Updated: Feb 13
Am I going bald? If you find yourself asking this question the answer is more than likely yes. According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of thirty-five two-thirds of American men will experience some hair loss, and unfortunately by the age of fifty about 85% of us guys will have thinning. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in that 15% that never has to worry about it? I’m sure it would, but you wouldn’t be reading this article if you were that lucky, and if you are, I commend you and your luscious locks.
Yes those statistics are very disheartening, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save your hair. If you catch hair loss early there is a decent chance that you can keep most of what you still have with some of the treatments available today (I’ll delve into that at the end). That’s another thing that sucks about hair loss, the longer you wait to try and stop it, the worse it gets and the harder it gets to bring your hair back.
As you begin to lose your hair what is happening is that your hair follicles are slowly dying. When hair is dying, it is going through a process called miniaturization. Basically, healthy hairs are called terminal hairs, these are the ones you want to keep, if they are dying they are slowly turning into vellus hairs (the short colorless hairs that grow where your hair used to be).
This is important because if you catch hair loss early enough and you will most likely still have vellus hairs. These can be brought back to life and turned back into healthy terminal hairs, with the right treatments of course. But how are you supposed to know when the best time to start treatments is? Well, if you look for these classic signs of hair loss you know if it’s time to start:
You see clumps of hair in the shower or on your pillow
Although it is normal to lose 100-150 strands of hair daily, it is not normal to be seeing clumps of hair in the drain or on your pillow in the morning. If you are, it is likely a sign that you are experiencing hair loss.
It is best to first evaluate your situation before jumping to conclusions. If you are under extreme stress lately it could be stress induced hair loss, which is not permanent. Also, if the hair loss appears to be patchy it could be a condition called alopecia areata, which requires different treatment methods than normal age related hair loss. If neither of these there’s a good chance it’s time to start treatments (go to the bottom of the article for treatment options).
Your hair isn’t styling the way it used to
This is a telltale sign that is too often ignored. If you are trying to style your hair in the morning but it won’t sit the way it used to a couple months ago, you may be going bald. Although it could be a bad hair day, if it happens multiple days in a row it’s a problem.
If this is the case it is best to not over brush your hair when trying to style it, and especially don’t brush your hair when it is wet. Doing so puts a lot of stress on the strands and can cause damage and worsen hair loss. Try to minimize styling your hair until you start treatments so that you do not worsen your situation.
You notice it in the mirror or in pictures
Again, another telltale sign. Try comparing pictures from at least 1 year apart (make sure they are roughly the same lighting), if you notice a significant difference it could be because you are losing your hair. Look for the classic signs such as the distinct “m” shape forming on the hair line or more scalp showing on the back of your head. Both are more than likely the result of male pattern baldness which occurs at the temples and crown of the head.
The unfortunate truth is that by the time you notice your hair loss you have already lost around 50% of your hair. Take action right away so that it doesn’t get any worse.
Less common signs that you still need to be aware of
∙ Itchy scalp: although it is not directly related to hair loss it can be a sign of other conditions such as dermatitis or dandruff. Itching your scalp causes damage, sometimes permanent, to the hair follicles. To grow healthy hair you need a healthy scalp (our hair formula directly targets the scalp)
∙People making comments: don’t let it get you down, chances are they will start losing their hair at some point too. In fact it’s a blessing in disguise, it gives you the chance to start treatments earlier
∙Vellus hair where your hair used to be: if you look closely at your hair in the mirror and notice colorless, thinner hair it’s time to take action
Okay I’m losing my hair, what should I do about it?
Well, coming to terms with it is one of, if not the most important thing you can do. Doing so allows you to accept the fact that it’s happening so that it (hopefully) won’t stress you out any more. Next is to make the decision that you want to keep your hair (trust me you do). Now that you have decided you don’t want to look like a mad scientist when you’re older let’s see what treatments you should use.
Firstly, set up an appointment with your doctor and ask about getting on finasteride. It is one of two FDA approved hair loss treatments and works by blocking DHT, the enzyme responsible for male pattern baldness. Second, run to your local drug store and pick up a pack of minoxidil (i.e. Rogaine) as it is the other FDA approved treatment (foam is ideal if you want to style your hair) and make sure to grab a derma roller while you are at it because it significantly increases minoxidils effectivness. Both have been proven in clinical studies to show great results, but remember you need to wait minimum 6 months to judge results.
If after 6 months you are certain that your hair loss is only getting worse there are other treatments that can be added into your routine. These treatments include: laser helmet (also FDA approved), hair loss supplement for scalp (most don’t target the scalp, ours does), and a hair loss shampoo containing ketoconazole. If added to your regimen all of these target different areas of hair loss and can be invaluable to getting your hair back.
Don’t let hair loss win, take action as soon as you notice one of the signs so that you can keep it flowing up top.