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Men's hair loss guide

Get all you need to know about hair loss with our comprehensive guide. Never miss a beat again.

Written by
Team Pilot
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
May 15, 2024
min read
Men's hair loss guide
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When we talk about hair loss, one of, if not the most common question is: can it be fixed?

And in good news, yes, it can.

While it is true that hair loss is still a major concern for many men today, it doesn’t need to be, thanks to modern pharmaceutical treatments that not only have a very high success rate but are affordable as well.

But before you decide what to do about your hair — whether to try and bring it back or simply shave it all off — it can be useful to learn a bit more about men's hair loss and hair thinning. Read on and get answers to all your FAQs!

How common is men's hair loss?

Hair loss is one of the most common ailments to plague us fellas.

More than 50% of men will experience thinning, balding, or a receding hairline by the time they’re 50 [1], and for many, it happens a lot earlier (30% will experience it by their early 30s).

How quickly does it happen?

It depends.

Some men experience rapid loss of all of the hair on the top of their heads. Others may notice a gradually receding hairline which insidiously dwindles over time until they’re left with a semi-circle of fluff on the back of their noggin’. Some go patchy, yet most barely notice their follicles saying bye-bye.

What causes male hair loss?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day [2], and considering our scalp has at least 100,000 hair follicles, the term “hair loss” is actually a bit misleading. As long as new hair keeps growing to replace the lost strands, then your hair density should stay the same.

Where the trouble lies, especially for us blokes, is when those hair follicles decide it’s time to pack it in and stop regrowing the luscious locks they once produced en masse.

Outside of heavy radiation treatment to the head — which is (thankfully) pretty rare — usually, hair loss occurs for one of the following reasons:


This is the most common and explicable cause of hair loss in men, showing up in the form of male pattern baldness (aka androgenetic alopecia).

It typically happens gradually (which is why some fellas take a while to notice that it has already started) and in predictable stages, with hair retreating from the front of the forehead, and with the formation of a bald patch at the back of the head.

Eventually, these two meet up and leave a U-shaped footprint of thin hair around the back of the head (a la Mr. Burns).

This occurs when testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which slowly (or sometimes not-so-slowly) begins deteriorating hair follicles.

“DHT acts on the scalp to cause follicular miniaturisation”, says men’s health expert, Dr Zac Turner. “The perception of hair loss is a result of from the shortening of the anagen (growth) phase of hair follicles, as opposed to the hair just not growing. A shorter growth phase leads to shorter, thinner hair.

“This continues until the appearance of baldness covers the majority of the scalp.”

Medical conditions

Hormonal changes can trigger hair loss, though this is more common in females.

Medical conditions that can cause hair loss in men include:

  • Alopecia areata: a disease that makes the hair fall out in patches and is often triggered by stress
  • Ringworm of the scalp: a highly contagious fungal infection
  • Trichotillomania: literally pulling your hair out.

Certain medications

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the most obvious ones here, but the baldness they incur is almost always temporary.

There is a range of other health treatments that can contribute to hair loss, including those for:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Heart problems
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure.


Stress is a more powerful force than you think. Many will suffer some form of hair loss after particularly stressful events but temporarily.

Your hairdresser

Or whoever does your ‘do, really.

Some hairstyles that pull hair tight (for example, cornrows) can cause traction alopecia, while hot oil treatments and perms can cause inflammation in the hair follicles that leads to hair loss. This can unfortunately be permanent if scarring has occurred.

And the obvious: excessive bleaching is never good for a healthy scalp.

Why am I losing hair?

While feeling like a lion without his mane is one of the most common health concerns all men face worldwide, there are still plenty of old wives’ tales around the issue. Being able to differentiate between fact and fiction is an important first step in understanding hair loss.

The reality is you most likely fall into that first category. It’s your hormones that have done you, you.

Dr Zac says: “Unfortunate to say, but it’s not your fault — it’s your parents.

“Genetics play a big role, but try not to stress: this happens to almost everyone at some point in their lives.

“Some people are just more, or less, affected at different ages.”

The most common myth that you’ve probably heard is that hair loss is carried through the mother’s side. While it’s true that the primary baldness gene is attached to the X chromosome (that’s the girl one), which we fellas get from our mums, there are plenty of other things to consider.

Though the hereditary factor is slightly more dominant on the woman's side, there’s plenty of research to suggest that men whose dads sport a chrome dome are more likely to develop male pattern hair loss than those who don't.

In short, you might find yourself thinning due to one or a couple of the above-listed reasons. What’s important is that you decide if treatment is right for you sooner rather than later.

Hair loss treatments: What works and what doesn't?

Since time, immemorial man has toiled tirelessly to find a solution to losing his locks.

Ancient Egyptians, who were obsessed with a healthy head of hair and are observed to have worn wigs to cover their failing follicles, are perhaps the most bizarre in this regard.

An ancient script known as The Ebers Papyrus, from around 1550 B.C. (read: very f*cking old), suggests, in no particular order: boiled porcupine hair (applied to the scalp for four days); hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat, snake and ibex fat (mixed together, of course); and, perhaps most bizarrely (which is already a tall order), the leg of a female greyhound, sautéed in oil, with the hoof of a donkey.

We shit you not.

And speaking of shit, Hippocrates himself — the father of Western medicine — was known to prescribe himself a mixture of opium, horseradish, pigeon droppings, beetroot and undisclosed “spices” as a topical ointment, though this was obviously about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

He did, however, note that eunuchs never lost their hair. Funnily enough, this never caught on as a treatment (we know which we’d prefer to keep too, if we had to choose).

So, what are the best treatments?

Modern medicine has made leaps and bounds since then (seriously, phew).

Nowadays, you can access medical treatments that effectively stimulate hair growth and help combat common issues like a receding hairline, bald spots, thinning hair and widow's peak hairlines.

Pilot's Hair Loss Treatment is an excellent (and affordable) option. It uses proven ingredients to improve the delivery of vital nutrients to the follicles, while also blocking the hormone that impacts hair growth.

Simply fill out our online quiz and we’ll work with your information to identify what's causing your hair loss. After that, one of our health practitioners will match you with the best treatment option for you, which will then be discreetly delivered straight to your door. Easy as.

The right haircare products can also help promote hair regrowth.

Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit comes packed with everything your scalp needs to be its best self (and it can be used alongside other treatments):

  • Biotin Hair Gummies, formulated with biotin to support the fibres your follicles need to grow strong strands of hair.
  • Hair Growth Shampoo & Conditioner, containing active ingredients like saw palmetto, biotin and caffeine, carefully selected for their known efficacy in assisting healthy hair growth and preventing further hair loss.
  • A Derma Roller, to encourage blood flow to your scalp, activating the stem cells and stimulating hair growth.

“Other alternatives like hair transplants, platelet-rich plasma and light therapy have been used for the treatment of hair loss”, notes Dr. Zac, “but there is far less consensus on some of these treatments in terms of efficacy.”

“Treatments also work better to keep hair, as opposed to regrowing it, meaning jumping on it early is your best bet for stopping hair loss.”

Are there any side effects to consider?

All medications come with potential drawbacks, but it’s also important to note the low rate of occurrence of these side effects.

And while we can't name the two most common pharmaceutical treatments due to Australia's (rightly) stringent advertising laws, we can say that a very small percentage of men may experience:

  • Mild cases of ejaculation disorder and/or erectile dysfunction (it should be noted that this figure is around the 2% mark, and reported cases have been neither serious nor permanent, with adverse effects disappearing after the course of treatment ceased).
  • Burning or irritation of the eye, itching, redness or irritation at the treated area, and unwanted hair growth elsewhere on the body.

It’s also not uncommon for users to experience accelerated hair loss before the regrowth begins (some manufacturers refer to this as “shedding”, and it is a normal part of the treatment process).

In extreme cases, some medications can induce an allergic reaction, but this is something a doctor will cover in more detail when discussing a treatment plan.

The important thing to note with the treatments we're referring to is that they are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and are used by millions of men the world over with a very high degree of success for retaining and regrowing their hair, and only a minuscule margin of minor side effects reported.

Why are some hair loss treatments so expensive?

Great question. And the truth is pretty bloody galling.

In short, and as mentioned earlier, Australia has strict laws that ban advertising for certain medications.

This is largely a very good thing, but it also means that clinics (you know … the ones on the telly with the cricketers and the big claims) can hide their prices until very late in the sign-up process, and lock people into long contracts for medications they can just get from a GP for a fraction of their extortionate prices.

In fact, the way some clinics have pitched the issue means that most blokes aren’t even aware that they can get safe and effective treatment from a regular doctor.

“There are a lot of misleading clinics out there taking advantage of people with deliberately minimal or confusing information,” says Dr. Zac.

“More transparency on the subject is a very good thing. You can be sure that your local GP isn’t pulling one over you, but some of those hair clinics promising the world should be looked at with a great deal of caution.”

Thankfully, this is changing, and effective hair loss treatment for Australian men is coming out of the shadows and into a new era where patients are better informed, better equipped to take treatment into their own hands, and better off.

But Bruce Willis looks cool

We couldn’t agree more, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

As long as baldness has been a thing, the handsome and hairless amongst us have been able to make it look cool. There’s no disputing that the Bruce Willis, Jason Stathams and, heck, Patrick Stewarts of the world are bonafide badasses.

Hair loss comes in many forms and can affect us all in different ways.

Whether you're looking to treat male pattern baldness or go the full Dwayne Johnson and shave all your hair off, there are ways to achieve the look you're after.

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Real men, real results
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