Hair loss is a common problem that can be caused by heredity, hormones, or medical conditions. You may experience hair loss in your scalp or across your entire body which can range from temporary to permanent. It’s not uncommon for men and women of any age to lose some amount of their head hairs- but it is more prevalent among males than females because they have high testosterone levels as well as a genetic predisposition towards male pattern baldness - the most common cause of excessive hair loss on the scalp over time when left untreated and unhidden.
What is Hair Loss and its Causes?
Hair loss, which is also known as alopecia , a condition that causes hair to fall out in small batches, can be either permanent or temporary. Hair loss can be a direct result of heredity, medical conditions, changes in hormones, stress, nutrition, or just a normal part of aging. Although anyone can lose hair in their heads, it is more common in men.
Male-Pattern Baldness: What to Expect
Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is considered the most common type of hair loss in men. Over 50% of men aged 50 and above are said to be affected by male pattern baldness. 63% of Singapore men suffer some degree of hair loss.
One significant factor that causes male pattern baldness is genetics, which means men having a family history of baldness. It has been found that male pattern baldness is to due to the hypersensitivity of hair roots to a male sex hormones known as DHT, which is related to testosterone. When a men has both elevated DHT and this genetic condition, hair lifespan shortens from 2-5 years to a mere 3-6 months - resulting in thin and short hair.
Male pattern baldness does not have any direct health implications but losing hair (especially when you are in your prime) can be very distressing. Hair loss can affect one’s confidence and self-identity, and in turn affect one’s emotional and psychological health.
However, if the hair loss does not seem hereditary, or only happened all of the sudden, there are other things to consider. there are more serious causes associated with baldness such as thyroid conditions, , and medications. If you are experiencing hair loss while taking medications, it is best to consult with your doctor.
How To Prevent Thinning Hair
Unlike extensive hair loss, thinning hair refers to minor to moderate loss of hair. On average, we lose 80 hair strands a day, but our hair continues to grow to restore itself. However, many men will likely notice that their hair is thinning even when they are still in their 20s or 30s.
The good news is that hair thinning can be treated at home. Listed below are some of the treatments and remedies.
- Scalp massage - this is probably the most inexpensive way of getting your hair thicker again. Every time you wash your hair, apply gentle pressure using your fingertips around your scalp. Doing this will encourage blood flow. You can also try handheld scalp massagers that are available in the market today.
- Use essential oils - acquired from certain plants, essential oils are known to help prevent baldness or thinning hair. However, you must test a small amount of the oil by dropping some on your arm and leaving for 24 hours. This is to determine any allergic reaction such as hive, redness, or a rash.
- Take multivitamins - the fact that healthy hair depends on overall good health is often overlooked. The best way to determine if you are deficient in any important nutrients is to conduct a blood test with your doctor.
Being gentle - Dap dry your hair rather than rubbing vigirously with a towel. If you have long hair, avoid tying it too tightly, as that may cause traction alopecia.
Hair Loss Medication (such as Finasteride and minoxidil)
Finasteride and Minoxidil are two treatments that have clinically proven to be effective in treating hair loss for men.
Finasteride - the generic name for brand names Propecia , was originally used by doctors to treat enlarged prostate glands. However, researchers noted a hair growth side effect during the trials with men suffering from prostate problems.
Up to this point, the only effective and medically proven method to prevent hair loss is through lowering the DHT (dihydrotestosterone) level. Finansteride’s success stemmed from its capacity to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that transforms testosterone into a more powerful DHT.
Propecia is the only FDA-approved oral treatment for male pattern hair-loss
Minoxidil - on the other hand, the first drug approved by FDA for male pattern baldness treatment is minoxidil. And just the same with finasteride, researchers have also discovered hair growth side effects on cheeks, back of hands, and even in foreheads.
Minoxidil needs to be applied twice daily. And for male pattern hair loss, the FDA recommendation is for 5% concentration. There is a 2% alternative, but that is indicated for women instead.
Although minoxidil and finasteride are the only two drugs that have been approved to treat hair loss, there are other treatment options aside from Rogaine (topical minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride).
- Hair transplantation procedures - micro-grafting, punch grafting, and slit grafting are some of the hair transplantation methods that can treat hair loss. Surgeons perform the process in their office, and a local anaesthetic is injected into the scalp for comfort and relaxation.
- Low-level laser therapy - also known as LLLT, the therapy is a form of light and treatment using heat. LLLT stimulates hair growth for both men and women.
When to see a doctor
Hair loss should be observed keenly. There is a big difference between a few hair strands that fall out each day and more being lost. If you feel that you are suffering stress or anxiety from persistent hair loss, then it is time for you to see a doctor about early treatment to avoid further hair loss or worse, baldness.
These days, it is possible to get a consultation on hair loss via telemedicine. Sire is a digital men’s health clinic that specialises in discreet and convenient services. All you need is a phone, and you can be speaking with a healthcare professional in the comfort of your home.
Hair loss does not pose any kind of threat to a human’s physical health. However, it may seriously affect your emotional health. It is good to explore support groups and always consult your doctor for the best hair loss treatment.