02 April 2018
There is no need for you to lay awake at night wondering if your hair is going to fall out or if you’re going to wake up the next morning with an unstylish ‘M’ defining the crown of your head. Instead, you should be confident in your knowledge of what brings about hair loss, what the first symptoms you’ll see are, and what to do once you start to see those symptoms.
Don’t know the answers to those questions yet? Read on.
The first thing we’d like to talk about is the role of genetics when it comes to hair loss. Many of us are familiar with the idea that we’ll experience hair loss if our grandfather on our mother’s side lost his hair. That idea has gained much traction and is a pretty popular piece of trivia, but unfortunately, it’s not been proven to be accurate as seen in our blog: myths of hair loss.
What we do know is that genetics is just one piece of a very, very complicated puzzle that brings about hair loss. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, “Hereditary-pattern baldness is not a disease, but a natural condition caused by some combination of genetics, hormone levels, and the aging process.”
Then why do people bring up genetics and hair loss in the same breath? Because there is a connection, but it’s just not fully understood. Not to get too science-heavy here, but there’s another study by 23 and Me that looked at the data from over 22,000 people, focused on the connection between genes and hair loss.
Their summary was that “The findings offer not just new insights into the biology of the condition, but a potentially greater understanding of other health conditions that are associated with it. Despite being widely studied and very common — particularly among men of European ancestry — male pattern baldness is poorly understood. Scientists know losing one’s hair is highly heritable and dependent on testosterone, but little else is known about the complex underlying biology.”
That’s right: despite tens of thousands of participants, some of the most advanced technology, and researchers from around the world trying to find out what exactly the connection is between genes and hair loss, there’s still no clear conclusions.
All of that is to say that if you think you’re immune from losing your hair, you aren’t, while if you think that you’re guaranteed to lose your hair because of your maternal grandfather, it’s not set in stone. The real test comes by looking for early symptoms of hair loss.
Unfortunately, losing your hair isn’t like other medical conditions that have a list of symptoms that prove you’re either experiencing hair loss or are predisposed to losing your hair. That being said, there are a couple of things you can watch out for that will give you an inkling of whether or not you’re going to lose your hair.
1. Thinning of the Hair
The first thing you should be paying attention to is the thinning of your hair. You’ll notice that your hair starts to lose some of its vibrancy and that the density of hairs on your scalp starts to decrease. That’s typically a result of changes in how your hair is growing.
Without getting into too much detail, your hair follicles are constrained by how big of a space they’re given to grow. If that space starts to shrink, then individual hairs will be thinner, leading to your hair as a whole getting thinned out. This can start as early as age 20, or not show up until later on in life. What’s interesting about this symptom is that you will likely only notice it after your hair has thinned up considerably, unless you go about measuring the diameter of every hair follicle (don’t do that).
2. Hair Collecting In Different Places
The second big symptom to be on the lookout for is quite a bit more noticeable than the thinning of your hair. While it is normal to have hair fall out, it’s less normal for it to fall out in large amounts. That means that if you see one of your hairs come out while washing your hair, it doesn’t mean that you’re experiencing hair loss. At the same time, if you’re showering and an unusually large amount of hair is consistently coming out, it’s a symptom that hair loss has started in earnest.
There are a few places you should be looking for this symptom. As mentioned, showers are a typical place where hair falls out. Beyond that, look to see if any combs or brushes are collecting a large volume of shed hairs, or if the pillow you sleep on has an increasing amount of hair on it when you wake up in the morning.
3. Sometimes: Itchy Scalp
The third symptom is good to be aware of, but the least conclusive of these three. After all, no two heads of hair are the same, so it’s important to know which symptoms matter and which are distractions. If your scalp is unusually itchy over a long period of time, it can be a sign that you’re losing your hair.
Now, that doesn’t mean itching your scalp will make you lose hair or that every itchy scalp is a sign that you’re going to lose your hair. Instead, it’s something that pops up in the medical history of a number of men. If it’s found in conjunction with the previous two symptoms, it’s a good sign that you’re undergoing hair loss.
4. It’s a Long, Steady Process
The last thing to note about these symptoms is that they aren’t just going to show up overnight — that’s not how hair loss works. Instead, it’ll start slow and build steadily, with you likely noticing it only after a few months have passed (at the earliest). That’s perfectly normal. In fact, if your hair does start to fall out rapidly, you shouldn’t wait to see what’s going to happen next: See a doctor as soon as possible.
For a while, you hoped it wasn’t true. “The lighting in this room is bad,” you told yourself. Alternatively, maybe: “It’s just styled poorly.” However, you’re ready to begrudgingly admit that your hair isn’t the same as it was five or 10 years ago. Losing your hair, it’s not maturing into a distinguished look like many of your friends. It’s just… vanishing. You’re losing your hair.
However, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. By age 35, two-thirds of men experience some kind of hair loss. By age 50, 85% of men have significantly thinning hair while 25% of men who suffer from male pattern baldness start losing around age 21.
Feelings of disappointment and frustration are normal. Losing your hair can feel like a big deal. You might wonder if it will hold you back in life.
Most importantly, you’re probably wondering what you should do about it if anything at all. So now that you’re losing your hair, what comes next?
First, it’s important to distinguish between normal hair loss and premature balding.
Most blokes experience some level of hair loss at some point in their life. Their hairlines creep back a bit (mostly at the temples), and there will be some general thinning across the crown and top. This is called “maturing.”
While there’s nothing fundamentally different between maturing and balding (they’re caused by the same thing), balding is a more advanced condition that many men consider undesirable. Over time it creates the familiar horseshoe pattern.
If you’re losing your hair in patches or on the sides and/or back of your head, you may not be dealing with male pattern baldness (MPB). You could have an underlying medical condition. Stress, smoking, and other lifestyle habits can affect your hair quality, as well. Ask your doctor about non-MPB conditions.
How much hair will you lose? It's nearly impossible to tell at a glance how much hair you will lose over the course of your life. However, since hair loss is genetic (more on this in a minute), you can get a good idea where you will end up by looking at your father and your grandfathers.
Male pattern baldness is entirely genetic. Contrary to popular hair loss myths, it comes from both sides of your family.
A hormone called dihydrotestosterone (also called 5α-DHT or just DHT) binds to the androgen receptors on your hair follicles, choking them off from blood and nutrients. Over time, the follicles struggle to produce hairs, shrink, and eventually die.
Where does the DHT come from? It’s derived from testosterone by the enzyme 5α-reductase. We can reduce the amount of DHT in our bodies by reducing the amount of 5α-reductase. However, don't worry; this doesn't affect the amount of testosterone in your body.
Seeing symptoms is one thing, but knowing how to react is equally important. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Don’t Get Too Worried Right Away
The first thing we want to caution is that you shouldn’t immediately get worried if you start to see these symptoms. As we said, there’s no foolproof way to predict what’s going to happen in the future and any hair you see in your comb, or thinning you see on your head could be the result of something other than permanent pattern hair loss. Instead of immediately getting worried, take a step back. While you should never ignore symptoms or changes in how your body is acting, it’s equally important to not overreact and stress yourself out over something that may or may not happen. Remember, stress can also induce hair loss.
2. Decide whether you want to treat your hair loss
Hair loss is a natural process. Losing your hair doesn’t come with any healthcare ramifications, so your first step is to ask yourself if you want to treat it at all. There are plenty of bald men who live happy and successful lives. They don’t give their hairlines and scalps a second thought, so they don’t feel the need to treat their hair loss.
However, for many guys, feeling good requires looking good, too. You may need a hairy head to feel confident and take steps to build the life you want, and that’s okay, also.
Ultimately, choosing to treat or not treat your hair loss is a personal decision.
Even though at Mosh we offer products to help guys recover their hair, our true goal is to empower you to live your dream life - to have the family, friends, sex, and career that makes you happy. However, if that dream doesn’t require hair, letting it go may be the best decision for you.
If you’ve decided to treat your hair loss, there are a few things you should know.
The process takes time. While advancements in hair loss science happen every day, and some promising treatments will be available in the future. Currently, hair loss isn’t something we can reverse overnight. You could still take up to a year to see any results even if you are responding to treatments.
Why does it take so long? Because hair grows in phases. Each hair goes through three phases: Anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is when your hair grows. It lasts two to seven years. The catagen phase is ten days of slight regression.
The telogen phase is the reason for the delay. This is a resting phase where the hair does nothing for about three months. At the end of the period, the follicle releases the hair and has to grow a new one. 10-15% of your hairs are in this phase at any time.
This means that in any given time, a portion of your hairs won't grow, regardless of what you use to treat your hair loss. Furthermore, follicles stressed by the DHT require more time to produce the same hair as a follicle number DHT.
If you decide to treat your hair loss, you will have to stick with the treatment for at least a year to properly gauge your results.
What should you use to treat your hair loss? In most cases, it’s smart to attack hair loss from several angles.
First, most guys benefit by introducing an internal medication that inhibits the enzyme 5α-reductase. In turn, this stops the production of DHT that chokes your follicles. In many cases, this method can also remove DHT from your body, so your hair improves.
Side effects of DHT blockers are rare, but a small portion of men experience reduced libido, erection problems, and breast tenderness. These effects subside after you stop taking the medication. (There could be other side effects as well.)
Second, many guys like to use growth stimulants to boost their follicles’ ability to produce hairs. This is usually a topical treatment applied directly to the balding areas of the scalp. Side effects are minor and might include scalp irritation and changes in hair color and texture.
While hair transplants are an option for some guys depending on the degree of hair loss, they don’t treat the underlying condition. They simply spread out follicles to create a better cosmetic appearance, but they don’t create more hair.
There are some other treatments you might choose to look into as well, like platelet-rich plasma, micro needling, or scalp tattoos. The effectiveness of these treatments are mixed, but they may be right for you.
It’s important to take steps to protect what you have left. Make these lifestyle changes right away to preserve your hair.
If you’ve decided to do nothing about your hair loss, we recommend a tight haircut that lets light penetrate to your scalp. This will de-emphasize your thinning areas. When your hair loss becomes undeniable, trim it short or shave it off.
Once you’re sure these symptoms aren’t just in your imagination and you have decided to treat your hair loss, consult with one of our doctors. They’ll tailor a plan to your unique hair loss and needs.
There are a few things to keep in mind during this process.
First, you should talk to a doctor early. It’s never advisable to wait until something becomes unbearable before deciding to treat it. That’s true for all things medical, including hair loss. Some treatments will work better the earlier you start to work on them. Not to mention that you can avoid the cycle of having everyone notice you’re going bald and then magically watching as that hair loss stops.
Second, talking to a doctor is crucial to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the idea of losing your hair. They’ll have plenty of answers to your questions, will be able to explain treatment options, side effects, and long term benefits and consequences of treatment. That’s information that best comes from a source that you trust. Finally, talking to a doctor will help diagnose the cause of your hair loss. Yes, there are multiple causes. We won’t get into too much detail on them just yet, but hair loss can be a symptom of larger medical issues that you’ll want to be cleared of sooner rather than later.
P.S. Mosh doesn't just provide the best hair loss treatment programs; we also specialise in online impotence treatment medication programs, click to book your free ED consultation with a doctor, get started today.