As we age, we may inevitably come up with an unexpected challenge; hair loss. Though primarily occurring in men, there have been an increasing number of cases popping up in women as well. This brings us to the real question: can hair loss be prevented? Or is it impossible given genetic predisposition? In this article we give you the 5 most effective ways to combat hair loss.
Does Everyone Experience The Same Type Of Hair Loss?
No, there are actually many different types of hair loss conditions that can occur as a result of external stimuli, medical conditions or even using particular prescription drugs. However, the type most common among men and women is the type called Androgenetic Alopecia.
What Exactly Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
Androgenetic Alopecia is hair loss occurring as a result of the hair follicles sensitivity to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, restricting blood flow to them and the subsequent ability of hair to thrive.
The Causes Of Hair Loss
Though no one knows with 100% certainty what is responsible for the ultimate cascade of hair loss, research has revealed significant correlations that promote the condition. If you are extremely concerned with maintaining your hair count, the following are things to watch out for:
- Genetics: by far the greatest contributor determining if you will experience Androgenetic Alopecia, this is also the factor you have the least control over. As much as two out of three men experience hair loss by the age of 60, demonstrating the far reaching influence genes play on hair quality.
- High Estrogen Levels: the three primary sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone share a complex relationship. So much so that an increase in estrogen levels may be one of the factors that results in the initiation of hair loss. As estrogen levels increase, the body tries to get a grip of it by a compensatory increase in DHT levels. While this may sound like a good mechanism, as mentioned earlier DHT may have a negative effect on the hair follicles of susceptible individuals (primarily men), hastening the loss of hair. Progesterone, on the other hand is the third party hormone which helps to suppress both estrogen and DHT, but is rapidly reduced following the age of 30, and while under high stress, as it is involved in production of stress hormones. This could explain the occurrence of hair loss under high stress conditions and frequently as we age.
- Use Of Certain Prescription Medication: some drugs inhibit the normal phases of growth hair go through, or may worsen the effect that hormones have on the follicles. Hormones rule body processes, so be sure to keep your testosterone levels in the optimal range.
- Medical Conditions: certain conditions result in the body’s immune system attacking its own cells, the hair follicles included.
Best Options To Manage Hair Loss
If you’ve yet to experience hair loss, but have a family history, there is no better time to get hold of it. However, even if you have started experiencing some degree of loss, there are still great options you can use to stop and even reverse the loss thus far.
The best options include:
The most popular hair loss treatment on the planet, it works by increasing blood flow to the nutrient starved follicles. It functions similarly to the bodybuilding supplement L-arginine which promotes nitric oxide synthesis.
An anti-fungal medication which also possesses potent anti-androgenic effects. Ketoconazole is one of the most popular hair loss treatments, as it is able to treat hair loss from two causes (fungi and DHT related).
Ketoconazole binds to the androgen receptors found on hair follicles and prevent DHT from interacting at that site. A ketoconazole shampoo is one of the best options you can employ in your hair loss battle, as the oral medications will have negative effects in men.
Originally a diuretic used in treating hypertension, it functions in a manner similar to ketoconazole by binding with androgen receptors and preventing the effects of DHT from occurring. However, it must be used topically, as oral medication also causes negative effects on men’s hormonal health.
This hormone was shown in studies to be able to suppress DHT production (a 5-alpha reduce inhibitor) as well as estrogen levels, helping prevent estrogen dominance. Progesterone decreases fast past age 45, and could explain the increase in estrogen levels that occur at this point. A European study was also able to find that DHT creams were useful in treating enlarging prostate (BPH) showing that estrogen may be more of a cause than believed.
Soy Isoflavones And Capsaicin
The combination synergistically increases levels of dermal IGF-1, as a study demonstrated the connection between IGF-1 and hair loss.
When it comes to treating hair loss, no one particular treatment is superior to the other. In fact, the best therapies used more than 1 product, as well as a good shampoo that fights thinning hair.
For best results use the following:
- Minoxidil, to boost blood flow to the scalp and follicles
- A topical DHT blocker, either ketoconazole or spironolactone may be used here, as their anti-androgenic effects are similar.
- Progesterone Cream, especially important to men older than 40
- Soy Isoflavones and Capsaicin, to boost dermal IGF-1 levels, and cover another base.
Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) was not included in this list owing to its SEVERE negative effects on men who currently, and previously used it. A study is being done to determine why previous users develop debilitating mental and sexual issues, and to ultimately advocate for its removal from sale.