How Hair Loss Can Be Prevented
Hair Loss is one of those things that are inevitable in a man’s life. Our ancestors tried all sorts of concoctions to prevent it with very little success. Your genes determine whether you lose your hair or not so finding a way to prevent it is certainly a challenge. In the past, con men sold Snake Oil to desperate men to help them grow their hair back.
Thankfully we have a greater understanding of the causes and there is treatment available to halt it and slow it down. Male pattern baldness and alopecia is another description for hair loss in men. It is generally due to hair follicles being sensitive to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a hormone derived from testosterone (Source: NICE). To better understand your hair loss you should visit your doctor.
Medication to treat hair loss reduces the effects of DHT on the hair follicles preventing further loss. The effects only last while you are taking the treatment. Hair loss resumes if you stop taking them. Sadly there is no permanent way to prevent hair loss because it is a natural occurrence.
It is most common in middle-aged men. Younger men also suffer from male pattern baldness which is usually because it is hereditary and runs in the family. It is a natural occurrence and not an illness. Dihydrotesterone (DHT) causes hair follicles to weaken and produce weaker hair in each growth cycle.
Hair grows in three yearly cycles resulting in less hair every time hair grows. Loss either occurs all over the head or in a particular pattern starting at the temples. Hair around the ears and back of the neck remains resulting in a bald patch on the top. Some men have an island of hair at the top of the head due to the hair loss pattern.
Losing hair affects men psychologically especially if they are young because it affects their appearance. This results in low self-esteem, low confidence and isolation. These days there is extreme pressure to look good on social media so hair loss is even more noticeable. Most men learn to change the way they perceive their hair loss in order to overcome their disappointment.
Men who are just starting to lose their hair are able to halt or slow down hair loss with tablets that reduce the effect of DHT on hair follicles. They contain the active ingredient Finasteride. There can be some side effects (HERE) but not every man experiences them. The treatment only works while you are taking it because hair loss will return once you stop taking it. Aindeem, Finasteride and Propecia are popular hair loss treatments.
Most treatments involve disguising baldness rather than preventing it. Clever hairdressers are able to style hair so it improves the look of remaining hair rather than emphasising the hair loss. Modern-day wigs and hairpieces are very effective at hiding baldness and appear completely natural. Hair weaves are convenient but may cause further damage to weak hair.
The most extreme and expensive way to treat it is by transplanting healthy hair follicles into areas of the scalp missing hair. Elton John and Wayne Rooney are the most obvious celebrities who have had this treatment but there are likely to be many more. This treatment is normally out of reach price wise for most men and is not a viable option.
By Parv Sagoo (January 2019)