By the time they reach the age of 30, approximately half of all men start to lose the thick crown or mop of hair they had in their teenage years and throughout their 20s. The hairline begins to recede steadily, and more of the scalp starts getting visible. While genes are largely to blame, they don’t necessarily have to have the final word. Through various medications and other measures, it is possible to save the hair that’s remaining, and in some cases, recover some of what was lost.
Understanding hair loss
Male pattern blindness (MPB), also referred to as Androgenic alopecia is the leading cause of hair loss in men. Although there are other possible causes of hair loss such as serious diseases, some certain medications and in rare cases extreme stress, heredity is the main reason people lose their hair. The hair follicles of MPB sufferers are genetically sensitive to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which reduces their lifespan and causes them to miniaturize.
Medicine has made great strides in the prevention and treatment of hair loss in men. These medications stop or stabilize the progression of hair loss, while leading to varying degrees of re-growth in some.
The drugs Proscar and Propecia go by the generic brand name Finasteride. Finasteride was originally intended to treat enlarged prostates (Proscar) in men. During the trials, it was noted to have a unique side effect of causing hair growth in men that were undergoing treatment. It was later approved as the first drug ever with the ability to treat and prevent hair loss. Finasteride works by inhibiting the enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, which shrinks hair follicles causing baldness. During trials, this drug was proven to arrest hair loss in 86% of men,, with 65% reporting a significant increase in hair growth.
Like Finasteride, Minoxidil was discovered by chance because it was originally used in the treatment of high blood pressure. The only difference in this case is that it was causing hair to grow in all manner of places, from the cheeks to back of the hands. To solve this challenge, researchers decided to apply it topically or directly on the scalp. It managed to spur the growth of hair in balding areas, though its efficacy depended on the extent of hair loss. It is usually recommended for those who haven’t responded well to Finasteride.
The Hair Loss Protocol
The Hair Loss Protocol is a program by Jared Gates which is probably the best solution to cure hair loss.
A hair transplant is quite invasive and expensive. The doctor identifies hair follicles on the scalp that are still experiencing active growth and transplants them to areas that are thing or balding. It has been established that hair grows naturally in groups of 1-4 hair follicles, hence the surgeon tries to harvest and transplant these follicular units as they are. After about two weeks or so, the transplanted hair falls out, but new growth starts within a few months. It has the advantage of being permanent.
Because hair loss can be very stressful for men, these interventions are a big relief to the sufferers. However, it is important not to fall for the “miracle” treatments advertised in men’s magazines because they simply don’t work. As soon as you start experiencing hair loss, visit your doctor. He will recommend the best way to address the condition.