Hair loss (or alopecia) is losing hair in excess amounts, which results in changes in the hairline or the hair density. According to specialists, a healthy person usually loses around 50–100 hairs per day, but all of them are replaced by new ones, so, there are no significant changes in the look of the hair. And, if there are not enough new hairs, a man may start noticing bald (or very sparse) patches or changes in a hairline. Sometimes hair may just become sparser in general. Those are the signs that a man should turn to a doctor. There is a good chance that the specialist will help to slow down, stop or even reverse this process.
There is an extensive selection of products that can help to deal with the problem of alopecia in men: medications, herbs, oils. Let us discuss 5 most frequently selected solutions.
Top 5 Alopecia Treatment Options
- Finasteride. This is the most widely used oral medication for male pattern baldness. It blocks the enzyme that transforms testosterone into another hormone that makes hair fall out. As a result, the level of testosterone in the organism is increased, which promotes hair growth. It is noteworthy that this medication makes an impact on the hair on the scalp only. Also, one should keep in mind that to achieve and preserve a great result, a man should take this product on a constant basis. Its effect is temporary and lasts for as long as its concentration in the blood is sufficient.
- Minoxidil. This is the second most popular medicine for male pattern alopecia. Unlike the previous product, it is intended for external use. It is manufactured in the form of a solution, a lotion or foam. It belongs to the class of drugs that widen blood vessels. As of today, specialists have not managed to find out how exactly this medicine influences the hair growth process. Still, it is clinically proven that this active substance can slow down alopecia and increase hair growth. But it is effective for male pattern baldness only. Besides, it can be prescribed to women to fight against the problem of hair getting sparser.
- Nanoxidil. It is an alternative to Minoxidil that makes a positive impact on the health of the scalp and stimulates the hair growth. Meanwhile, compared with the previous medication, this active substance does not typically cause irritation, dryness of the skin and other similar side effects, so, it is a better choice for those who cannot bear remedies containing Minoxidil. Also, Nanoxidil is available in the form of cosmetic products, which means that one can freely buy them at a usual store without any prescriptions. Still, if a man starts to lose too much hair, he is strictly recommended visiting a doctor in any case.
- Saw palmetto topical products. This is a herbal remedy which works similar to the chemical substance Finasteride. This natural extract is produced from berries that have been used by Native Americans for centuries. Although this alopecia solution requires more research, specialists have already proven that it makes a positive impact on the hair growth process. As a rule, it is used for topical products.
- Pumpkin seed oil. According to researchers, the 24-week use of this natural oil can increase the amount of hair by about 40%.
In many cases, doctors recommend using several varied products simultaneously as a set.
In addition, there are more radical options available ― laser treatment and hair transplantation. In the first case, the scalp is exposed to low-level laser therapy, which stimulates follicles. Such procedures have proven to be safe enough. And, in the case of transplantation, doctors implant healthy follicles or small skin pieces in bald areas.
Common Reasons for Male Alopecia
According to experts, in about 95 % of cases hair loss in men is associated with the condition called androgenetic alopecia (or male pattern baldness). It is a family trait that is inherited and cannot be prevented. Still, there is a good selection of remedies that can help one get control over this process. It is characterized by a typical pattern ― a receding hairline and a bald patch on a top. Its main cause is inherited sensitivity to DHT, which is a byproduct of testosterone. Under the influence of DHT, hair follicles decrease in size, hairs start falling out earlier, then follicles may stop producing hairs at all.
To get a clear idea of the scale and prevalence of this problem, let us have a look at the statistics. Specialists have found out that about 25% of men with androgenetic alopecia start noticing its first symptoms before the age of 21, by the age of 35 that percentage rises to about 65%, and by the age of 50 it increases to about 85%.
Another widespread cause of men losing too much hair is the condition, which is known under the name alopecia areata. It is associated with the immune problem that results in the organism attacking healthy follicles, which leads to appearance of bald patches on the head or/and on other parts of the body, for example, on the eyebrows or in the beard. There is a chance that the hair will recover, but there is no guarantee.
Also, excessive hair loss or appearance of bald spots can be related to various scalp infections, like ringworm. One can get them when trying on a hat or playing with a pet.
Besides, excessive loss of hair can be related to severe stress. One may notice it within about 2–3 months after the stressful accident or serious health problem, like a surgery, a rapid weight loss or a hard illness. As a rule, the hair restores in around 2–6 months.
One more risk factor worth mentioning is an unbalanced diet. Certainly, that is associated with sticking to rigid diets for losing excess weight or improving a muscle relief. Deficiency of proteins and vitamins is very likely to manifest itself in hair growth problems.
There is one more cause of hair loss, which may be not so obvious for a non-specialist ― use of certain medications. Sure, when one turns to a doctor, the specialist will determine the initial reason and will recommend an alternative product, if it is possible. Otherwise, a patient will have to wait until the drug treatment course is over. It is well-known that hair problems can be related to chemotherapy. But there is a range of other medicines that can cause such a side effect. They include some of the widespread products for treating acne, antifungal remedies, products for normalizing blood pressure, medications for lowering cholesterol, antidepressants.
It is noteworthy that this list is incomplete. There are also other health conditions that may provoke hair loss. That is why consulting a doctor and undergoing a comprehensive medical examination is a must for every man that has noticed the first symptoms.
How to Get Control over the Problem?
Sticking to these recommendations can help both to avoid getting bald and to significantly slow down this process (if the problem has already manifested itself).
- Wash the hair regularly. Certainly, it is highly advisable to choose a mild shampoo for daily use. Such a habit will help to prevent varied infections and will make the hair look thicker and more attractive. To keep the hair fresh for a longer period in summer or during workout sessions, give preference to shampoos with a cooling effect, for example, to products with aloe vera.
- Let the hair dry on its own. Do not rub it with a towel. In the case of urgency, you can gently dab at the hair with a soft towel. Certainly, you had better avoid using a hairdryer.
- Do not brush the hair until it dries. It is very vulnerable, when being wet. If there is no other way out, use a comb with wide teeth or your fingers. By the way, despite widespread myths, it is not recommended combing the hair on a frequent basis or for too long, since that process leads to damages in any way, regardless of the choice of a comb. If the hair is tangled, comb it with your fingers instead of a brush.
- Avoid heating the hair. Besides use of hairdryers, this refers to hair irons and similar styling tools. When they are applied to wet hair, they actually make the water left boil. But the damage to the dry hair is also disastrous.
- Wear the hair loose. If you prefer long haircuts, avoid tight hairstyles that involve pulling hairs, like ponytails, that weakens follicles and can result in excessive hair loss over time.
- Protect the hair from sweat. That problem gets more pressing in summer, which means that you should wash the hair more often during this season. Also, wearing a helmet is an extra risk factor. To decrease the potential harm, keep it clean and put on a bandana under it.
- Minimize the use of styling products. First, they may contain aggressive chemicals. Secondly, applying gels and lacquers in large amounts is likely to make hairs much heavier, which increases a load on follicles and weakens them.
- Do not use hair dyes. Although many manufacturers claim that their products are mild and safe, the risk of damaging the hair is high enough. If you suffer from problems with the hair growth, it is advisable to avoid coloring the hair at all.
- Do scalp massage. Find a couple of free minutes for this simple procedure on a regular basis, that will make a positive impact on the health of scalp and will boost the hair growth. Certainly, using essential oils is highly recommended. Opt for a sesame or almond oil.
- Try natural remedies that are always at hand. According to studies, one can significantly improve the state of the hair and reduce its loss by applying green tea to it. One should brew 2 bags of such tea per one cup of water, wait until it cools down, rub it into the hair and leave for 60 minutes. One is likely to notice the first results in about a week or a bit longer. One more frequently used solution is to apply garlic, onion or ginger juice. It should be left on the hair overnight. The effect will get noticeable in about a week as well.
- Keep to a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure that you consume enough vitamins, proteins and other essential nutrients. Pay special attention to vitamins A, B, D and E, as well as iron. Sure, you can use synthetic vitamin products, but it is much more preferable to get everything needed from food, if it is possible.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. These bad habits make a disastrous impact on the work of the overwhelming majority of organs and systems of your body. As for their influence on the health of your hair, they reduce its growth.
- Drink enough water. Hairs consist of water for around 25%, so, you should make sure they are hydrated enough. Doctors recommend drinking 4 glasses of water per a day as a minimum.
- Avoid stress. As it has already been mentioned, stress can provoke a loss of hair. So, practicing yoga or meditation is always a good idea.
- Stay active. Free at least 30 minutes per a day for some kind of a physical activity, for example, swimming, riding a bicycle or at least walking. That will help to normalize hormone levels and to cope with stress, which will make a positive impact on the hair health.
- Monitor your health. Losing too much hair can be a sign or a consequence of an extensive range of varied diseases and conditions. So, it is crucial to undergo medical examinations as recommended by your physician.
- Do not ignore hair growth problems. As soon as you notice the first signs of alopecia (or your dear people tell you about them), be sure to see a doctor and discuss that problem with him. Do not wait until the situation gets worse.
To sum up, you can significantly reduce the risk of hair loss or slow it down simply by adjusting some of the habits. Certainly, in the case of inherited alopecia, you cannot prevent or stop it, but you can at least remove the risk factors and use proper treatment to take control over the proces. As for other types of hair loss, they can be easily prevented, stopped or reversed in the overwhelming majority of cases.
All the information presented above about the hair loss, its reasons or treatment solutions is provided for information only. The source does not bear any responsibility for its improper use. One should not treat the content published above as medical advice. It is strictly recommended turning to a doctor without a delay in case of any problems with hair growth, so that the specialist can determine the reason for this condition and select the proper treatment. One should never use any medications without getting an approval from a medical specialist, since the overwhelming majority of them have multiple contraindications and can cause severe side effects. If a man decides to solve the problem of hair loss or alopecia at his sole discretion without consulting a doctor, he should keep in mind that it can make the situation much worse.