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May 28, 2020 • read
How to prevent hair loss & prolong going bald
You see it in the mirror one day…your hairline is looking a bit thinner. At the top of your head is the hint of a bald spot.
Losing your hair can be a jolt to your self-esteem. Lots of men report that going bald makes them feel less attractive, as society unfairly prizes a youthful appearance.
We all lose 50-100 strands of hair everyday through normal activities like washing, combing, and styling our hair. That’s perfectly normal and isn’t a cause for concern. With balding, there’s more going on than losing a handful of strands.
What are the causes of baldness?
The official term for male pattern baldness is androgenic alopecia. The three main contributing factors to hair loss are genetics, age, and hormones. They all play intertwining roles.
The normal hair growth cycle consists of three phases: growth, rest, and shedding. More scientifically, these phases are also called anogen, catogen, and telogen respectively.
The growth phase of a hair usually lasts two to six years. With normal hair growth, the hair that grows is dark and coarse, and is known as a terminal hair. For people with androgenic alopecia, this phase is shortened to just a couple months or weeks. When this change happens, it’s called miniaturization. The hairs that grow are effectively baby hairs.
During the second phase of hair growth, the resting phase, the base of the hair shrivels. Then in the shedding phase, the hair falls out and the cycle begins all over again.
Here’s where baldness, genes, age, and hormones all come together. Some males have greater sensitivity to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shortens the growing cycle of your hair. If you’re sensitive to DHT, you’ll see early signs of baldness. This sensitivity can be passed down from either parent, and is most common amongst caucasians. You’re more likely to become sensitive to DHT as you get older. By the age of 50, approximately 85% of men will experience significant hair thinning. As men get older, hair loss only becomes more common.
How can you prolong going bald?
If you’re concerned about going bald and want to put it off as long as possible, the first thing to do is to see a dermatologist. There are lots of gimmicks on the market that claim to be a baldness cure, but they’ll mostly just drain your wallet.
A dermatologist will ask you a long list of questions to get a good idea of your overall health and genetic factors. Then, they may suggest an alopecia treatment option. Two common options are as follows:
- Prescription hair loss medicine, such as finasteride. Finasteride works by lowering levels of DHT in your scalp.
- Surgeries such as hair transplants, scalp reduction, scalp expansion, or scalp flaps.
Finasteride has been shown to improve hair loss by 30% within six months of treatment. Dermatology patients also report quite high satisfaction levels with hair transplant results.
Tips to slow hair loss
Sometimes hair loss is exacerbated by lifestyle factors. Here are some steps you can take to optimize your health and prevent hair loss:
- Wash your hair gently, and always use a conditioner.
- Don’t heat style or colour your hair.
- Eat a healthy, calorically-efficient diet.
- Get enough iron in your diet.
- Take care to not consume too much vitamin A in your diet.
- Manage your stress levels.
- Use minoxidil, an over-the-counter topical medication.
- Stop smoking.
- Get a blood test to see if you’re low on any nutrients.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to override genetics. If either of your parents experienced hair thinning, there’s a higher chance that you will too. Luckily there are many hair loss treatments for extending your healthy, youthful head of hair.
If you’re starting to lose hair, it’s important to see a dermatologist right away. It’s easier to slow the balding process when you only have minimal hair loss, versus having most of your hair gone. You can see a dermatologist online for added convenience. While you can’t totally cure alopecia, hair loss prevention is definitely possible. No baseball caps for a while!