What is male pattern baldness and how to address it?
According to research by webmd.com, as many as 85% of men will suffer from some extent of hair loss during their lifetime. Of all the types of hair loss men can suffer from, male pattern baldness is the most common.
However, just because male pattern baldness is something that’s common doesn’t mean it’s something you have to live with. Thankfully, a number of forms of treatment are available for men who would like the appearance of a full head of hair.
For example, if your hair loss isn’t too noticeable, then you may be able to apply a topical medication like minoxidil to the top of your scalp. Alternatively, if your hair loss has reached a stage where you can no longer hide it, then you may be able to get a hair transplant from a provider like gethair.co.uk.
But, before we look into detail at the potential ways you can address male pattern baldness so you can decide which solution is best for you, let’s take a look at the causes of male pattern baldness and assess whether it can be prevented.
The causes of male pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness starts when your hair’s growth cycle weakens. This means that initially your hair follicles will start to shrink and produce shorter, thinner hairs. Eventually, this growth cycle will stop entirely and no more hairs will be produced by your hair follicles.
Generally speaking, male pattern baldness is caused by one of the following factors:
- Family history: if your dad and your grandad both suffered from male pattern baldness, it’s likely you will as well
- Hormonal changes: some people who take prescription drugs to regulate their hormones suffer from hair loss as a side effect
- Medical conditions: issues such as alopecia can cause hair loss, as can the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania
- A vitamin deficiency: if your diet is poor then you may get too much vitamin A or too little iron. Both of these issues can cause hair to fall out
- Hairstyles: if you keep a tight hairstyle like a ponytail, braids or cornrows, then you may suffer from traction alopecia. This is usually reversible, but if scarring occurs your hair loss could be permanent.
Can male pattern baldness be prevented?
Sadly, there’s no way to prevent male pattern baldness from occurring. However, stress is a factor that can contribute towards the onset of male pattern baldness and this is one factor that you can control. So, if you’re worried about potentially losing your hair, try to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
In addition, you should also make sure you don’t start to stress if you see a few hairs fall out when you’re in the shower or if you’re brushing your hair. This is because as humans we lose 50-100 hairs per day according to aad.org, and many of these are only falling out because they’re being replaced by new ones. As the human scalp contains more than 100,000 hair follicles anyway, the loss of 100 a day is just a drop in the ocean.
Ways to address male pattern baldness
If there aren’t any underlying heath conditions causing your male pattern baldness, there are treatments available that can make it appear as though you have a fuller head of hair.
Wigs, hairpieces and weaves
If you’ve lost a substantial amount of hair, a wig or hairpiece can be used to cover your thinning hair. However, it can be difficult to make these look natural, so it may be worth consulting with a professional wig stylist who can help you find a natural look.
If a wig or a hairpiece is insufficient, then consider a weave, which is sewn into your natural hair. Unlike a wig or a hairpiece, a weave will always stay on. However, you’ll need to have enough natural hair to sew it into and you’ll need to have it refitted regularly.
If you’re slowly losing your hair and you’d like to slow the loss, then you can use medications like minoxidil or finasteride.
However, you need to be aware that these medications will take at least three months to take effect and you’ll also start to lose your hair again as soon as you stop taking the medication. In addition, each of these medications has side effects, which have been outlined by healthline.com. Before you begin taking medication, you should consult with your doctor.
If you’d like a natural-looking full head of hair and you’re not too concerned about the cost, consider getting a hair transplant. These work by removing the functioning hair follicles at the back of your head where there’s active hair growth and moving them to the thinning or bald area.
However, you need to be aware that this is an invasive surgery and you’ll need to take a local anaesthetic as part of the procedure.
Sadly, male pattern baldness is a common problem among men of all ages. However, if you’re starting to lose your hair there are steps you can take. Try to remove as much stress as you can from your life and then, depending on how serious your hair loss is, consider one of the above options to help you address the situation.