Whether you’re experiencing sudden hair loss or the early stages of a receding hairline, balding can be a difficult reality to face. The most effective way to minimise further hair loss and nourish the remaining hair follicles is to begin an early hair loss treatment plan.
How to cope with balding and hair loss
The first step in knowing how to treat balding is to identify the type of hair loss you are experiencing. Excessive hair loss can be caused by genetics, hormonal changes, stressful environments or an underlying medical condition.
If you are experiencing temporary hair loss due to stress or other health issues, the good news is that this type of hair loss is manageable. In most cases, when treated correctly, hair regrowth can occur after the temporary cause of the problem has been addressed.
Although there are many reasons why someone may lose hair throughout their lifetime, the American Hair Loss Association reveals that male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of all hair loss in men. It’s important to understand that, even though the effects of MPB cannot be reversed, there are a number of highly effective solutions for slowing the rate at which hair loss occurs, while also strengthening your remaining hair.
Experiencing thinning hair at a young age
Once upon a time, bald spots and hair loss were most commonly associated with older generations of men. Through changing times, different ways of living and daily lifestyle choices, we are now seeing many men, often as young as 20 years of age, prematurely losing hair.
Initial research into this matter has revealed that, in most cases, the type of hair loss occurring in younger men is due to an early onset of male pattern baldness. Although there is no singular cause for this early onset, stress has been identified as a key factor. Recent studies have revealed that people aged between 25 and 40 years old are reportedly feeling the most pressure, attributing their stress to financial concerns and lack of job security.
As the number of men experiencing hair loss at a young age continues to increase and become a normal part of life, so too does the awareness surrounding the condition.
With this in mind, consider that something as simple as chatting with your barber could make a huge difference in how visible your hair thinning is to others. Adopting a creative new styling technique or opting for a short hair cut may allow you to minimise the appearance of bald spots and even offer the illusion of more hair. When combined with a topical ointment that is prescribed to reduce further hair loss, these simple techniques will help you to regain confidence and turn hair loss worries into a thing of the past.
Understanding how hair grows
Made from a protein called keratin, hair relies on nutrients and nourishment to complete a healthy lifecycle. Although the hair follicle is what we see, the root is the only living element of the hair and is attached to the base of the follicle.
Hair follicles undergo four distinct phases, each of which contribute uniquely to healthy hair growth.
This initial phase sees the development of follicles, as they become visible on the surface of the scalp. As this growth process last between 3 and 7 years, at any given moment up to 90% of all hairs on the head are in the anagen phase.
As the shortest of the four phases, this transitional period lasts only 10 days, as the rate of growth slows and the hair follicles shrink.
During the telogen phase, which lasts approximately 90 days, hair neither grows nor falls out – earning it the well-deserved title of the resting phase.
Also known as the time for shedding, hair falls out naturally during the exogen phase, with the average person losing up to 100 hairs daily.
Causes of hair loss
Many elements of your daily routine and lifestyle have the potential to cause hair loss or even impede hair growth, including:
Genetic factors and ageing
Even as we consider the increasing number of younger men experiencing hair loss, it is important to note that age remains to be a major risk factor for an increased likelihood of hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as male pattern baldness, is caused by a combination of genetics and the body’s production of male hormones.
Poor dietary habits
Time and time again, we hear that a balanced diet is the key to a happy and healthy life. If you want to reduce your chances of hair loss or promote hair regrowth, this time is no different – better food choices may be the answer to your hair loss worries.
Nutritional deficiencies will leave you vulnerable to hair loss, particularly where iron and vitamin D are concerned. While a balanced diet is ideal, supplements can often provide a natural, alternative solution.
Pre-existing medical conditions are a common cause for hair loss, either from the condition itself or from the treatments and medications needed to fight the illness. Harsh treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy are commonly associated with hair loss, while a number of autoimmune diseases are also associated with patchy hair loss.
Some everyday medications also have side effects including hair loss, such as oral contraceptives and medications used to treat high blood pressure.
Types of hair loss
The possible causes of hair loss are widely varied and may be determined by psychological factors, an underlying medical condition or hereditary predisposition.
Hereditary hair loss and male pattern baldness
Also known as androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness (MPB) is a genetic condition that affects more than 50% of men over the age of 50. While the condition itself may be hereditary, the pattern can present differently throughout family members (as a bald spot, receding hairline or both) and most will begin to see the signs of hair loss at different ages in life.
Most commonly known as patchy hair loss, alopecia areata is visible as a sudden onset of circular bald patches on the scalp. Alopecia areata is often seen in people with autoimmune disease, occurring when the body’s own immune system attacks the follicles, preventing hair growth.
One of the most common forms of temporary hair loss, telogen effluvium can be caused by a number of factors and is triggered by physiological stressors. Chronic illnesses, high fevers, surgical trauma and eating disorders can all lead to telogen effluvium.
Other side effects of hair loss
While the physical signs of balding are often the most noticeable side effect, hair loss also has the potential to negatively impact emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Diminished self confidence
Although Jason Statham and Bruce Willis have proven, time and time again, that you can be bald and look great doing it, some men will still have trouble coming to terms with hair loss.
A lack of self confidence has the potential to cause a domino reaction, resulting in a number of other health issues. Low self-esteem can make it difficult to socialise with confidence and may also lead to self doubt and poor body image. If these factors aren’t addressed, they have the potential to affect other aspects of your life, such as poor work performance and even problems in the bedroom leading to sexual dysfunction.
Stress, anxiety and depression
It is not uncommon for those experiencing hair loss to develop a range of emotional disorders, including stress, anxiety and depression. Mental health disorders, such as these, can cause either temporary or long term psychological issues.
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, it is important to discuss your concerns with a qualified health professional.
Can you regrow hair after balding?
The truth of the matter is – whether or not you can regrow your hair after balding all comes down to what type of hair loss you are facing. If you’ve been diagnosed with permanent hair loss, such as that seen in MPB, all hope is not lost, as there are a number of highly effective methods for promoting healthier looking hair.
Natural hair loss treatments
If you’ve started to notice hair loss, there are several measures you can take to nourish existing hair follicles and, in some cases, even encourage hair growth.
Nourish hair follicles
Taking care of your hair is one of the best ways to help it to last long into your older years. When applied to the head, aloe vera nourishes the scalp to promote hair growth and nurture the four phases of the hair lifecycle.
Consider your hair style
Something as simple as your hairstyle can affect your chances of hair loss. When styling, try to limit the use of harsh chemicals and avoid tight hairstyles that strain the hair shaft, resulting in premature shedding.
Promote healthy sleep habits
A good night’s sleep may just help you to keep that luscious head of hair, as sleep deprivation greatly impacts the effectiveness of the human growth hormone. As we’ve seen, male hormones (androgens) play a vital role in the effects of balding, with the latest research now highlighting a strong link between insomnia and hair loss.
Hair loss treatment options
As one of the most common health conditions affecting men, a number of medical treatments have been created to combat the signs of hair shedding and bald patches.
Hair transplant surgery
As far as surgical options go, hair transplants are likely to be the first procedure that come to mind. While some people do achieve successful results, it’s important to understand that not all results are the same and that the thickness and colour of your existing hair will have a major impact on the final results you are able to achieve.
Due to the surgical nature of this solution, it is often recommended that you consider less invasive options and other treatments prior to taking the path to surgery.
Non-invasive hair loss treatments
Although the effects of androgenic alopecia are permanent, there are a number of effective ways for treating male pattern baldness, in order to maintain existing hair and prevent hair loss from worsening in the future.
As recommended by the American Hair Loss Council and most industry experts, a combination of prescription medication and Minoxidil is often the most effective treatment for hereditary types of hair loss. With this combination, research shows that 83% of men reported retention of existing hair and no further hair loss in the future.
Let’s get your health sorted!
Whether you’re worried about a receding hairline or patchy hair loss, starting a conversation with one of our doctors will help you discover a hair loss treatment that’s right for you.
American Hair Loss Council. Understanding Male Pattern Hair Loss. (https://ahlc.org/male-pattern-hair-loss/)
American Hair Loss Association. (2022) Men’s Hair Loss Introduction. (https://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/introduction.html)
Better Health Channel. (2021) Hair Transplant Surgery. (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hair-transplant-surgery)
NIH. (1999) Finasteride: a review of its use in male pattern hair loss. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9951956/)