There are various reasons for baldness, some of them temporary and some of them permanent. In the United States alone, about 35 million men have experienced male pattern balding alone. Additionally, two thirds of men will have experienced some level of hair loss by the age of thirty-five, usually a receding hair line or thinning on the crown of the head, and by age fifty, 85% of men will have some thinning hair. That doesn’t mean that baldness won’t occur in youth. 25% of the men who experience balding will start noticing hair loss before they’re twenty-one.
Male pattern baldness is one of the reasons you may be experiencing hair loss, but there are also other factors that may be having an influence on your hair loss. By determining the cause, you may be able to prevent further hair loss, or feel you want to look into a hair replacement system. Either way, at New Image Consultants, we will try to make your choice as easy as possible.
1. Genetic factors
Obviously, the most common cause of male hair loss is a genetic predisposition to do so. Various studies show that up to one in seven men have a genetic predisposition to male pattern baldness that can be passed from either side of your family. Male pattern balding occurs when a bi-product of testosterone, called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attaches to hair follicles and causes them gradually shrink. This in turn causes the hair to become increasingly thinner until baldness occurs as a receding hair line and/or baldness on the crown of the head.
2. Hairstyles and treatments
Hairstyles or treatments that are harsh on hair can contribute to temporary hair loss. Consistent use of rubber hair bands, rollers and barrettes, as well as pulling hair into tight styles (for example, cornrows) can enflame and scar hair follicles. Additionally, the misuse of chemical products, including dyes, bleaches and permanent wave solutions can cause damage, as can straighteners. Whether or not hair loss resulting from the treatment of hair is permanent or temporary depends on the amount to which your follicles are left scarred. When hair can regrow, it may take a couple of years to get to a desirable length, as hair generally grows between half an inch and an inch per month.
3. Illness or surgery
Your body may react to illness or surgery by temporarily ceasing non-essential tasks, including hair production. Specific conditions may also trigger hair loss, including thyroid disorder, syphilis, iron deficiency, lupus or severe infections. Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune condition, may also cause permanent, widespread and rapid hair loss all over the body.
You may find that whilst an illness doesn’t influence hair loss, some medication you’re on may do so instead. The most obvious treatment that can cause hair loss is cancer chemotherapy, which attacks hair follicles in its attempt to kill all fast growing cells in the body. Medications that treat high blood pressure and gout are also known to contribute towards hair loss. As well as this, there are links between excessively high levels of vitamin A and hair loss.
5. Nutritional deficits
Heavy dieting, or eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can temporarily stun hair follicles into ceasing growth, meaning that once your protein, mineral and vitamin levels increase, growth should resume.
A stressful event, such as divorce or bereavement, can cause the body to trigger hair to enter its resting period, and subsequently fall out a few weeks later. Doctors generally believe that it’s the body’s way of taking ‘time out’ whilst addressing bigger issues. In the majority of cases, once the root of your stress has been sufficiently addressed, hair should resume growing normally. As with any regrowth, however, it will take time for your hair to reach its normal length.
Treatments and medications for regrowth
Traditionally used by the film and TV industries to present a character as incompetent, ridiculous and vain, hair loss treatments have traditionally had somewhat of a bad reputation. However, in 2009 the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) conducted a survey to establish whether balding treatments were easily noticeable. They found that when presented with a line-up, three-fifths of participants couldn’t tell which person had undergone treatment to hide baldness.
Hair loss solutions range from mild to extreme, and can range from relatively inexpensive to costly, depending on which method you decide to follow. As well as this, the cost will take into account how much hair is lost and to what extent you wish to conceal its absence or replace it. There are a few options, that all have their pros and cons for you to consider.
1. Anti-inflammatory medications
If your hair loss is due to your hair follicles being enflamed and damaged by harsh chemicals or excessive pulling, you may be prescribed steroid based creams or injections.
2. Transplants and grafts
When you have an (often expensive) hair transplant, you will have healthy hair follicles removed from a donor area of the scalp, usually from the back of the head. They will then be grafted to the bald or thinning areas of your head. The procedure is conducted under local anaesthetic and involves the use of a specialised punch device. After the procedure, you’ll have to wait for regrowth, and whilst the results should be permanent, there may be cases where this is not the case. Scalp reduction is another option, where the bald skin is removed from the scalp, so that the scalp covered by hair can be stretched to fill in the bald areas, however this results in swelling, bruising and discomfort.
3. Non-surgical hair replacements
Non-surgical replacements including wigs, hair pieces and hair systems are one way to mask hair loss. Hair systems in particular are making breakthroughs in ensuring discretion is maintained, and offering a natural look to the men who use them. By utilising a ‘second skin’ technology that bonds with the scalp, you can choose natural or synthetic hair to be bonded individually to the second skin, offering a full and natural looking hair style, without the pain and uncertainty of surgery or medications. Feel free to click here and find out more.