Did you know that 2 out of every 3 men start losing hair before age 60? Most don’t accept this reality in a calm way. In fact, American males spend $1 billion on treatments for baldness. And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are many causes of hair loss that men worry about a lot more than they should.
For decades, researchers thought that men whose hair gets thinner and thinner – starting with a receding hairline and stretching to the crown – lacked enough hair-making progenitor cells in the scalp. Newer studies show that the cells are simply unable to complete their normal development and mature to a fully functional state.
Other possible causes include illness, age, genetics and even hair styling habits. But there are so many myths that contribute to men’s anxiety that it’s worth reviewing them – just so we can put them out of the picture.
MYTH: IT’S ALL YOUR MOTHER’S FAULT
This isn’t completely true. While the main baldness gene is on the X chromosome, which comes solely from our mothers, there are more factors in play. The hereditary part is slightly more dominant on the mom’s side, but research suggests that men who have a bald father are more likely to develop male pattern baldness than those who don’t.
MYTH: BALD GUYS ARE OLD GUYS
On the contrary, hair loss can begin as early as the teen years. It’s surprisingly common among 20- and 30-year-olds. The earlier it starts, the more severe it will likely become.
MYTH: WEARING A HAT IS BAD
Good news for men who like to sport a ball cap or other topper. Hats don’t strain your hair follicles. Dirty hats can, however, lead to a scalp infection, which can accelerate hair loss, so make sure you keep hats clean.
MYTH: TRAUMA LEADS TO BALDNESS
Only partly true, since physical or emotional stress does not cause you to lose hair you wouldn’t have lost anyway. If the hair is not vulnerable to permanent loss, it will grow back. That said; extreme stress can accelerate balding. Rapid weight gain or loss may also contribute to the likelihood of hair loss.
MYTH: PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM
This is mostly true, but there can be serious side effects. Propecia is a relatively new prescription that reduces levels of a hormone that shrinks hair follicles. It works best in younger people whose hair is just beginning to thin. It may stall the process and even lead to hair regrowth for about 1/3 of patients. Rogaine, also known as minoxidil, also helps slow hair loss. Men should know that Propecia can reduce libido, or sex drive and Rogaine which must be applied twice daily and can irritate the scalp.
MYTH: GEL AND HAIRSPRAY ARE THE ENEMY
No need to skip these products, since they don’t cause balding — and neither does shampoo, washing your hair frequently, or even dandruff. But some men tease their hair and use curling irons, which could speed up the process.
MYTH: STAY OUT OF THE SUN
Not true. Tanning beds are also not a cause of hair loss.
MYTH: TOO MANY CARBS CAUSE HAIR LOSS
In reality, both carbohydrates and red meat provide nutrients that are helpful for maintaining a full head of hair. Research shows that iron deficiency may be closely linked to hair loss. Treatments such as iron supplements may support hair growth.
MYTH: THE MOST SEXUALLY ACTIVE MEN GO BALD
This is one of the most popular myths that researchers hear from patients. But fortunately, there’s no truth to it. Studies show that men who bald do not have more testosterone than their hairier friends.
LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS? CALL DR. FAROLE
If you’re tired of worrying about hair loss, there are good solutions out there, and Dr. Anthony Farole will be glad to review your options with you.
A hair restoration expert who has worked with thousands of women and men in Bala Cynwyd and the Greater Philadelphia area, Dr. Farole can help you explore ways to permanently restore healthy hair, making you feel great about your looks again.
Give our office a call today to schedule a personalized consultation.