Whoever said hair isn't everything clearly had absolutely perfect hair throughout their entire life. The rest of us mere mortals, however, haven't had quite the same experience, with even medical professionals saying hair is "an important feature of self-image" .
As kids alone, there are bowl cuts, reckless (pre-pubescent Bieber-Esque) fringes, dodgy dye jobs, and the at-home hack job; all captured on camera.
And then as we age, there's the early greys, receding hairline, and yes — balding. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it's more common in men than women . If you're a guy who's starting to lose their hair, you might be chomping at the bit to blame your mum's dad, as the old belief goes.
We're going to delve into the causes of male baldness, and also take you through some treatments.
Because as the studies say, men who seek medical help and are successfully treated for male pattern hair loss report improvements in self-esteem and personal attractiveness .
So, one of the most common causes of baldness is hereditary hair loss with age . Around 25% of bald men see signs of hair loss before they turn 21.
If you're yet to notice any thinning hair in the men in your life (but you've noticed it with your own hair), well, we can tell you half of the men in the world — yep, the whole wide world — will experience hair loss by the time they turn 50 .
Male pattern baldness — or androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia — is the most common type of progressive hair loss disorder in men.
As the name suggests, it's genetically predisposed. It comes down to family history; if men in your family — your dad, grandad, a blood-related uncle or 2 — have male pattern baldness, you may find your hair goes the same way. And that's the men on both sides, genetics play a part on both sides.
Interesting tidbit: identical twins with male pattern baldness will usually lose their hair identically. Same age, same rate, same pattern, everything .
Each strand of hair on your head sits in a tiny cavity in the skin — your hair follicles. Most often when baldness occurs, it's because those hair follicles shrink over time. You may notice shorter, finer hair. Eventually, no new strands grow from said hair follicles .
But what causes that process to happen? Hormonal imbalance — specifically, the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). What's DHT? Well, it's an androgenic hormone; a sex steroid that's produced in the gonads .
Excess hormone levels of it cause the miniaturisation of hair — the shrinking of follicles, and the thinning of the hair. When the new, fine hair comes through, DHT does it again — and keeps on keeping on until there's no hair left.
A very stressful event can cause people to lose their hair. A "general thinning of hair" usually takes place 3 months after a physical or emotional shock .
In most cases, the hair loss is only temporary; it can take up to 3 months for hair growth to resume afterwards. If a person's genetically predisposed to hair loss, this event could trigger the onset of genetic hair loss .
As the saying goes, you are what you eat.
The most common nutritional deficiency in the world? Drumroll please — it's iron deficiency . This deficiency contributes to telogen effluvium (TE), where less than 50% of scalp hair can be lost .
Iron may play a certain role in hair loss ; Cleveland Clinic says it's "really important" for healthy hair and its growth .
But not to worry, the organisation also says most hair loss due to this deficiency can be reversed.
A common cause of temporary hair loss, decreased protein intake can result in telogen effluvium.
Protein malnutrition can also result in changes to the top of your head — not just thinning, it can also trigger hair loss .
Excess vitamin A
Most of the time, it's a great thing for your body. An essential fat-soluble vitamin, it's important for your body's immune system and for eye health.
But as the saying goes with too much of a good thing — well, when its levels are too high, it can spill into the circulation and end up causing hair loss .
Improper hair care
Even those blessed with a full head of hair could find they lose some of it, without proper haircare.
Men's hair loss can occur from excessive hairstyling, or frequent wearing of a tightly pulled hairstyle — like cornrows. This is called traction alopecia .
Constant pulling and tying up your hair can damage hair follicles; when you damage those bad boys, you can develop permanent hair loss .
If you're a fan of bleaching your hair or frequently colouring it, your hair can become rough and fragile. It may not result in hair loss, but it can lead to hair breakage.
If you leave bleach or a permanent solution on your scalp for too long — something Schwarzkopf calls "genuine chemical mishaps" — then direct hair loss can occur .
Underlying medical conditions
There are a variety of medical conditions that lead to hair loss — from immune disorders, and scalp infections to mental disorders .
A symptom of ringworm is hair loss — which typically appears 4-14 days after your skin comes into contact with the fungi that caused the ringworm.
Tinea capitis, a type of ringworm, occurs on the scalp and resembles a scaly, itchy and red circular bald spot. It can grow in size, and if it spreads, can see multiple spots develop. However, this type is more common in children than adults .
Your thyroid hormone is essential for both the development and maintenance of your hair follicles. So when you have a thyroid condition — like Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease — it can result in hair loss .
Other studies call the fact that endocrine disorders (ie. hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism) can cause hair loss "well-established" .
In good news, research shows that after your thyroid hormone levels are normalised, your hair loss is typically reversed — but not instantaneously.
Alopecia means hair loss. And alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune hair loss condition, with a lifetime risk of 2%.
Unlike androgenic alopecia, your immune system attacks your own hair follicles (rude) . It's characterised by circular patches of hair loss, with what one survey study calls "an unpredictable trajectory."
Unlike other instances of alopecia, spontaneous hair growth is common, but it could take months or years. These periods of remission can be followed by further hair loss; in some instances, permanent hair loss of all head hair (alopecia totalis) .
A psychiatric disorder that can share comorbidities with OCD and ADHD, trichotillomania is a condition that compels people to pull out their hair — pubic hair, eyebrows, hair from the scalp. This can lead to thinning or total bald spots .
If you're dutifully taking your prescriptions from your doctor — arthritis, cancer, depression or blood pressure medications — it turns out that hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs .
Rapid weight loss
Losing a significant amount of weight — in a significantly short amount of time — can increase your risk of hair loss .
In fact, if you undergo weight loss surgery, shedding hair 3-5 months after is a relatively common occurrence .
How can I treat hair loss?
There are the typical ways to manage male pattern baldness and general hair loss: the cheap, cheerful and comfortable option of hats; human hair wigs. But these don't stop the balding process, just hide it.
On the other (expensive) end of the spectrum, there's hair transplant surgery; follicular unit transplantation or follicular unit extraction. Healthy hair follicles are transplanted or extracted (as the name suggests) to balding parts .
Now onto the stuff that actually works and won't break the bank.
Starting with microneedling — like the Derma Roller, included in Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit. One study saw patients report an increase in the thickness of thin hair a month after initiating microneedling; 75% of patients rated more than 75% improvement after 6 months .
And in this treatment, biotin — also known as B7 or vitamin H — has been shown to help to prevent hair loss and balding . Good thing we have it in gummy form for you.
There are also oral therapies, like Pilot's hair loss treatment. Two of the active ingredients used "stimulate hair regrowth in some men", as well as being more effective in preventing further progression of hair loss .
Results from previous studies looking at one of the active ingredients include 11.1% of subjects exhibiting significant hair regrowth, 36.5% exhibiting moderate growth and 39.6% a slight increase in growth over three years .
Better Health Victoria reports that one tablet a day will arrest — not literally — further hair loss in over 95% of men .
As for the second active ingredient? A "significant increase" in total hair counts from baseline at weeks 12 and 24, with 100% improvement. 43% of patients achieved "excellent improvement" — a gold star for hair growth .
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