How Long Does It Take To Go Bald? (Interesting Facts)
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It is often said that beauty is fleeting. And though it is true, most people never want to believe it applies to them. Remember when you were in your teens and early twenties and looked at your uncles, dad, and other older people in your life and wondered, ‘how did they get so old?’ Well, as the years fly by, you are slowly getting an answer to these questions and starting to get an idea of why the beauty industry is thriving.
Among other changes, you are starting to notice your hair thinning out and some parts of your head balding. Sure, you have great self-esteem, but somehow this process is freaking you out. How in the world will you look when you are completely bald? How long does it take? Is there a cure?
According to health experts, balding takes between 5 and 25 years. And the worst bit about it is that it is not even or neat. If anything, the process is unpredictable. While your friend might remain the same for a couple of years, you might lose all your hair in five years.
But there is some good news. The 21st century is all about second chances and making weird fashion statements look great and attractive. So yes, baldness has become an acceptable state, with some women admitting they are attracted to bald men. And if you consider the likes of The Rock, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, and Bruce Willis, it’s easy to see why.
But even then, you still need to know how long it will take to bald and some reasons behind it. So without mincing more words, let’s dive into some interesting facts.
Hair Growth Stages
To understand the balding process, you need to understand hair growth. First off, there’s a difference between the hair on your head, on your face, and other body parts. Medical experts refer to them as terminal hair, androgenic hair, and vellus hair, respectively.
Though facial hair and head hair grow so close to each other, there are differences. They feature different textures with head hair being softer. And though they go through the same growth stages, they stages take different times. Below are some mechanics of how head hair grows.
On your head, there are 100,000 hair follicles. Every hair you see on your head starts at the base of one of these follicles. Hair receives nourishment from blood flowing into the follicles. Once it’s long enough, the hair breaks through your skin. In the process, the hair strand cuts through a sebaceous gland, which will coat it with sebum oil and gives it a shiny and healthy look. But by the time hair is showing above the skin, it is dead.
Now, hair doesn’t experience continuous growth. It goes through three stages, as we explain below.
- Anagen phase – This is the first and true growth stage. It’s more of the incubation stage and where most of the magic happens. 85% of hair growth happens in this stage. With facial hair, this stage lasts for about 12 months. But with head hair, it lasts anywhere between two and eight years. So the hair you see growing today didn’t grow overnight – the process started several years back.
- Catagen phase – this is a little boring. It’s more of a transition stage. In this stage, hair stops growing, and the hair follicles start renewing themselves. This stage lasts only between four and six weeks.
- Telogen phase – by this time, the fun and excitement are almost gone. The hair is not growing and will not grow for two months. When the two months are up, and the phase ends, the cycle starts again, and new hair pushes the old hair out.
What Is Causing You Baldness
Unfortunately, we cannot give a clear and direct answer to this. Everyone loses hair daily regardless of their age and gender. According to health experts, it’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 hair strands daily. This number sounds like a lot, but remember, you’ve got 100,000 hair follicles on your scalp. And second, the loss doesn’t mean baldness, but it’s a part of the growth cycle (new hair pushing out old hair).
Baldness is not the same as hair loss. With baldness comes the shrinking of hair follicles and a shortened growth cycle. The new hair that pops out is thinner and shorter. Eventually, the hair follicles stop producing new hairs
Several factors could be the cause of your baldness. And unfortunately, many of these are without your circle of influence.
- Genetics – at times, it’s as simple as drawing the short straw of genes. If your dad or his dad, your mom, and her dad experienced balding, there are high chances you will experience it as well. It’s written in your DNA, and you can do nothing about it.
- Hormones – when talking about hair growth hormones, theirs is one term that you will come across many times – dihydrotestosterone. It’s a long word that has a huge impact on your hair growth and balding patterns. You see, when your testosterone changes to dihydrotestosterone, the hair follicles shrink, the hair thins and becomes finer until growth stops altogether. There’s a myth that balding men have high testosterone levels. Their levels aren’t any higher than that of an average man. The problem is that they are sensitive to hormones, including dihydrotestosterone.
- Age – yes, this had to be there. And there’s nothing much to explain here. As you age, the rate of your hair growth reduces. With this in mind, if you come across an old man with a thick afro, congratulate them since they have beaten the odds, plus they hit the genetics jackpot.
- Other factors – according to health experts and numerous studies conducted, several factors contribute to balding. This includes your diet, smoking, alcohol use, medication (including anti-depressants), anti-biotics, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Also, from the movies, you know that chemotherapy treatment causes drastic hair loss. In the process of killing cancer cells, chemo drugs also attack other cells, including those responsible for hair growth. Luckily, hair loss associated with chemotherapy is temporary. Moreover, some skin disorders, including follicle infection, dermatitis, psoriasis, sunburn, and others, cause hair loss. Fungal infections, anemia, diabetes, lupus, and thyroid disease also cause hair loss.
When Will You Start Losing Hair?
Male pattern baldness will start at any time in life. But according to research, 20% of men start experiencing some hair loss by the time they hit 20. This percentage increases significantly with age. And by the time one is 30, you have a 30% chance of losing hair to male pattern baldness. With every decade, this percentage increases by 10%. This means that by the time you live to 80, there will be an 80% chance you will lose hair (a lot of it or not).
If you look back at your high school photos, you were good-looking and with a head full of hair. But even in these pictures, if you are keen enough, you will notice some subtle signs of hair loss, including a receding hairline and hair thinning. However, many men with MPB start noticing signs in their mid and late twenties.
For some men, hair loss is gradual, and it goes unnoticed until a huge chunk is lost. We call this type of baldness invisible baldness. This is because a slow reduction in hair density characterizes it until it is finally noticeable.
You can also suffer temporary hair loss without it being MBP. Some examples include when you are under stress, when you are willing or when you are taking some medication.
So how can you tell you are losing hair? Below are some common signs of hair loss.
Signs You Are Going Bald
You have probably picked up on the fact that hair loss is different from baldness. So just because a few strands of hair are falling off, it doesn’t mean you are balding. Here are a couple of terms you should get acquainted with.
Alopecia – this is a general term for hair loss. Its symptoms include a tiny bald patch in your hair to complete the loss of your body hair. There are many types of alopecia, and male pattern baldness is the most common in men.
MBP is also called androgenic alopecia. This condition affects 50% of men before they celebrate their 50th birthday. Below is a quick overview of what MPB looks like:
- MPB is seen at the front of the head. For most men, the hair at the crown and the temple is most sensitive to DHT.
- The hairline at the front will form an ‘M’ and become more noticeable as it recedes.
- At times the balding on your crown will be more visible than that at the front.
- To be sure you are losing hair, and it’s not just paranoia, you should take a photo of your hairline every month and track the progress.
Also, MBP is not the same as alopecia areata, which is hair loss that happens in patches. Alopecia areata affects men, women, and even children. On the other hand, alopecia totalis is the condition where you lose all your head hair.
Other signs that you are going bald include waking up to find hair on your pillow or leaving behind a ball of hair on your brush or comb. However, be keen to differentiate this loss from the normal 50-100 strands lost in a day.
Do Women Experience Hair Loss?
Men who experience balding have some great options. You can shave, grow a beard, and still look great. But the same case is not true for women. In women, hair loss takes an even bigger toll and affects their emotions, which consequently affects their health. Very few women decide to shave their heads. And the few that they do know it’s a huge gamble. Women don’t have the chance to match a bald head with a beard (at least not many). If you don’t have the head shape to go bald, we recommend saving your hair.
In women, one of the leading causes of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss). According to a report by the Academy of Dermatology, 30 million women have FPHL. With this condition, women’s hair things at the crown and the scalp. It starts by widening at the center. Women are lucky they get to retain their hairline (assuming they do not do hairstyles that strain the hair at the front).
Now, FPHL will shrink the hair follicles and cause them to be shorter, more brittle, and thinner. In the end, the reduction in the number of follicles. But even then, it’s rare for a female to experience complete FPHL. And though FPHL is the biggest cause of this, several factors come into play as well.
- A nutritional deficiency
- A fungal infection on the scalp
- Over treating the hair
- Trichotillomania – This is a mental disorder that causes individuals to pull on their hair often.
How Long Does It Take for Baldness to Kick In?
All the above information was leading up to this piece of content. We have pointed out that men will take between 5 and 25 years to go completely bald. Alopecia (the same as MPB) will not take long, however, if you have a variation of alopecia, including alopecia areata (a result of an autoimmune disorder) or even cicatricial alopecia which develops from a hair follicle infection). The latter type doesn’t have a known cause.
Also, we have mentioned the fact that the rate of hair loss is different for everyone, even though they share similarities. For many men, hair loss halts before it gets to the crown.
Note: 100 hairs reach the end of their journey (the telogen), and they fall out. From the section on how hair grows, you already know this is normal. However, if more than 00 hair strands fall out in a day, then there is a problem. This is what is called clinical hair loss.
In addition to this, balding doesn’t happen overnight. And the thinning hair will regrow through several cycles before it finally stops. So the answer to the question ‘how long will it take for me to go bald?’ is it ‘depends’. It depends on your genes, your luck to an extent, and a bunch of other factors.
And though they are all balding, there is a way to know how advanced your balding is – using the Norwood Scale. This scale has eight hair loss stages. In the first stage, there is minimal hair loss, and in the eighth stage has severe hair loss. In the last stage, you will have very little or no hair on your head.
Generally, this scale offers visual images that help in assessing hair loss progression and stages. The rate at which you progress through the stages is different from your friend’s.
So It’s True I Am Going Bald – What Should I Do?
Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Despite the feelings, you are having, going bald is not the end of the world. And at the end of the day, if you do it right, the bald look will give you a chance to reinvent yourself. With that said, the onset of MPB doesn’t mean that you will get a shiny scalp. With the help of some products and treatments, you can slow down or completely keep baldness at bay.
Below are some solutions you should try.
There are loads of shampoos you can purchase. And though this is great, not all of these shampoos are of high quality. Because of this, you should be wary of the purchase you make. Ensure you choose high-quality hair loss solutions.
High-quality shampoo solutions have the following four ingredients; caffeine, biotin, saw palmetto, and ketoconazole. Each of these ingredients has a role to play in keeping hair loss at bay.
- Ketoconazole – according to health experts, ketoconazole will help to improve the density of head hair and the size of follicles. It will also increase the number of hairs in the anagen stage. Dermatologists say it is a great treatment for Pityriasis, a scalp fungus.
- Caffeine – this doesn’t mean that pouring your morning coffee on your head is an option. You’ll just end up with third-degree burns. However, caffeine in hair-loss shampoos helps in prolonging the anagen stage and improves the length of hair as well as stimulates keratinocyte growth. This cell is found on the outer skin layer.
- Biotin – hair loss is often caused by a deficiency of zinc and biotin (vitamin B7). Biotin helps in strengthening nails and hair. It is also a key component of the health of skin cells. If the skin cells are healthy, the hair follicles will be as well. Biotin is found in loads of foods, including cauliflower, bananas, peanuts, whole grains, and more.
- Saw palmetto – this will, to an extent, block the enzyme that converts your testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
2. Products for Hair Growth
Lie hair loss shampoos; the industry is full of hair growth products. But even with these, you should be vigilant and only purchase the best in the industry. To get you started on the right path, below are some of the common and best hair products you can look into.
- Minoxidil – It is also known as Rogaine. It is a product used to treat hair loss in both women and men. It was initially designed for high blood pressure, but it was later noticed that one of its side effects was hair growth. This led to the production of a topical solution to facilitate hair growth.
- Lipogaine – It is in the same class as minoxidil. It is a powerful treatment for hair loss, and over the years, its results are revered. It works by reducing levels of DHT and increasing hair growth through increased blood flow to your scalp.
- Finasteride – It’s also called Propecia. It is used to treat hair loss, but it has some nasty side effects on one’s sex life. However, according to recent studies, the chances of experiencing these are close to none.
- Supplements – Since a deficiency in some nutrients causes hair loss, it only makes sense that taking supplements of the same nutrients can help prevent hair loss.
3. Treatments for Hair Growth
In your search for hair loss solutions, you might stumble across some conventional practices, including iRestore Laser Hair Growth System, derma roller, and micro scalp-pigmentation.
- Scalp micro-pigmentation – This is a unique process in which you get a tattoo on your head. The medical expert will use some microneedles to tattoo the pigment into your scalp. Several treatments (usually three) are required, but in the end, you’ll look like you have small hair follicles ready to give life to a head full of hair.
- Derma Roller – This process also uses tiny needles. The only difference is that these needles are in a plastic roller. The roller is rolled over the affected portion of your scalp and stimulates a natural healing process. The idea is to trigger the body to create a skin layer better than the previous one. This process also increases skin wound regeneration and activates platelets. Moreover, it activates stem cells in the hair and causes hair follicle pathways to open up. According to health experts, a combination of this treatment and minoxidil yields greater results than if you used them separately. Derma Rollers are also effective in treating acne, skin exfoliation, and stretch marks.
- iRestore Laser Hair Growth System – This treatment has the approval of the FDA. As you might have picked up from its name, the treatment uses laser technology. The laser treatment is done through a helmet. This therapy stimulates hair follicles to grow fuller and thicker according to a 2017 study; this therapy was shown to improve hair count by 43.2%.
Conclusion – How Long Does It Take To Go Bald?
And with that, you now know what to expect with hair loss and what you can do to keep it at bay. As for how long it takes to go bald, the process varies between 5 and 25 years, depending on your genes and other factors you are exposed to.
If you see some signs of hair loss, you can start on hair loss shampoos to slow down the process. Alternatively, you can try the different treatments, as explained above.
Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice.