Recently, while looking at the mirror, I noticed “Wow, it looks a little thinner up here” so I actually watched our videos from 2015 and sure enough, I’m suffering from hair loss.
Hair loss is very normal for most men and it happens to us as we age. Frankly, I don’t know of any man including me who is happy to lose their hair. So the big question is how do you treat or even reverse hair loss?
Hair loss may come with age
Who Experiences Hair Loss?
Statistically speaking, 66% of American men see some form of hair loss by the age of 35. Even worse, 85% of all men will have significant thinning of their hair by the time they turn 50. Hair loss can occur for many different reasons including medical conditions or medications.
Today, we’re only going to talk about male pattern hair loss which is a hereditary trait and not tied to any medications or illnesses. I’m not a medical doctor and everything I say here is based on my experience and my opinions.
A case of thinning hair
How To Tell If You Are Suffering Hair Loss
So the first place to start when you notice some hair loss is your doctor. Talk to them to figure out if anything is wrong so you can get to the real bottom of it. So of course the big question is how can you treat hair loss or possibly even reverse it? Well, to answer that, let’s look at what causes male pattern hair loss in the first place. Male pattern hair loss, also known as Androgenetic Alopecia, is the result of an increased DHT in your body. DHT is a hormone which levels increase as men age and as your DHT levels increase, the size of your hair follicles decreases and shrinks until it can no longer grow any hair. That means your hair thins and shortens until it’s all gone.
Consult your doctor for any professional medical advice.
Because male pattern baldness is hereditary, it pays to look at your relatives. As long as you’ve ruled out other medical causes, it also means that you have to play with the cards that were dealt to you. In my case, my paternal grandpa had a full head of hair that was great. On my mom’s side though, my grandpa was pretty bald. My dad, on the other hand, is also quite a bit bald and while he had always very thin hair, my hair was very thick and much more like my dad’s dad so I hope for the best. That being said, it seems to be a whole lot easier to treat hair loss while you still have hair than once it is all gone.
Hair Loss Myths: Debunked
Myth #1: Grooming & Hat-wearing Contributes to Hair Loss
Some people argue that hair loss has something to do with the type of hat you wear or the grooming you do but that is simply not the case. Brushing your hair or wearing a baseball hat are totally fine and will have no impact. Of course, you shouldn’t just rip on your hair and try to rip it out, that may have an impact but short of that, general grooming and head wear will not have an impact. So what about all the hair you see when you take a shower or a bath? Well, the American Association of Dermatologists says it’s normal to lose about 50 to a hundred hairs on your head a day.
Jeeves wearing a bowler hat (not a cause of hair loss!)
Myth #2: Hair Vitamins are Effective
The truth is there’s no such thing as a hair vitamin unless the cause of your hair loss was a nutritional deficiency. There is no proven track record of any hair vitamin reversing or treating or slowing down any form of hair loss, there’s also not a single study out there that has proven that the hair vitamin Biotin has any impact on hair loss. It’s often found in shampoo and while it’s not proven to help, it likely also won’t hurt to have it so you can still use your shampoo even though it contains Biotin.
Biotin is believed to prevent hair loss
Myth #3: Other Causes (Stress, Sunlight, etc.)
Hair loss also isn’t caused by any stress, a lack of circulation, or the sun shining on your head.
Direct sunlight isn’t a proven cause of hair loss
Myth #4: More Testosterone Means Hair Loss
It’s not true when they say guys who go bald have more testosterone and increased testosterone has something to do with the lack of hair in your head, not true! Studies have shown that men who are bald have similar testosterone levels to men who are not bald.
Hair Loss Truth: Smoking Contributes To Baldness
Smoking makes your baldness more severe and it’s just something to keep in mind next time you smoke that cigarette. So without further ado, here are the five best hair loss treatments ordered from easiest to probably most difficult but again, talk to your doctor about it to be sure that it’s right for you!
Zino Davidoff Smoking A Cigar
Treatment For Hair Loss
Seemingly, the easiest thing to treat hair loss is a drug called Finasteride. It is a prescription drug also known under the brand name Propecia. It has been on the market since 1997 and you just take it orally in the form of a pill every day. It treats hair loss on your crown and the middle part of your scalp but not on other parts of your body. So how exactly does it work? It blocks your DHT hormones by about 70% thus slowing down the shrinkage and shortening of your hair and therefore, you keep your hair for longer.
Studies show that Finasteride has to be taken consistently in order to see the impact of it. Results can be first visible after three months but you have to continue to take it, otherwise, anything you’ve done in the past will be gone after 12 months of not using it. Studies have shown that 80% of the men who took Finasteride kept the count of their hair follicles which is quite promising. 64% of men even experienced some regrowth after two years which is amazing
Additional studies have shown that after five years, a hundred percent of men on a placebo had hair follicle loss while only 35% of men who would take Finasteride regularly suffered from hair loss, that’s a pretty significant difference. So how do you get your hands on it? Well, you need to talk and consult with your doctor. It’s a prescription drug and as such it’s the only way. Make sure to discuss the potential side effects.
When I did my research, I came across a site called PFS Foundation which means Post Finasteride Syndrome Foundation and there are lots of men who share experiences about Finasteride and the side effects they experienced which can include depression or impotence or other more severe side effects. It even seemed like lots of doctors from Europe including France, Germany, and Italy were vehemently arguing against the use of Finasteride for hair loss treatment versus in the US, it seems to be subject to less scrutiny
Post Finasteride Syndrome Foundation
At the end of the day, the choice is, of course, yours but in any case, talk to your doctor and I always find knowing more about it helps me make a better decision. You may have also heard of the drug Dutasteride which is very similar to Finasteride in the sense that it blocks DHT even though it’s more effective in the sense that it can block up to 90% of DHT versus Finasteride only blocks up to about 70% of the DHT hormone. So obviously, it’s more effective but it’s not FDA approved in the US for hair loss treatment.
It is also known as the brand name Rogaine. It’s an over-the-counter medication and FDA approved in the US for hair loss treatment. Interestingly, it’s supposed to be used around the crown of your scalp only and nowhere else. It’s basically a foam that you have to apply to your crown twice a day in order to be effective. In my book, that’s a serious commitment. On top of that, this tube that lasts for a month supposedly, costs $34 so that’s more than a dollar a day.
The good news is Rogaine or Minoxidil has shown to reduce the loss of hair in men. In a one-year study, 62% of the male participants said that they experienced a reduction in hair loss when they used it. 84% of the men found it to be moderately effective for hair regrowth. The cons about Rogaine are if you stop using it, everything goes downhill again. So if you start using it, you have to keep using it twice a day which is just too much of a commitment for me. Side effects include scalp and skin irritation. Once again, talk to your doctor about details.
3. Hair Transplant
This is not a drug but it works actually by moving hair follicles from areas where you have a lot of hair to areas where you don’t have a lot of hair. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work and it is because every single follicle from the back or from the side of your scalp has to be relocated. Because of that, it takes a lot of time, is therefore very costly, and can also cause a lot of pain. Of course, there is a risk associated with the surgery such as bleeding or scarring. Also, most men have anywhere between two and four hair transplantation treatments so it’s not just a one and done kind of deal.
Now, what does it look like? Honestly, hair transplantation has come a long way. In the early days, it looked more like a field of corn with distinct rows. These days, it looks very very natural if done properly. Many men who have hair transplantations take Rogaine or Minoxidil afterwards to just keep reducing the loss of their hair. There are many well-known men out there including Elon Musk and Kevin Costner who’ve used it. In England, there’s also Wayne Rooney and when he did it, he started something called the Rumi effect. So even many other soccer players have hair transplants and if you look at the before and after, it becomes very clear but it also looks a lot better.
4. Laser Therapy
It’s also known as low light therapy or cold laser therapy and it works in the way that photons are irradiated onto your scalp thus helping to increase the circulation on your scalp. The idea is that the photons stimulate the circulation in your scalp and therefore, help your hair growth. While more circulation is a good thing for your hair, blood flow alone can reverse the shrinkage of your hair. To see results, clinical hair laser treatments have to be done several times a week, especially in the beginning.
Laser Hair Therapy
Over time, it’ll be less but it’s still quite a time commitment and it’s also very costly. Typically, you spend several thousand dollars a year. At the moment, there’s not enough data that can show that laser therapy over a long term is very effective when it comes to preventing hair loss. Even though there are some encouraging results, data is inconsistent at best. Furthermore, long-term safety and effectiveness have not been established yet.
5. Scalp Micropigmentation
Now, this really doesn’t treat the hair loss, it is more of a cosmetic procedure, think of it you are tattooing little dots onto your head so it looks like you have a buzz cut that was intentional and not forced because you’re going bald. It costs anywhere between $1000-$4000 depending on how many hair dots have to be tattooed onto your scalp. It’s a fairly new procedure and it doesn’t give you any hair back, it just makes it look like there is hair that could grow and you just decided you don’t want to do that.
Some companies also advertise hair powders that are supposed to help your hair instantly. At the end of the day, it is just a cosmetic thing and it doesn’t have anything to do with hair growth or hair treatment. So even though it’s very inexpensive, it contains ammonium chloride which is something you’ll find in hair dye but overall, it’s just a cosmetic thing and I don’t think it should be listed under hair loss treatments.
So what should you take? Honestly, that’s a decision that you have to make. Just keep in mind that it’s okay not to pursue any of those treatments and to just be confident about it. Just think about Vin Diesel or Jason Statham, their lack of hair hasn’t impacted their personality, their character, their confidence, or even their masculinity. In fact, they’ve made being bald a key part of who they are. Being proud of what you have should always be the goal because confidence is a look that always looks great.
Jason Statham looking confident even without a full head of hair
Personally, when I started the research, I thought Finasteride was very reasonable thing for me to do because it was just a pill a day that wasn’t too expensive. Now, when I looked into the side effects and I came across the PFS foundation’s website and read more about it, I realized there can be some serious side effects and yes, even though it may just be a small number of people affected, the severeness and longevity of the side effects really make me wary of it and I probably won’t be taking it because I don’t want to risk getting depressed or impotent or anything of that kind. Normally, you think if there are any issues, I just stop taking a drug and everything is back to good but apparently, that’s not the case for all the people who take Finasteride and experience those side effects. So that’s just something to keep in mind.
Observing hair in the mirror
At this point, I don’t have any issues with my crown, it’s full of hair but even if I had issues with a thinning crown, I probably would never take minoxidil or Rogaine twice a day, it’s just a lot of work, it’s not inexpensive, and it’s just very impractical for my lifestyle. Between hair powder and micropigmentation, hair lasering or hair transplantation, I think the transplantation is something that I would most likely do. Yes, it’s a surgery but there’s no hormone blocker involved, it’s just moving follicles on my head to a different position so it’s basically cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery and with it being so costly, maybe I do it at a certain point in time but at this point, I don’t plan on doing it.
Click the infographic to view larger
Are you experiencing hair loss, and/or receiving treatment? If so, what are your experiences? Please share with us in the comments below.
Top 5 Hair Loss Treatments for Men
Are you suffering from thinning hair? Discover the top 5 ways to treat or reverse hair loss.
Sven Raphael Schneider
Gentleman’s Gazette LLC