Why do men lose their hair and go bald?

Baldness is disliked regardless of age.

Why do men lose their hair and go bald?

Receding hairline and hair thinning at a young age can be a constant source of worry.

Hair loss at a young age is very frustrating.

Most men do not welcome baldness because healthy, shining and thick hair enhance physical attraction. What will you do if your scalp starts shedding hair? You will begin to worry about what's going wrong inside your body and how these changes can be reversed. Let me explain why men tend to lose hair.

What causes hair loss?

The hairs on your scalp grow from their roots, the 'hair follicles’. These hair follicles grow and rest in a continuous cycle termed as hair cycle. A resting hair follicle will shed its strand. So, it is expected to lose 50-100 hairs daily. But, when the hair cycle is disturbed, more hair follicles enter the resting phase, and you will find too many hair strands in your comb.

What disrupts the hair cycle? There are a lot of factors ranging from heredity factors to infections. Whether the hair loss is reversible or not depends upon the nature and cause of hair loss. For the sake of understanding, we can classify the causes of hair loss into two categories.

  1. Male pattern baldness
  2. Hair loss due to other causes

Male pattern baldness

Also known as androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness affects approximately 50% of people over 50. This condition causes a receding hairline and a thin crown over time. In contrast to male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss occurs all over the body, and the hairline is unaffected.

What causes androgenic alopecia?

Why do men get androgenic alopecia? This condition results from a higher sensitivity to the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (abbr. DHT). The DHT is produced from testosterone by a hormone called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). So, higher levels of 5-AR would mean higher levels of DHT and more hair loss.

Testosterone is produced in all men, but some are more sensitive to DHT than others. This sensitivity is inherited. That's why androgenetic alopecia runs in families.

How does this DHT cause hair loss?

The mechanism is still unclear, but a recent hypothesis suggests that the growth of forehead muscles and skull produces tension over the forehead. The DHT causes this band of muscles to contract, causing more stress and restriction of blood supply to the area. This stretch causes a local inflammation that results in more flux of DHT to the site.

The once-strong hair follicles are replaced by weaker and thin hairs due to reduced blood supply. This band of tissues eventually expands to the rear, and the line recedes while the hairs on the back remain normal.

How to treat androgenic alopecia?

Most of us thought it to be a permanent hair loss. You can't prevent male pattern baldness, but there are some options at the table.

The medications to combat the male pattern baldness are available. These drugs lower the level of DHT in the local area. The most common examples are minoxidil and finasteride.

These medications will provide only a partial help because they can't change your genetic sensitivity. So, you will continue to blame your forefathers for the horseshoe-like band of hairs behind a vast flat, shiny bald patch.

To learn more about the treatment of hair loss, click here

Other causes of hair loss

Your inheritance is not the only cause of baldness. It is, however, a physiological cause and is not accompanied by other signs. Some other infections and diseases can also cause hair loss, but other signs and symptoms accompany them. These are;

Nutritional deficiencies

Healthy hair growth requires certain nutrients, e.g., proteins, iron, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, selenium, biotin etc.

A diet deficient in these nutrients will result in hair fall. Such deficiencies will result in further hair loss with androgenic alopecia. However, the pattern will be a uniform hair loss from all over the body.

Autoimmune diseases

Your immune system protects you from infections. However, sometimes, this immune system backfires and begins to attack normal body cells as it begins to identify them as foreign agents. If this autoimmune reaction attacks the hair follicles, a condition develops known as alopecia areata.

In alopecia areata, you will lose hair in the patches. You will note small, rounded or irregular patches of baldness on otherwise normal scalp. Beard and moustache can also be affected. The treatment involves cooling down the immune system, albeit at the cost of reducing immunity to other diseases.

Telogen effluvium

A stressful event, e.g., an accident, surgeries, diseases, psychological problems etc., or a shock can sometimes cause hair loss by pushing more cells to enter the resting phase. It is a sudden hair loss, but it is completely reversible, and hair growth begins to come back after 2-6 months of removal of stress.

Infectious diseases

Some bacterial and fungal infections can also cause hair loss in men.

Medications

Some medicines can cause temporary hair loss as a side reaction. This alopecia is, however, transient and ends as soon as the medication is stopped. You may notice hair fall while taking;

  • Immunosuppressants
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and other blood pressure-reducing medicines
  • Anticoagulants, e.g., warfarin, heparin etc.
  • Antifungals e.g., voriconazole.
  • Cholesterol-lowering agents, e.g., atorvastatin etc.

To know more about causes of hair loss, click here to visit our information pages.

Conclusion

A receding hairline and thinning hair follicles are due to genetic factors, a condition known as male pattern baldness. However, some drugs, nutritional deficiencies, autoimmune diseases and different types of stress can also cause hair loss in men.

Healthy, shiny hair enhance your self-esteem and confidence.

Several treatment options are available, e.g., medicines (Minoxidil and finasteride), hair transplant surgery, and laser treatment. Hair loss from all other causes is reversible except for male pattern baldness. However, you can slow the process by some practices, e.g.,

  • Regular scalp massage with essential oils
  • Leaving smoking
  • Take well balanced and healthy diet
  • Adopt a stress-free lifestyle

If you have hair fall issue, we can provide expert opinion at Welzo. Click here for online consultation. 

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