Navigating the stages of hair loss in men Navigating the stages of hair loss in men

Not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a thick, luscious mane of hair. Even so, your hair can make up a big part of your identity and how you view yourself. That’s why hair loss can be a devastating development, despite it being a natural part of ageing.

One of the most common types of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia. Androgenic alopecia can affect men of all ages but becomes more common in older adults. It’s not always possible to stop hair loss or to regrow hair, but your chances of success are higher if you start treating the problem in its earliest stages.

Hair Loss Stages

There are 7 recognised stages of male pattern baldness according to the Hamilton-Norwood scale. If you are in one of the earlier stages, you have a better chance of treating and reversing your hair loss.

  1. Stage 1: There’s little or no hair loss or hairline recession.
  2. Stage 2: There’s slight hair loss at the temples.
  3. Stage 3: You have significant hairline recession around your temples, and your hairline may be forming an “M” or “U” shape.
  4. Stage 4: You have very deep hairline recession and a loss of hair at the top of your head (the crown).
  5. Stage 5: Your hairline recession connects to the bald spot on your crown.
  6. Stage 6: The hair between your temples and crown is thinning or is already gone.
  7. Stage 7: You have no hair on the top of your head and only a thin band of hair around the side of your head.

Risk Factors for Male Pattern Baldness

All men are susceptible to developing male pattern baldness, but it can be more prevalent in certain groups. For instance, men of Caucasian, African, and Caribbean descent are more likely to have male pattern baldness than other ethnicities.

It’s also as you age, with most noticeable signs appearing after the age of 30. This is the point in the ageing process where hair loss starts to naturally slow down. Periods of high stress can further cause hair loss.

The main risk factor for androgenic alopecia is genetics. This is why men in the same family tend to have similar patterns of hair loss. If there is a family history of hair loss on either side of your family, you’re much more prone to experiencing male pattern baldness. For men, the risk is more than 5 times higher if their father lost their hair.

Research has also shown that a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is linked to androgenic alopecia. DHT is an androgen sex hormone in the body that is converted into testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that contributes to ‘male’ characteristics and can be found in both men and women. Men typically have more testosterone and it’s responsible for men having a deeper voice, increased body hair, and more muscle mass.

An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) converts around 10% of testosterone into DHT. DHT is responsible for the development of male sexual organs and is linked to prostate growth and hair growth. Having too much or too little DHT can impact sexual growth especially during puberty.

When DHT levels are high, it can cause hair loss because it binds to receptors in the hair follicles on the head and shrinks them. All the hair on your body grows through follicles underneath your skin, with each hair going through a 2-6 year cycle of growth. The hair goes into a ‘resting’ phase at the end of the growth cycle and eventually falls out, being replaced by a new hair.

In a normal growth cycle, you can lose around 100 hairs a day without any noticeable thinning because new hairs are growing in their place. However, when you have high levels of DHT, you stop producing enough hair to replace the ones you’ve lost.

Your chances of producing high levels of DHT are thought to be down to genetics, with the trait being passed down to you from your parents. It’s also thought that abnormalities with the androgen receptor (AR) gene can increase your possibility of experiencing DHT related hair loss.

Preventing Male Pattern Baldness

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about genetics. However, you may be able to slow down hair loss if you start making some lifestyle changes as soon as you notice your hairline receding. This includes:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating enough iron and protein in your diet
  • Getting scalp massages
  • Reducing stress
  • Getting enough sleep

You may also want to try taking certain supplements like saw palmetto or biotin. Studies still need to be conducted, but it’s thought that these supplements can promote stronger, healthier hair that’s less prone to breakage and damage.

How To Treat Hair Loss?

Hair loss remedies have evolved a lot over the years. From snake oil to hair pieces to surgical implants, men have tried many different methods to regain the thick hair of their youth.

One proven treatment for hair loss are medications like Finasteride that reduce the amount of DHT in your system. Also sold under the brand name Propecia, Finasteride is a prescription medication that has shown to be nearly 90% effective in treating hair loss.

Finasteride works by binding to 5-AR proteins to prevent DHT from binding to them. This stops the hair follicle from shrinking and can stop the progression of androgen alopecia. In some cases, it may even promote hair regrowth.

Your doctor or prescriber will advise you on the dosage you should take, but it’s usually taken as a tablet once per day with or without food. It is only prescribed to men and shouldn’t be taken by women.

If you’ve been noticing your hair is thinner than it used to be, contact Pharmacy Planet to discuss buying effective hair loss medication online. We can have treatment for hair loss like Finasteride shipped quickly and discreetly to your doorstep. Reach out to us today to get fuller, healthier hair.