certain parts of the year, depending on each individual. Seasonal hair shedding generally lasts for 2-3 months. It most commonly begins in summer, heightens in fall and can linger around through winter. During wintertime, Telogen levels are the lowest as growth slowly begins again. Seasonal hair loss tends to be more common in women, but many men experience it, too.
Although seasonal shedding is temporary, it can accelerate hair loss in men who already suffer from other types of hair loss, such as pattern baldness, alopecia areata, and traction alopecia, for example. An estimated three quarters of men (and women) are unaware that they experience seasonal hair loss. Like most forms of temporary hair loss phases, seasonal hair loss can be treated and minimised.
- Alopecia Areata - Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss, typically in small, round patches on the scalp or other areas of the body. It can affect both men and women, and it often starts in childhood or early adulthood. The exact cause of alopecia areata is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.
In the case of men, alopecia areata can present in a similar manner as in women. The most common symptom is the sudden onset of one or more round, smooth patches of hair loss. These patches may be very small initially and gradually enlarge over time. In some cases, the hair loss can progress to involve larger areas of the scalp or even the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or the entire body (alopecia universalis).
Alopecia areata is considered an autoimmune disorder because the immune system mistakenly targets the hair follicles as if they were foreign invaders, causing the hair to fall out. While the hair follicles are not permanently damaged in most cases, the exact triggers that lead to this immune response are not fully understood. Genetics also play a role, as having a family history of autoimmune conditions can increase the risk of developing alopecia areata.
There is no cure for alopecia areata, but there are various treatment options available to help manage the condition and stimulate hair regrowth.
How To Treat Hair Loss in MenThere is not a cure for permanent hair loss types such as male pattern baldness, however, there are ways in which it can be treated. Treatments can help slow down and stop hair loss in its tracks, but the effectiveness depends on a number of factors, such as how early you treat it, and what types of treatments are used.
Here are the most common and effective ways to treat hair loss in men.
- Minoxidil - Most commonly sold under the brand name Regaine, or Rogaine, minoxidil is the only medically approved topical treatment for hair loss. Originally developed as an oral medication to treat high blood pressure, it was discovered that one of the side effects of minoxidil was increased hair growth. As a result, minoxidil was later formulated into a topical solution for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness).
Minoxidil is available over-the-counter and comes in various strengths, typically ranging from 2% to 5% for men and 2% for women. It is applied directly to the scalp in the form of a liquid or foam.
- Low Level Laser Therapy - Infrared laser combs, laser brushes, hoods, and caps can help halt hair loss, albeit to a certain extent. When hair follicles absorb laser light at a certain level, it can stimulate hair growth, however, there is not enough evidence to show that any of these devices restore hair or prevent balding, on a large scale. Low-level laser therapy may not be sufficient treatment for hair loss on its own, but it may be effective when used in conjunction with treatments like Minoxidil.
- Ketoconazole - Ketoconazole may help treat hair loss in some cases, such as androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness). It can help reduce the shedding, thicken hair strands, and improve the strength of the hair. Ketoconazole is available as a shampoo. Nizoral is the best known brand and is available to purchase over the counter. However, because Nizoral contains a low concentration (2%) of ketoconazole, stronger concentrations will require a prescription from a doctor.
- PRP - PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy is a three-step medical treatment for hair loss. It is a process in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp. Parts of the medical community think that PRP injections trigger natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft. This procedure can be done alongside other treatments.
- Surgical Procedure - In some cases, surgical procedures, like a hair transplant, will be recommended, usually in the case of patients not reacting well to treatments. Hair transplants can be effective, but they are the most costly treatment for baldness, and they do not always deliver the desired results.
- Micro Needling - Micro needling can be a good option to try if you are experiencing early stages of hair loss. This is a form of treatment whereby tiny wounds are punched into the scalp with a derma roller or derma stamp. The wounds then heal, and during the healing process, protein and collagen is formed, which in turn stimulates the growth of hair.
- Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF) - Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF), also known as Fibroblast Growth Factor 7 (FGF-7), is a protein that belongs to the fibroblast growth factor family. It plays a crucial role in promoting the growth and development of keratinocytes, which are the primary cells found in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). KGF has been studied for its potential role in various biological processes, including wound healing, tissue repair, and hair growth.
- Vitamins - Although there is no evidence to suggest that individual vitamins can encourage the hair to grow faster, deficiencies in specific vitamins can lead to hair loss or thin, brittle hair. Consuming enough of each vitamin in the diet may help keep the hair healthy. Combining various hair beneficiary vitamins into one 'multi-tasking' supplement, can be an effective way to help slow down the rate of hair fall, and increase stronger, healthier hair growth.
- HR23+ - HR23+ Hair Restoration Supplement is a leading hair growth supplement that acts as a safe and natural alternative to harsh chemical treatments and prescription drugs. HR23+ is ideal for men who are treating early stages of baldness and thinning hair. With continued use, HR23+ hair restoration supplement can help prevent excessive hair fall, increase the rate of hair growth and even stimulate hair regrowth. 86% of male users noticed visible improvements in their hair from taking HR23+.