Battling male hair loss? Here’s what you really need to know
There may come a point in a man’s life in which he may begin to notice that his hairline is just not what it used to be. This may be disheartening for those men who deem a full head of hair to be the ultimate sign of youthfulness, attractiveness, and virility. Losing hair for these men may elicit strong feelings of insecurity and self consciousness about their appearance.
It may sometimes be difficult to discern the cause of your hair loss, but when the problem first starts you should keep the following questions in consideration and see your doctor for evaluation:
Is my hair loss due to an infection?
A fungal infection such as tinea capitis may affect the scalp and lead to hair loss. Diagnosis may be confirmed by obtaining skin scrapings from the affected region to be sent for cultures. If fungus is indeed the culprit, then it is treatable with anti-fungal medications and shampoos.
Are my stress levels under control?
Stress may have a damaging effect on the body and may even trigger hair loss in certain individuals. Sometimes when faced with extremely stressful situations, this may incite a condition known as telogen effluvium in which the hair goes into the telogen or resting phase and begins to shed. Hair loss via this mechanism tends to be reversible.
Is my thyroid gland working properly?
When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, this can lead to problems with hair loss. This can occur in those with an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Treating the underlying thyroid disorder may help reverse the hair loss in such instances.
Is my current hairstyle contributing to my hair loss?
If you always wear tight hairstyles like cornrows or braids, you may be susceptible to traction alopecia. This just means that the pulling, tugging, and tension on the scalp from these tight styles may contribute to some hair loss.
So, let’s say you’ve been thoroughly evaluated by your doctor and your hair loss isn’t attributed to an underlying condition, then it is most likely due to the common problem of male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia. What does this really mean?
In short, a combination of genetics and your body’s response to male sex hormones may be contributing to your hair loss. You may start to notice balding as early as your 20s and the rate or acceleration of the hair loss may vary based on a number of factors. The problem may manifest in the form of a receding hair line, frontal hair loss, or baldness at the very top of the head.
What can you do about androgenic alopecia? Should you just shave your remaining hair and rock a full baldie or rather seek out treatment modalities or other methods to try and conceal the loss? The decision is quite personal.
But, the good news is that there are some options that exist. The bad news though is that there’s really no cure per se for male pattern baldness. Treatment results may really vary from person to person and intervention may even be ineffective for some men.
Here are some of the options:
Minoxidil is a common treatment often used for male pattern baldness. The topical formulation is one of the more popular choices used to slow down hair loss. The 5% topical foam can be used once to twice daily on the scalp, and if you are compliant and steadfast with your use of minoxidil, you may potentially start seeing results after six months of use.
This medication also known as Propecia is taken in an oral form and may potentially help in stimulating hair growth. The drug works to suppress the hormone dihydrotestosterone which is linked to promoting hair loss in men. Some of the potential side effects of the drug include loss of libido, ejaculatory dysfunction, and other sexual problems. You must really consider the pros and cons before initiating treatment.
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This is an osteoporosis drug in which preliminary research has shown may possibly provide some benefit in treating hair loss. Studies on hair follicles conducted in a lab revealed that the drug may have the potential to stimulate growth. Further studies are still required though to determine if this drug may be an effective and safe choice in the future.
(4) Hair Transplants
You may opt for the surgical route in which healthy hair follicles are extracted from a donor region of the scalp and then transplanted to areas of hair loss. This procedure can be very expensive and it may still take many months before you appreciate any results.
(5) Cosmetic Tatooing
This is a growing trend used to camouflage hair loss. It is a non-surgical option in which pigment is injected into the dermal layer of the scalp with a micro needle to give the illusion of hair.
Bottom line: Whether you decide to wage the fight against hair loss or allow the balding process to take its natural course, realize that ultimately your hair does not define who you are. But, if you decide to tackle the problem head on, you have options available that you can discuss with your doctor to determine what may be most suitable for you.
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