At some point in their lives, almost every man dreads three little words: “male pattern baldness.” As common as it may be, many men don’t want to talk about it for fear of embarrassment. When left unaddressed however, hair loss can become irreversible.
Experiencing hair loss can be detrimental to a man’s self-confidence and quickly begin to affect other aspects of life. You may find yourself anxious to meet new people, declining invitations to social gatherings, and becoming increasingly self-isolated. Luckily, if caught early, it is possible to slow hair loss.
I’ve had two FUE hair transplants, but those can be pricey. If hair replacement surgery isn’t something that you want to spend money on, then it’s vital that you get after this problem sooner than later.
Here’s a look at a few things you can do to help treat hair loss before it’s too late.
DHT blocker medication
As soon as you notice your hair falling out or looking thin, reaching out to a medical professional about options for hair loss treatment can be a vital first step.
A doctor can help to diagnose your specific type of hair loss and what would be the most appropriate remedy. There are different types of hair loss, such as thinning at the crown of the head, receding hairline, and hair thinning all over.
One option is a topical treatment, Minoxidil (Rogaine). This is applied directly to the scalp with a foam or a liquid solution, and usually takes a few months of continuous use to see results. Minoxidil works by enlarging hair follicles and making the growth phase of the hair cycle longer.
There is also the oral medication, Finasteride. Finasteride blocks an enzyme in the male body that changes testosterone into another hormone called DHT. DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink and stop hair from growing. However, the challenge with Finasteride is that it has been reported to have some pretty severe effects on male libido and sexual health
To put it more simply, Minoxidil stimulates hair regrowth while Finasteride can help block the hormones that inhibit hair growth. Sometimes one of these treatments is used at a time, and other times both can be used together for maximum potential treatment.
The latest treatment is a combination of both of these medications in a topical solution that combines both topical finesteride and minoxidil. The results of this hair-loss solution has not only been exception, it has almost no side effects.
The right medication for you depends on a variety of factors, such as the cause of your hair loss or the state of your overall health. Sometimes, hair loss is a symptom of another health condition, so it’s best to look into causes as well as treatments as soon as possible.
High stress levels are also known to cause hair loss—sometimes at alarming rates.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, irritable, or anxious most of the time, it can be difficult to keep track of your health. It’s common to assume the hair falling out as a separate issue and just another problem on your list. Extreme stress is known to be linked to a specific type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium, a condition in which hair follicles go into a resting state and the hair growth cycle is halted.
When you feel stressed more often than not, it’s important to give yourself a break to unwind and relax. Try to be more conscious about what is causing your stress. If you’ve been feeling burnt out at work, try to take breaks throughout the day, and be sure to set boundaries that foster a healthy work-life balance.
Dedicate some time to hobbies you enjoy, like crafting or cooking, to get some extra fulfillment in your life. Maybe schedule time to spend an evening out with friends more often. For some everyday stress relief practice, try out guided meditation in your free time to get used to calming your emotions.
If you find that none of these tactics work for you, consider reaching out to a professional to help you treat your mental health and support you.
Gentle hair care routine
When your hair is in a fragile state like thinning or starting to fall out, it’s important to be as gentle with it as possible. Heat is one of the first things you should remove from your hair care routine.
Excessive heat can cause your hair to become dry and brittle, making it much more susceptible to breakage. It’s ideal that you give your hair a rest from the hot tools entirely until it’s strong enough to withstand it. If you must use heat to style your hair, be sure to use some kind of heat protection products.
Next, take a look at some of the products you’ve been using on your hair. You’ll want to make sure you’re using gentle formulas without parabens or sulfates. These chemicals make your hair look and feel clean; however, they tend to be too harsh, stripping the hair of its natural protective oils and leaving it more susceptible to damage.
Lastly, make sure to avoid inflicting any physical damage to your hair. Stay away from tight updos if your hair is long, and steer clear of brushing your hair when it’s wet unless you are using a wet brush made with softer bristles specifically for wet hair.
Inflammation reducing diet
Your diet is how you get nutrients into your body, and that includes nutrients for your hair. Just like your muscles, hair needs protein, specifically keratin, to be strong and healthy. Be sure to eat plenty of lean meats or vegetarian protein options like tofu or chickpeas.
You’ll also want to monitor your sugar intake, as high sugar (or glucose) levels cause your body to increase its insulin. Increased insulin can lead to increased androgens that can cause you to lose hair. Avoid too much food with high levels of processed sugar and foods with a high glycemic index such as white bread, potatoes, and certain fruits like watermelon and pineapple.
Drinking plenty of water is also vital for your hair health and your whole body. Hair cells need water to stay hydrated and help keep the hair strong enough to grow. Water can also help keep your scalp hydrated which helps your hair follicles stay healthy. Two liters of water a day is generally considered the best practice.
If you’re struggling to drink enough water, try using a water bottle with measurements on it to help you see how much you drank and how much you still have to go. Also, try infusing your water with lemon, cucumber, or berries for added flavor and enjoyment, and even extra nutrients.
Holistic health improvement
When you’re concerned about losing your hair, whether you’ve noticed it starting to happen or you just want to get an early grasp on it, considering your overall health can help. When your body is healthier, your hair will be healthier as well.
For example, taking multivitamins every day to boost your nutrient levels can inadvertently improve the state of your hair. Look for multivitamins that contain biotin, or add a biotin supplement to go with other vitamins you’re already taking to help bring added focus to your hair. Other natural supplements that help improve hair health are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and Zinc.
Looking into a daily routine that brings all aspects of your overall health together can help you break old habits and promote healthy habits. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian system of medicine where healthy living is prioritized over treatment of diseases. The idea is to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle through balance of the three “doshas” that govern the bodily systems.
Practicing Ayurveda can help promote weight loss, a healthier diet, stress relief, eliminate toxins, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Whether or not you want to commit to a practice like Ayurveda, being in a mindset where you are creating a routine to implement an overall healthy lifestyle will help maintain the health of your hair as well.
It can be a scary thing to lose your hair. Many men know it runs in their family or worry that it could potentially happen to them too. Again, the most important thing is to treat hair loss early. Take preventative measures like being gentle on your hair, and as soon as you notice thinning, your hairline receding, or hair falling out more than usual, take immediate action.
While it’s not possible to completely stop hair loss or thinning, it is possible to slow it down.