WHAT CAN MEN DO ABOUT BALDING?
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS AFFECTS TWO THIRDS OF MEN
Balding is something that a huge amount of us will suffer from. In fact, it is estimated that two thirds of men will suffer from Male Pattern Baldness at some point in their life. Male pattern baldness, balding that is related to your genes - what really is it and what can you do about it?
What is balding?
Balding is caused by your hair follicles closing. This initially causes the hair to thin, but over time will stop the hair from growing altogether. If you are balding, you are likely to lose your hair in two places – at the temples (temporal thinning) and/or in the crown. Balding is a gradual process, you will not start notice clumps of hair in the sink or on your pillow. This is a common misconception. It will take a few years for you to see the full effects of balding taking place, because it will follow the natural life cycle of a hair (4-7 years). It will take about 5 years, in most cases, for you to see significant hair loss. There are things you can do to ease the transition, steady the thinning and put your mind at rest.
What can you do about it?
There are two registered treatments in the UK you can choose once you’ve identified hair loss. While these treatments are almost always effective, they will not last forever, and there will come a point where the hair follicles close completely, and won't allow the hair to grow through anymore. Once this happens, you might want to start thinking about alternative looks for yourself. Will it be a buzzcut? Growing some facial hair? Getting a textured crop? These are all viable options for those with shorter, thinning hair but depends on a number of factors - your face shape, bone structure, the condition of the rest of your hair. Things like sartorial style and overall lifestyle are important to consider too - i.e. if you are physically active a lot of the time, it's probably not ideal to have a hairstyle which requires too much TLC.
Propecia (Finasteride): This is medicine taken orally, and prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is what attacks the hair follicle, making it smaller and harder for the hair to grow through, so Propecia helps to reduce the decrease in size of the hair follicle. Unsurprisingly, having the excess hormones in your system can cause side effects such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
Minoxidil (Regaine): A topical solution that comes in liquid or foam form for you to rub onto the affected areas. It will stimulate the hair follicle, keeping it open thus allowing hairs to grow through at their full potential.
Once you have thinning hair, you should use a stimulating/clarifying shampoo. This will work in a similar way to the topical solution and encourage the follicles to stay open, keep them cleansed and less likely to block up. Shampoos with ingredients like menthol and tea tree are helpful for this. Although balding can be confusing and annoying, there are options available to you. If you follow the solutions above you can curtail your follicle challenges. The most important piece of advice on this is to accept the situation and be confident. It is not uncommon so accept that it is happening and work with it.
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