Whether you’ve just noticed a thinning hairline or you’re constantly wearing a baseball hat to hide your bald spot, there’s a good chance you’ve tried at least one product to keep your hair. And while there are myriad products designed to fight hair loss, it can sometimes be hard to tell which methods to trust and which to toss.
One hard truth: Hair loss is mostly out of your control. “Baldness comes down to your genes”. If you have the baldness gene, there are some natural remedies that may make your hair stronger and healthier to slow your hair loss slightly—but they won’t prevent you from going bald. Still, maintaining hair health by eating well and using the right products—combined with medical-grade treatments—can really work all together to help you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.
Male Pattern Hair Loss
Permanent hair-loss caused by the action of androgens on genetically susceptible follicles. Androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness or male pattern hair loss) is a non-reversible genetically determined hair loss disease. The presence of Androgen is necessary for its progression. It is a multi-factorial condition in which genetic predisposition & circulating androgens (testosterone androsteinedione, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)) are the key factors in a process of progressive hair follicle miniaturisation and reduction in the anagen (hair growing) phase. Associated with the conversion of androgen testosterone into di-hydro-testosterone (DHT) by the 5 alpha reductase enzyme. Hair characteristics may change.
The Norwood-Hamilton Scale (below) is used to describe the level of development of male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) which may or may not travel through each of these stages, the development may stop at any time.
Follicles miniaturise to produce vellus hairs. Caucasoids are more susceptibility than Afroids or Mongoloids. Eunuchs (post-pubertal castrated males) do not usually suffer Androgenetic Alopecia however recent findings suggest that some will have suffered this due to the mediation into dihydrotestosterone of a follicle residing enzyme known as 3-alpha-hydroxy-steroid-dehydrogenases.
The following medications may assist in male pattern baldness
There are some solutions that address the problem (using stem cells to regrow hair is promising) but many are still years away from becoming available as a hair loss treatment for men. So here’s the slowdown on which baldness solutions available now are truly effective—and which hair-loss fighters are merely snake oil.
1. Minoxidil – The brand name of this topical treatment for sprouting new hair is Rogaine, and it’s one of two FDA-approved drugs for the condition. Applied topically, is widely used for the treatment of hair loss. It is effective in helping promote hair growth. About 40% of men experience hair regrowth after 3–6 months.
a. Minoxidil must be used indefinitely for continued support of existing hair follicles and the maintenance of any experienced hair regrowth. Treatments usually include a 5% concentration solution designed for men.
b. Minoxidil will help slow the hair loss process and is the best solution for the time being to help you hang on to your hair. It may even help you grow a little bit of peach fuzz, and the biggest area you’ll see regrowth is on the crown rather than the front of your hairline. However, you’ll pretty much lose that hair you were trying to save if you ever stop using the med.
c. Though uncommon, some side effects may include itchiness and chest pain (minoxidil also comes in a pill to treat high blood pressure).
2. Finasteride: FDA-approved medicine to treat male pattern hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia). The drug was originally created to help prevent prostate cancer, and works by blocking production of a male hormone in the scalp known as androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that shuts down follicles to cause male pattern baldness.
a. Treatment provides about 30% improvement in hair loss after six months of treatment, and effectiveness only persists as long as the drug is taken.
b. Propecia acts as a sort of fertilizer for the monixidal, helping it to regrow hair more effectively.
c. You have to know it’s a lifetime commitment. Once you stop using Propecia, any hair loss that you would have had if you weren’t taking the medication will happen within three to eight months.
3. Hair Restoration surgery and non-surgical replacement systems still remain viable options in the treatment of androgen related alopecia. The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day doctors used plugs that resembled cornrows. Today guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
If you don’t want a scar because you like to wear your hair short, you might opt for a “scarless” hair transplant. Also known as follicular unit extraction (FUE), grafts are harvested one at a time with tiny punches that heal virtually undetected so you can still buzz your head. If you’ve gone so bald that you don’t have a lot of donor hair on your head, FUE extractions can be done with body hair such as on your chest, stomach, back, and sometimes even the pubic area. Regrowth rates with FUE Hair Transplant is almost as high as with the strip method, and there is less downtime—three to five days to heal compared to 10 days for the strip method.
While diet alone won’t save your hair, there may be some truth to the old adage that you are what you eat. You’re not going to have the healthiest hair if you’re living off doughnuts, because being nutrient-deficient weakens strands and makes them more prone to breakage.
While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier. Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of vitamin B are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach.