Everything you need to know about hair loss
What is hair loss?
There are a variety of reasons why you might lose your hair, but the most common in men is androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness affects approximately 42% of men, and although it is more common with age, it can start to affect men as early as their twenties. By age 50, more than 50% of men are affected by male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness hair loss is characterized by the receding hairline at the front or top of the head which can progress to partial or complete baldness. You may also notice that your hair is thinning at the top of your head.
The reason why this happens is due to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the hair follicles on your head to shrink and eventually stop producing new hair, which leads to baldness.
How to stop hair loss in men
3 ways to help prevent hair loss
1. Identify the problem early
As with many medical conditions, it’s important to identify the problem early on so that you can start exploring treatment options as early as possible. You can choose to go for the natural look and try out different hairstyles before going completely bald, or you can go for hair loss treatments. Whichever route you choose, recognizing that you are losing your hair early is an important step.
2. Adopt good hair hygiene
If you notice that you are losing more hair than usual in the shower, it may be time to ditch the 3-in-1 shower gel and shampoo. While there is no evidence-based shampoo that will stop you from losing your hair, good hair hygiene will help promote the overall health of your hair follicles. For example, washing your hair too often could remove natural oils that help keep your hair healthy and growing. Depending on the type of hair and skin you have, your doctor may be able to help you create a hair routine.
3. Try proven anti-hair loss treatments
If you have decided that you don’t want to adopt the bald look, it is proven hair loss treatments it can help. Finasteride is a prescription oral tablet that helps reduce the levels of DHT in your body, in turn slowing down the hair loss process. Minoxidil is a topical treatment that stimulates the blood vessels and may lead to hair growth. Chat with your doctor or see a general practitioner through a digital health service to learn about treatment options that are right for your medical history, symptoms, and goals.
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What not to do if you are losing your hair
Don’t panic – there are ways to treat hair loss even if it seems like the hair is falling out at an alarming rate. While it’s perfectly understandable to want to try everything on the internet, as a doctor I only recommend using evidence-based treatments. The same goes for some shampoos and products that claim to stimulate hair growth – they may work for some people, but there is no guarantee that they will work at all.
What to do if you are losing your hair
You can decide you look very bald, in which case, great! However, if you want to try and treat hair loss, the first step will be to see a licensed doctor. Your GP will be able to offer you a preliminary consultation and advice on how to proceed. You can also use a digital health service that connects you with real doctors online. If you choose this approach, be sure to choose a trustworthy service that provides holistic care and doesn’t sacrifice quality. All digital health services should be complete with your medical history and symptoms.
In addition to topical and oral hair loss treatments, you can also consider hair transplants as an alternative.
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Dr Joseph Santos is a Certified General Practitioner and Medical Director of Rosemary Health, a digital service connecting Australians to quality health care online. With over 15 years of experience, Dr Santos is interested in men’s health issues ranging from sexual health to chronic diseases.