The good news is that this type of hair thinning is gradual, developing over a period of 20 to 30 years. However, the statistics certainly show how many men find themselves losing hair. Three in ten 30-year-olds, and half of 50-year-olds are quite bald.
In its extreme form, some males start to show signs of balding at the age of sixteen and some experience total baldness by the time they reach their early twenties. The age at which you might develop hair loss, is determined by your gene pool. If you are considering male hair loss treatment, contact the London Centre of Trichology now for a free initial consultation at our W1 clinic.
Why do so many men suffer from hair thinning?
It's all down to what's commonly known as Male Pattern Balding, or the more medically correct terms, Male Pattern Alopecia and Androgenetic Alopecia.
Male hormones are called androgens. The way they work, and how they affect each individual, depends on what you've inherited from your parents. It's a dominant gene, which means if it's present, it will nearly always cause pattern balding whether it comes from the paternal or maternal side, or both. If it is on both sides, balding will start early and be more acute. If your great grandparents, grandfathers, fathers, uncles and brothers have experienced early hair loss then there's a greater likelihood of it happening to you.
Hair loss in men follows a typical pattern on the head, hence the name ‘Male Pattern Baldness’. It starts by receding at the front of the hairline, whilst simultaneously thinning on top. A bald patch then gradually develops in the middle of the scalp. At the advanced stages, the receding front, and bald patch on the top, eventually join together. A small frame of hair is often left around the back and sides of the scalp. Sometimes that falls out too, resulting in total baldness.
The Process of Men's Hair Loss
Each hair follicle in the body contains an enzyme or chemical catalyst called 5 alpha-reductase as well as a large number of other enzymes, which are responsible for both protein metabolism and for pigment manufacture.
For a reason as yet undiscovered, the genetic make-up can cause some of the hair follicles, containing 5 alpha-reductase, to start converting the male hormone testosterone into an altered form called 5 di-hydro-testosterone which has an inhibiting effect on the normal growth cycle of hair causing each successive hair to grow finer in texture and for a shorter period of time.
In extreme cases, the hair becomes similar to the fine downy hair found on other parts of the body. Remember that pattern baldness affects most men at some stage. But with treatment, thinning can often be prevented and can sometimes encourage re-growth. And, because the shedding process is typically fairly slow, taking place over a number of years, the earlier that treatment is sought the greater the chance of slowing or preventing further loss.
Our hair is not just an aesthetic accessory, a style and colour which creates our identity. It’s also a barometer of health and lifestyle. Illness, poor nutrition, lack of regular exercise, smoking, alcohol and adverse reactions to stress or allergies can all interrupt the growth cycle and cause it to fall out.