CAN HAIR LOSS BE PREDICTED?
WE DISCUSS WHAT CAN BE DONE TO STOP OR SLOW DOWN THE BALDING PROCESS
The thought of losing your locks might be enough to bring you out in a cold sweat. So, if you’ve started to notice more hair in the plughole or you think your tresses are beginning to look a little thin on top, you might wonder what the future has in store for your follicles. Here, we take a look at whether hair loss can be predicted and what can be done to stop or slow this process down.
At the mercy of your genes
By far the most common type of hair loss is male pattern baldness. This condition affects around half of men by the age of 50 and many people experience it as early as their 20s and 30s. Tell-tale signs include a receding hair line and a thinning of the hair on the crown. If you want to know if you’re at risk of this condition, look at your family. Male pattern baldness is hereditary. It’s often mistakenly suggested that the condition is only passed on through the mother’s side of the family, but in fact it can come from either side.
So, if your dad, uncles or grandfathers have lost their locks, there’s a chance you’ll follow suit. You might be wondering how your genes can cause you to lose your hair - and this brings us onto some science. It’s thought that the genetic disorder that triggers male pattern baldness causes testosterone to be converted into the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which has a negative effect on hair follicles and can stop or slow hair production.
Don’t despair though if the men in your family tend to lose their tresses. There are now effective treatments on offer that can help to slow or even reverse hair loss. The most popular is finasteride, which is better known under the brand name Propecia in the UK. This comes in tablet form and it works by blocking the effect of DHT on hair roots. It can take around three to six months to notice results, but around nine in 10 men who use finasteride see an improvement, while two in three benefit from renewed hair growth. So, while you might not be able to do anything to change your genetic risk of developing male pattern baldness, you can take steps to reduce its effects. There’s plenty of advice available online and in pharmacies if you want tips on tackling this type of hair loss.