To call hair loss a common problem in men would be an understatement. With two thirds of American men experiencing some level of hair loss by the age of 35 and 85% of them experiencing thinning hair by age 50, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of U.S. males will deal with alopecia at some point in their lives. There are many reasons for male hair loss, a sizable percentage of which are perfectly benign. Additionally, while some men have trouble coming to grips with this issue, others simply take thinning follicles in stride. If you’re experiencing hair loss, particularly premature thinning, it’s generally a good idea to seek out answers. If the problem is reversible, you may be able to restore your locks to their former glory, and if it signifies something more serious, you’ll have the advantage of catching it early. Men who are curious about why they’re losing their hair should consider the following reasons.
Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is undeniably the most common culprit for hair loss in men. This condition is responsible for about 95% of all male hair loss cases and is directly tied to genetics and sexual hormones. More often than not, MPB follows a pattern that involves a receding hairline and thinning at the crown. Male pattern baldness can be traced to a gene inherited by your parents – a gene which is thought to affect how sensitive hair follicles are to the hormone known as DHT. This hormone causes follicles to shrink, and as they grow progressively smaller, hair grows finer and thinner. Over time, certain follicles will shrink so much that hair stops growing back.
Despite scientists routinely claiming to be on the cusp of discovering a cure, there is currently no definitive remedy for male pattern baldness. Some medications purport to slow and/or reverse MPB’s progression, but not everyone who tries them sees the same results. While some men report great success, others see little to no regrowth. Additionally, since some of these medications are associated with undesirable side effects, it’s strongly recommended that you consult a doctor before proceeding to take them.
Hair loss is among the many byproducts of low testosterone. Waning testosterone levels are also synonymous with fatigue, sleep issues, poor memory and lack of focus – among other things. However, it’s important to note that hair loss and various other conditions associated with low testosterone can be caused by a number of other factors. If your doctor finds that you’re suffering from low testosterone, they may recommend testosterone boosters. While they can be quite effective, you should avoid taking testosterone boosters without first getting the OK from your doctor, as they may have other treatment options in mind.
Scalp infections can also lead to hair loss, although this type of thinning tends to be patchier than standard alopecia. Ringworm, in particular, has been known to cause bald spots all around the scalp. This condition can also cause patches of hair to become brittle, fragile and prone to falling out. This ailment is caused by fungi known as dermatophytes, which attack both the skin on your scalp and the hair shaft. Ringworm is also highly contagious and can spread via person-to-person, person-to-object and animal-to-person transmission. Since direct skin contact is the primary method of transmission, avoid touching any person or animal you know to be suffering from this condition.
Fortunately, ringworm is reasonably easy to treat. In addition to medications that are taken by mouth, doctors often prescribe medicated shampoos to combat this condition. As is the case with the other ailments discussed above, only a doctor is qualified to determine whether or not ringworm is the cause of your hair loss, so don’t begin a treatment regimen without consulting one. On the plus side, once ringworm has been successfully treated, any lost hair should grow back.
Although it can be a hard pill to swallow, the sizable majority of men will face some level of hair loss in their lifetime. While some men are understandably distraught by the prospect of thinning follicles, others are perfectly willing to face baldness head-on. If you’re currently dealing with hair loss and interested in identifying the root cause, talk to a doctor or dermatologist about the previously discussed issues.