Why do Men go Bald – the Reasons why you are Losing Hair
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Men take pride in their strength and courage (well, most men that is). However, a receding hairline can shake the ground under any man. No man wants their head full of hair to disappear, but with time, it is the sad reality that they have to deal with.
According to recent studies, more than half the men in the US will undergo some level of hair loss before they clock 35. If you have just noticed your receding hairline (probably a friend pointed it out, or you saw a huge difference in your graduation photos), you are wondering why it is happening to you.
But before you beat yourself up, we’d like to point out that bald is beautiful. And believe it or not, many women are attracted to a shiny head. If you are not buying this, ask the ladies in your life what they think of the likes of Jason Statham and The Rock.
To see the beauty in your new look, you need to accept it. And acceptance comes with the understanding that going bald is not within your control. Below are some of the reasons why men are losing hair.
Reasons why men go Bald
We do not choose our parents and therefore have no control over the set of DNA and genes we are dealt with. According to experts, genetics is the most significant contributor to thinning hair.
If your father or grandfather (from either parent) experienced balding, there’s a high chance you’ll go bald as well. It’s not fair, but you will have to work with the cards you are dealt with.
Hormones are another leading cause of baldness in men as well. Now, before you freak out, not all hormones are responsible for balding. The hormone responsible for male pattern baldness is DHT. It blocks hair follicles and caused the hair to thin out. Men who have higher chances of developing male pattern baldness inherit overly DHT-sensitive hair follicles from their parents.
The good news in all this is that DHT only shrinks and blocks hair follicles and doesn’t kill them completely. What this means is that there is a chance hair can grow from these follicles later in life with the right treatments.
There is a link between DHT and testosterone (testosterone is converted to DHT). Because of this connection, most men think baldness comes about as a result of having too much testosterone, and therefore, they are manlier than those without bald heads. Men love testosterone as it is responsible for their masculine features. So we understand why some may be led to believe the above myth.
So what does male pattern baldness mean exactly? Simply put, male pattern baldness means that your hair follicles are more sensitive to DHT and male hormones. This means that castrated men have the unique ‘privilege’ of not going bald. And though they may have a head full of hair, the rest of their bodies have very little hair. It’s all very confusing, and quite frankly, we’d rather not get into it on this post.
Aside from the above DHT facts, there are other things you should know about DHT.
- DHT is important for the development of male genitalia during fetal development
• Some hair loss medications including finasteride reduce DHT levels and consequently allow hair follicles to thrive
- DHT is 5X more powerful in comparison to regular testosterone
- We would not have all our make features, including our enviable deep voice, hairy chests, and large muscles without DHT. So thank you, DHT.
- DHT plays no role in female development – it is entirely a male thing. Doesn’t this sound nice? Finally, men have something all to themselves.
- Age – There is nothing complicated or too scientific with this factor. As we grow old, hair growth gradually slows down. Hair loss is part of getting older and getting wiser. However, some experience more hair loss than others and a little faster too.
A Detailed Look at Hair Growth and Baldness
In addition to understanding the causes of male pattern baldness, we must understand hair growth. Hair does not grow like trees. There are three different stages to it, including anagen, catagen, and telogen.
This is the growth phase. This phase lasts between two and six years. The time hair stays in this phase determines how long the hair strand will be. At any one time, 85% of the hair on your head is in this phase.
This phase is shorter than the anagen phase. It only lasts for about two weeks and allows hair follicle renewals over time.
Many of the hair on your head is in a growing phase, and the rest is in the telogen phase. In the telogen stage, the hair follicles are dormant and last between 30 – 60 days. When this phase comes to an end, the process goes back to the anagen phase, and the hair is pushed out by new hair – this is natural hair loss and is no cause for alarm.
When Does Hair Loss Start?
This is a tricky question to answer. There is no definite time or timeline for the onset of hair loss. It all depends on the risk factors one is exposed to. Hair loss can start as early as puberty, and if you are lucky when you are older. And with all the factors causing hair loss, it feels like the odds are stacked against men. Therefore, most men look at men in their 80s and with heads full of hair with great admiration.
Other Factors Causing Hair Loss for Men
We have mentioned the top factors causing hair loss. However, there are other factors, including stress, that contribute to hair loss. If were to stretch this line of thought, pressures at work and demanding spouses can cause hair loss. But the good news is that stress only causes temporary hair loss (if any).
On the same note, seasonal hair loss is a possibility. You can lose your hair during winter (between October and December). High heat and the sun rays can also damage your hair and cause sweating.
Sweating rids the skin of its oily coating, which helps in protecting hair follicles. Luckily, as pointed out above, the effects are temporary.
With that said, let’s look at other factors causing hair loss.
Hair Loss and Smoking
Smoking puts your health at risk. When you consider the toxins one consumes from cigarette smoking, it is not a shock that it can cause hair loss as well. According to studies, men who smoke 20+ cigarettes are at a higher risk of experiencing baldness than those who do not.
You see, smoking affects circulation, which means that blood flow to hair follicles is impaired. Moreover, smoking causes diseases that have hair loss as their side effects. And last but not least, smoking increases aging, which in turn increases hair loss.
Excessive alcohol consumption affects estrogen and zinc levels in the blood. With diminished zinc and estrogen levels, the chances of hair loss increase. Zinc levels reduce while estrogen levels increase. In addition to these, the levels of folic acids are also reduced. Zinc is essential in hair growth, and folic acid helps in the growth of strong and healthy hair.
Experts may not agree on some hair loss facts, but what they come together on is the fact that a healthy diet is essential in maintaining healthy hair. Taking a diet with a perfect mix of iron, protein, zinc, folic acid, and other nutrients will help in keeping hair loss at bay. Why is diet important?
Well, a hair strand is made of protein. It is, therefore, logical to have a diet with protein to boost hair health. Without enough protein, the hair will jump into the resting stage. Also, the lack of iron causes hair loss.
Before we bring this piece to a close, we’d like to point out medication that contributes to male pattern baldness. The severity of hair loss as a result of medication depends on the type of medication you take, the dose, and how sensitive you are to it. Below are some of the drugs believed to cause male pattern baldness;
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- High blood pressure
- Specific antifungal drugs and antibiotics
- Weight loss drugs
- Thyroid medications
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Aside from these, chemotherapy drugs cause severe hair loss in a short time. These drugs are designed to target and kill cancer cells, but in the process, they also attack normal healthy cells, including hair follicles. Luckily, the effects of chemotherapy on hair loss are temporary.
Related reading: What’s the Best Straight Razor?
From the above piece, there are loads of reasons you could be going bald. However, with most men, age, genetics, and hormones are the leading causes of hair loss. As for genetics, you do not have control over what transpires.
Related reading: What’s the Best Shaving Cream for Men?
With that said, there are treatment methods you can use to help in curbing baldness and stimulating hair growth. But if you can embrace the new look, remember bald is the new beautiful. You can couple your bald head with a thick beard for a better look and maybe even decide to shave your head. If you decide to do so, check out our best razors for shaving head article as well as the best electric head shaver guide.
Related reading: What’s the Best Straight Razor Kit?
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. Kevin's profile on Linkedin.