Signs of Hair Loss: How To Tell If You're Experiencing Worrisome Hair LossSeptember 2, 2021
An overwhelming majority of men will experience male pattern baldness or general hair loss at some point in their life.
Indeed, a whopping 80% of men are estimated to experience hair loss in their lifetime!
Exactly when the baldness starts, and its severity, will be most influenced by inherited traits and genetics. While there's not much you can do about your genes, they are some great options when it comes to hair loss treatment.
Perhaps the most frustrating and often overlooked issue with hair loss is that the longer you wait, the harder it can be to reverse the damage that's been done. For hair loss, the most effective treatment is prevention and slowing progress. If you start to notice any of the following signs, it's time to consider your options.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Part of hair's natural growth cycle is shedding old hair, typically 50 to 100 hairs each day. This is typically not noticeable, as new hair is constantly growing in at the same time and you have 100,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on your head!
Noticeable hair loss occurs when new hair stops replacing the old hair that has fallen out.
Some of the most common factors that contribute to hair loss include:
- Family history. The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that begins to show up during the aging process. This condition is called androgenic alopecia, but is more commonly referred to as male pattern baldness. Androgenic alopecia occurs gradually over time and often follows predictable patterns in men.
- Hormone changes or medical conditions. A variety of medical conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes or thyroid problems. Other medical conditions include alopecia areata, where the immune system attacks hair follicles resulting in patchy hair loss; scalp infections like ringworm; and trichotillomania, a mental disorder that results in frequent hair pulling.
- Side effects of medications. Hair loss can occur as a side effect from certain drugs, including many used to treat cancer, arthritis, depression, heart conditions, gout, and high blood pressure. If you think you may be experiencing hair loss as the result of a medication, talk to your doctor about changing your medication. Your provider's involvement is important; stopping your treatment could result in more serious consequences than hair loss.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy on the head, or chemotherapy in general, may result in a loss of hair.
- Stress. Although temporary, this type of hair loss or general thinning of the hair can occur for several months after a physically or emotionally shocking event, or with ongoing work or financial stress.
- Hairstyles. Wearing your hair consistently in certain styles can cause hair loss. Tight styles like buns, ponytails, or cornrows can result in a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. In addition, hot oil treatments and perms can also cause hair to fall out. If scarring occurs, then the hair loss could be permanent.
What Are The Treatment Options For Hair Loss?
Once hair loss has occurred at length, it can be difficult to regrow your lost hair; however, there are options that can help to prevent further hair loss and slow the thinning process.
For men, hair restoration solutions include:
- Minoxidil. The original brand name for minoxidil was Rogaine, but this medication has since become available as a generic and is one of the most important hair loss solutions for men. Minoxidil was approved by the FDA in the '90s for prescription use, but it is now available over-the-counter due do its great safety profile. This medication is rubbed onto the scalp regularly to help prevent further hair loss from occurring and help to regrow lost hair in some cases. It is available in a 2% and 5% concentration for men, and 2% for women.
- Finasteride. Propecia is the brand name version of finasteride, but this oral medication is now also available generically. This prescription medication is used to treat male pattern hair loss in addition to benign prostatic hyperplasia. It's taken once daily by mouth, and it works by stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone largely responsible for hair loss.
- Topical retinoids. There are some dermatologists who recommend using special compounded hair topicals that might include a small amount of vitamin A, minoxidil, and other ingredients that dermatologists are familiar with. Because these compound formulas are specially blended, they're not all the same.
- Hair transplants. These procedures involve harvesting hair follicles from one area of your body and transplanting it to the bald regions on your scalp. Hair transplants have improved over the years and now look more natural than the cringe-worthy hair plugs you may have seen 10 or 20 years ago.
- Laser light therapy. Low powered laser light therapy includes using lasers and LEDs to stimulate growth and increase the density of the hair on your scalp. LLL therapy, as it's known, can help in conjunction with other hair growth approaches.
- Platelet rich plasma. This process involves a blood draw, after which platelet-rich plasma is removed from your blood and re-injected into your scalp in order to stimulate new hair growth.
- Natural Supplements and Topicals. A variety of natural substances and supplements can be used to improve hair health and thinning, including certain botanicals like saw palmetto extract, biotin, and caffeine among others. Many are available in oral supplements, while some are used topically in shampoos or serums.
Signs of Hair Loss
Due to genetics and other various factors, not everyone will experience hair loss in the same way. However, these are a few of the most common symptoms of hair loss:
More Hair is Falling Out Than Usual
Let's start with the obvious. Excessive shedding is often the first sign guys notice when they start losing their hair. It's perfectly natural to lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair per day, so some hairs in the shower drain doesn't mean you need to call a doctor. But if you start seeing a noticeable amount of hair on your pillowcase when you wake up, stuck in your comb or brush, or stuck in the drain during a shower, it might be a good time to consider hair loss treatment options to get ahead of the storm.
Random Bald Spots Start To Appear
While most people associate hair loss with the hair on top of their head, there are a few ways that hair loss can present elsewhere. One is called telogen effluvium, and it can affect the hair on all parts of your body. This type of baldness generally occurs after a traumatic event.
If you’ve noticed an increase in shedding, thin patches of hair, or bald spots after you've experienced an emotionally, physically, or psychologically stressful event, this may be the cause. The good news is that telogen effluvium is generally a temporary condition, and hair growth should continue about three to six months after the trigger occurs.
Your Hairline Is Starting To Recede
It can be difficult to notice your hair falling out, especially if you have a shorter hair style, but it’s pretty easy to tell when your hairline starts to recede. This is normally when most men start to realize they may be losing their hair. When you start brushing your hair and styling it in different ways because it just doesn’t look as good or thick as it once did, this is a good time to consider treatment options.
One of the most common attributes of a receding hairline is the thinning of hair around your temples. For most people, this pattern will continue to spread over time until they end up with an “M” shaped hairline.
Your Scalp is More Visible
When you're young and your hair is healthy, you probably never saw your scalp unless you shaved your head. Once you begin to see your scalp just by looking in the mirror, it’s likely you’ve begun to lose a lot of hair from the top of your head. Once this starts, you'll likely continue to lose more and more hair until you start to develop noticeable bald spots.
While dealing with dandruff is not always a sign that you're losing your hair, it can mean that there's something going on with your scalp and hair. Dandruff can be a common sign of thinning, as it typically causes the scalp to go through meaningful changes that can alter the hydration and oil production at your scalp.
If you suddenly start to experience more dandruff than you used to, it may be worthwhile to seek out a dermatologist or specialist to try to figure out why.
Increased Sensitivity On Your Head or Scalp
Another common sign that you may be losing your hair is if you start to notice a significant change in sensitivity to the elements: cold, hot, wet, etc. When you step into cold or hot weather, try to pay attention to how it feels on your head. Has anything changed? For example, feeling the wind whistling through a thinner crown of hair can be pretty noticeable in the winter months. Also when your hair starts to thin you'll lose more of the protection it provides against the sun's ultraviolet rays.
If you start to experience sunburns on the top of your head, and you never did before, it’s a good sign you're losing some hair.
Losing your hair may be difficult to notice at first, but it’s important that you catch it early. Regrowing hair is possible, but preventing further hair loss is a key first step in preserving your hair's density. If you're noticing more hair falling out than usual, your hairline receding, seeing your scalp more easily, and increased sensitivity, consider your treatment options.
Once your hair is gone, it's much harder to bring back now-dead follicles. While some hair loss treatments are effective at stimulating hair growth, it’s much easier to prevent hair loss than to reverse it.
Rex MD has common, effective, and easy-to-use hair loss treatments designed for every guy. We know that men don't want to mess around with expensive or time-consuming hair restoration products, which is why we keep it simple. FDA-approved minoxidil, for instance, and finasteride are two of the most effective and affordable medications in the fight against baldness. They're simple to use... and simple to order. Click here to learn more.
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