Most men never forget that feeling.
That feeling when you first look in the mirror and start to notice a pale spot on your scalp with thinning hair.
Oftentimes, it can feel like a lonely and unwinnable battle going up against your DNA and the hair gods, but not to fear — there are several hair loss remedies, actions, and medications you can start using to slow down the male pattern baldness.
We'll cover everything you need to know about how to prevent male pattern baldness, including the following:
Let's dive in.
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, refers to hair loss or the thinning of hair in men, usually at the hairline or crown of the head. This often leaves a horseshoe-like pattern of hair.
Although it usually affects older men, it can affect young men as well.
Male pattern hair loss (baldness) is very common. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 50% of men over 50 have some extent of male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness genetics respond to certain hormones in the body.
Unfortunately, there aren't any tests that can predict whether you'll have it or not, but people often tend to have family members with similar hair loss.
How is male pattern baldness inherited? Common wisdom says that baldness originates from genetics.
To better understand this hair loss, let's take a look at the normal hair growth cycle. Normally, most hair stays in the growth phase (anagen phase) for 3 to 6 years before falling out. New hair will then take its place.
But in male pattern baldness, the hair follicles have a much shorter growth phase (weeks to months) before falling out. Those same follicles also shrink over time, leaving shorter and thinner hair.
What's left is thinning hair and bald patches on the head.
Other factors can contribute to hair loss. These include the following:
Although they don't usually cause male pattern baldness, they can speed it up.
Many men wonder how long male pattern baldness lasts. Depending on the person, it can take anywhere from 5 to 25 years to lose all of their hair.
Read more: Male Hair Loss and Dandruff
If you are losing hair at the temples or crown of your head, it may be one of many male pattern baldness symptoms. Other men lose hair in a single spot, while others' hairlines recede into an "M" shape.
But the best way to determine if you have male pattern baldness is to be diagnosed by a doctor. After asking you questions about your hair loss and genetics, they'll examine your scalp for signs of thinning or baldness.
Usually, special tests aren't needed to diagnose it. You may be referred to a dermatologist for a more detailed check-up to confirm your doctor's diagnosis.
Because hair loss is such a widespread problem, there are several male pattern baldness treatments that can prevent or treat hair loss. Here are 10 potential remedies that you can use if you're wondering what to do with male pattern baldness.
1- Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
There are a couple of popular FDA-approved medications that are used to treat male pattern baldness. Some are prescription medications, and some are over-the-counter.
These meds typically can take 4 to 6 months to start seeing results.
2- Hair Transplants
If you are financially and emotionally prepared for something as serious as surgery, you can consider doing a hair transplant.
Two popular procedures are used.
3- Laser Treatment
Laser treatment for hair loss is a safe, non-invasive treatment that stimulates hair follicles to grow fuller and thicker.
Although there hasn't been much research done on the effectiveness of laser treatments, it is considered to be effective at treating male pattern baldness.
4- Stop Smoking
Did you know that quitting smoking can help decrease hair loss?
Recent research studied the prevalence of male pattern baldness in over 1,000 men. They found that the majority of smokers were affected by male pattern baldness, while only a small minority of non-smokers had it.
5- Maintain a Balanced Diet
Keeping a healthy diet is vital to keeping your body running at peak performance. This includes your hair, too.
A study conducted in 2019 studied the role of several vitamins and minerals in hair loss.
High-protein foods, iron-rich foods, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were all shown to have a pivotal role in healthy hair.
Foods that have these include:
Add these to your diet along with plenty of water to maintain healthy hair.
6- Reduce Stress
Several studies have shown that stress and hair loss can be closely related.
There are several ways to incorporate stress relief activities into your daily life, such as the following:
By reducing stress, you can lower the number of hair follicles that are pushed into the resting phase, causing further hair loss.
7- Alternative Remedies
Although not 100% proven, several natural remedies for hair loss are available and have some evidence of encouraging hair growth. Some of these include:
Again, research on these remedies is limited but does show promise as natural remedies for hair loss.
8- Hair Care Changes
The way you handle your hair on a daily basis can also help or hinder your hair growth.
Be gentle with your hair when styling it. If you pull or keep your hair tight, it can lead to further hair loss.
Avoid tight hairstyles like cornrows, braids, or buns.
9- Avoid Harsh Chemical treatments
Keep your hair away from chemicals that may damage your hair. This includes popular hair treatments such as:
Although these won't cause male pattern baldness, they can damage your hair, leading to further hair loss.
10- See a Doctor
Before you jump to conclusions about what is causing your hair loss, it's important to see a doctor first to rule out any other causes.
Besides genetics, there are several medical conditions that can contribute to hair loss, including the following:
That's just scratching the surface. Make sure to consult with a professional to see what the best treatment for your condition might be.
Male pattern baldness doesn't happen overnight. It's a gradual process, which can make it hard to spot. That being said, the earlier you take action to prevent it, the more hair you can save.
Whenever you spot early signs of hair loss, you can take steps to facilitate baldness prevention. Those early signs include:
The second you begin to start seeing any of these signs, see a doctor. They'll be able to help you pinpoint the origin of your hair loss. From there, you can begin taking medication as well as following any of the tips that were in this article as early as possible.
That's everything you need to know about how to prevent male pattern baldness.
Like any other sign of aging, it can be a tough time when you realize you need to start preparing for hair loss, but you don't need to go through it alone. Talk to your doctor. Many products can help slow down the process or, at times, reverse it.
Do you have more questions? Here are five more frequently asked questions regarding hair loss that we may not have covered in this article:
1- Is it normal to lose hair every day?
Yes. The average person loses anywhere from 50 to 150 hairs a day, and this is considered normal.
2- How many phases of hair growth are there?
Three. These phases included the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Anagen is the active or growing phase. Catagen is where natural hairs break down. Telogen is the resting phase.
When you shed hair, it is usually in the telogen phase of the cycle.
3- Is it possible that pulling my hair is causing excessive hair loss?
Yes — the medical term for constant hair pulling or twisting is trichotillomania. It is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This can contribute to hair loss.
There are treatments available, such as cognitive-behaviour theory and prescription medicines.
4- How long do the hairs on your head live normally?
For three years. They "live" on your head in the anagen phase for a period of three years, then enter the telogen phase.
5- How much of my hair is in its resting (telogen) phase at any point in time?
Usually, around 10% of your hair is in the three-month telogen phase. At this point, those hair roots will shrivel up and fall out, which contributes to the normal 100 lost hairs a day. If you look at the hairs you lose, if you see a tiny little white "club" at the end, those are hairs that you naturally lost during the telogen phase.