Hair Thinning is the most common problem nowadays, especially in males. Males tend to lose hair rapidly as compared to females because of several reasons. Some are genetic while some are age-related. Excessive hair fall and hair thinning causes baldness which eventually leads you to lose confidence. So, it is important to dig out the reasons why we experience hair thinning as men so that we may be able to treat it appropriately and stop hair fall and hair thinning at the right time.
What is a Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is also known as Androgenetic Alopecia. In simple words, Male pattern baldness or the Androgenetic Alopecia is the genetic tendency of men to lose hair. Those men who have a family history of hair loss start to lose hair as they age. It is the most common reason why men lose hair faster than women. Research reveals that 20% of men start to lose hair by the age of 20.
Androgenetic Alopecia is a result of the aging process. As men’s hormone levels change over time, they gradually experience hair thinning and lose hair eventually. Statistics reveal that Androgenetic Alopecia affects all men by the age of 50 years on average.
You can easily predict male pattern baldness because it starts to happen in visible patterns. A receding hairline and bald spots in men forecast male pattern baldness.
Change in Hormonal Composition
Hair loss in men also occurs due to hormonal changes. These changes may cause temporary as well as permanent hair loss ending up in baldness. The hormones in men also change with age.
DHT is an androgen that is responsible for male sex characteristics. It is responsible for the development of body hair, a deep manly voice, improvement in muscle mass, growth of penis, scrotum, and testicles as well as the loss of hair in males.
The testosterone present in the body reacts with the enzyme named 5-alpha reductase and produces DHT. When the hair follicles respond to the hormone named Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), hair loss occurs causing baldness. The production of DHT not only affects the health of your scalp but also has other serious implications like prostate tumors and incomplete production of sex organs etc.
However, there are plenty of remedies and treatments which can reduce the production of DHT in men’s bodies. Some brands are manufacturing shampoos that block the binding of DHT with 5-AR receptors and some inhibit your body’s DHT production. Moreover, there are medications like Finasteride, Minoxidil, or Biotin which inhibit the production of DHT and improve the health of hair follicles. However, DHT blockers must not be used excessively or without a doctor’s recommendation because they can also cause erectile dysfunction, rash, vomiting, and sickness, etc.
Other Hormonal changes include Thyroid Disorders;
The thyroid is a hormone that can cause hair-related issues. Excessive secretion of this hormone is called hyperthyroidism while too little secretion is called hypothyroidism. Both of the irregularities cause hair fall and hair loss.
Loss of Hair due to Nutritional deficiencies
Hair loss can be caused due to diet as well. Most people do not take diet consequences seriously. However, it largely affects our hair health. A balanced diet containing minerals, vitamins, and essential oils is necessary to keep the hair healthy. If your body is not consuming any of the nutrients, then you will experience hair loss. So, if you want to counter the hair loss, you must try out dietary recommendations and vitamin supplements before choosing to undertake a hair transplant or other cosmetic remedies.
Nutrient deficiencies which cause hair loss
Here are some nutrients which are vital for the human body and a hair loss patient should get tested for their deficiency because their deficiency would cause an adverse impact on hair health.
Iron deficiency is very common which causes many health issues. Hair loss is one of them. Iron allows the bloodstream to carry oxygen to all the body parts. Without iron, the oxygen does not circulate properly throughout the body and causes health issues like hair loss, brittle nails, and fatigue.
Zinc is another important nutrient which causes brittle nails, hair, and immune problems. Those who are vegetarians and do not eat meat or dairy products are vulnerable to zinc deficiency.
Fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential for hair growth. Their deficiency cause hair thinning and hair loss from the head and eyebrows. Seafood like mackerel, salmon, and sardines, and nuts are rich in fatty acids.
Niacin is also a vital ingredient that is commonly found in tuna, eggs, beef, and nuts. It enhances blood circulation to the scalp allowing it to grow healthy hair. The deficiency of Niacin can lead to alopecia.
Alopecia areata and alopecia totalis are caused due to the deficiency of vitamin D. Appropriate production of vitamin D improves the immune system, skin, bones and induces the growth of new hair follicles.
Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant. It improves metabolism in the human body and improves hormonal balance which is responsible for hair health.
Vitamin E also has antioxidation characteristics. It prevents the loss caused due to the presence of free radicals in the body. The free radicals cause damage to cells, tissues, and hair follicles. This vitamin E also contributes to the circulation of blood through the scalp which improves hair growth.
Vitamin A is responsible for the production of sebum which is needed to moisturize and hydrate the scalp. Moreover, it also activates follicle stem cells.
Vitamin B7 or biotin is the common ingredient present in hair care products and supplements because it largely improves hair health. It improves the keratin structure of your hair and makes them stronger. Biotin is abundantly found in nuts, dairy products, and meat.
Folic acid is essential for the growth of nails, hair, skin tissues and brain cells, etc. It is found in leafy green veggies, beans, fruits, and poultry.
Over-thinking and stress are also the main reasons why we lose hair rapidly. Antioxidants counter this stress-linked damage to your hair. Therefore, antioxidants must be consumed in the diet to keep your hair healthy. The antioxidants are commonly found in pulses, grains, fruits, vegetables, and a plant-based diet. Many dietary supplements also contain antioxidants, However, it is always better to consume them through raw food.
Amino Acids and Proteins
Protein and Amino acids are the building blocks of the cells. They are necessary for the health and growth of different body functions and their deficiency leads to issues including hair fall and hair thinning. Amino acids help to balance hormone levels, repair tissues assist metabolism and strengthen the immune system as well. This is why most dietary supplements contain Proteins in the form of keratin and other amino acids.
Hair loss due to Medications and Drugs
Pharmaceuticals are made to treat a lot of your medical conditions and ailments but have countless side effects including hair loss. Despite this fact, drugs or medications cannot be avoided. So, they must be used considerately with the doctor’s recommendation or a side treatment must be undertaken to compensate for the loss. Moreover, there are certain treatments as well like chemotherapy which causes hair loss, excessive hair growth, hair growth at unwanted areas, change in hair color or texture, etc. The severity of the loss depends upon the type of drug and medical treatment.
How Do Drugs Cause Hair Loss?
The normal cycle of scalp hair growth has two phases i.e. the Anagen phase when the hair grows. This phase lasts for two to seven years while the Telogen phase is when the hair stays or rests for three months and then falls out and is replaced by the new hair. The medications and drugs affect these phases causing the untimely or excessive loss of hair.
Drug-induced hair loss is of two types i.e. Telogen effluvium and Anagen effluvium. Telogen Effluvium is more common than the next one. In this condition, the drug interferes and causes the hair to go into the resting phase and fall before time. The condition usually occurs after 2 to 4 months of drug intake. Normally, you shed about 100 to 150 hair a day but under this condition, people start to lose 30% to 70% more hair than normal hair loss.
Anagen is the phase when hair grows. At this stage, the drug intervenes with the matrix and does not allow it to divide to produce new hairs. Due to this type of medical condition, the hair falls severely and sometimes leads to baldness. Usually, chemotherapy initiates this type of hair loss and causes people to lose hair from the head, eyelashes, and brows too.
Types of Drugs Which Cause Hair Loss
A lot of drugs and medical treatments can cause hair loss. Some of them are;
- Chemotherapy drugs that destroy hair matric cells- The side effect is very severe and leads to losing all of the body hair within days. Moreover, the effect is more damaging when the patient consumes a combination of drugs instead of only one drug. The drugs include:
The other type of drugs includes;
- Medications to control blood pressure
- Thyroid medications
- Drugs for weight loss
- Drugs for Parkinson’s
- Acne medications
- Antifungal drugs
- Birth control pills
- Anticlotting drugs
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Drugs that affect the immune system
- Drugs to treat cancers
How can we treat hair loss caused by drugs?
When you consume any drug which ends up causing you to lose hair, the chances are that you would get your hair re-grown as soon as you stop using that medication. However, in some cases, the hair permanently goes away and needs appropriate medication to prevent excessive hair thinning and hair fall and to regrow new hair.
Before taking any drug, one must learn about the potential side effects of that drug, assess the response of the body to that drug, and consult the doctor compulsorily.
Moreover, there is a certain medication that may minimize the effect of drug-induced hair loss like finasteride (Propecia) or Minoxidil. These medicines slow down the hair fall can help the scalp to develop new hair follicles.
Those who undergo chemotherapy must also go through scalp hypothermia before the chemotherapy. The process involves rubbing ice packs on the scalp. It is done to reduce blood circulation to the hair follicles so that the drug may not be able to enter the follicles. Moreover, this cooling therapy also prevents any biochemical reaction. However, following this technique increases the chances of cancer occurrence in the scalp because the medication does not reach fully to the scalp. After chemotherapy, the hair starts to grow at its natural pace.
Hair Loss Due to Stress
Stress is a root cause of various health issues including hair loss. Both physical and psychological stress cause hair issues. Stress may be caused due to numerous reasons like sickness, surgery, childbirth, fatigue, and other types of mental resorts. However, hair loss cannot be linked directly to mental stress but many people report excessive hair fall or hair thinning when they experience extreme mental stress. However, such a hair loss is temporary and one can get the hair regrown once the stress diminishes.
Such a loss can be treated by making lifestyle changes like removing stressors from your routine, meditation, exercise, and by using different antidepressants, beta-blockers, and anticonvulsants. However, the antidepressants and anticonvulsants must be taken with the doctor’s recommendations as they may react differently with different people.
Hair loss due to Other Medical Conditions
There is a number of medical conditions where men are supposed to lose hair like diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, and obesity, etc. Some of the medical conditions and diseases are discussed below.
Dandruff does not directly cause hair loss. It causes intense itchiness leading to scratching. Scratching damages hair follicles causing hair loss. However, it does not lead to complete baldness. The hair starts to grow again as soon as you treat dandruff appropriately and the scalp becomes normal.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where your immune system assaults your own body tissues. This disease affects your skin, joints, kidneys, brain, blood cells, and hair as well. It causes inflammation that spreads on your skin and scalp causing you to lose hair. The disease causes loss of hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and from other body parts as well.
Some people develop scalp psoriasis which causes dry patches, bumps, dandruff-like flakes, soreness, burning and scales on the scalp, and inflammation which leads to hair loss due to scratching.