The Bald Facts: Hair Loss Myths and Tips
In 30 Seconds
- Hair loss can occur for many different reasons. It can be genetic, because of stress, or a different kind of medical condition.
- The discussion around hair loss in men is crowded with stories and opinions, which often make matters worse. We separate the myths from the real solutions.
- The most important thing is to remain calm. And then take a well informed approach to dealing with hair loss. There’s plenty of solutions.
- Finasteride has a great success rate with halting hair loss. 9 out of 10 men who tried it experienced better hair and less hair loss, according to medical research.
It’s late. You’re tired. The work still isn’t done. On top of all that, there have been hairs all over the keyboard for the last few months. Cue excessive cranial mirror scrutiny. But first things first: You’re not alone.
According to research, half of all men over the age of 40 suffer from androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness or MPB). You probably already know someone else who is quietly panicking about it too. Research shows that onset occurs mostly well before forty. Lots of us notice signs in our mid twenties and thirties.1
The solution? Start with gaining a bit of clarity. The last thing you need in these potentially anxious times are the inevitable fairytales. So to start off, a spot of myth-busting is in order.
Myths of Hair Loss
1. High testosterone2
“It’s a sign of high testosterone”. We’ve been hearing this one from various false prophets since we were eighteen. Although admittedly, you’ve lost a potential retort there…so feel free to say it anyway.
2. It’s your mum’s fault3
We’ve all heard it proclaimed with ill-deserved authority – that male pattern baldness is inherited from the maternal side. Yes, even in 2019 we still don’t know exactly from whence it can strike. So don’t go giving mum a hard time!
3. Hats off4
Wearing hats constantly can cause hair loss? This one sounds a bit off from the get-go, doesn’t it? It’s hair, not grass. Until wearing live piranhas comes into fashion, you’re safe to cover up.
4. It’s not easy being greasy5
So don’t be. Shampooing frequently does not cause hair loss. Hot water is nothing to be afraid of. And neither is the hairdryer.
5. Shine a light on me6
Prolonged exposure to the sun can be harmful in lots of ways, but deforestation up top isn’t one of them. While we’re on the subject, getting sunscreen in your wavy golden mane is also without danger.
6. No pool fool7
Chlorine smells abrasive. It turns you into cardboard. Even the name rings of scouring chemicals. So even though there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it causes hair loss, we understand how this one came about. Those Speedos however, are unforgivable.
7. The magic touch8
There are some that believe that massaging the scalp and a caressing manipulation is the savior of the follicle. Sounds too good to be true? Well then, it probably is just that. Save it for the cat.
But what about the things you can actually do? Well, there are actually a few ways to encourage that coveted windswept mane. Here’s our guide:
- Gold star for Finasteride. “Finasteride is regarded as the most effective hair loss treatment for men by the medical community,” according to Dr Earim Chaudry.
- Minoxidil 2% or 5% solution.9 The United States FDA deems this effective for MPB.10 Expect better hair growth at the crown and hairline after 6-12 months.11 It does require pretty much a lifetime commitment.12 Difficult if you’re not a routine guy.
- The real star of the show is Finasteride.13 Take orally once a day.14 Not only can Finasteride halt the progress of hair loss – it also encourages new regrowth. Side effects are uncommon.15
- Did you know? Finasteride has a great success rate. 9 out of 10 men who tried it experienced better hair and less hair loss, according to medical research.
- Chow down. Mackerel and salmon contain omega 3, iron and vitamins in abundance, which can slow the decline. Cheap (comparatively) and tasty!16
- Dutasteride works in basically the same way as Finasteride,17 but is not licensed for use in the UK.
- Laser based treatments: These include ‘low level laser light therapy’ plus laser combs and brushes, which can help hair regrowth. But be warned, their safety and potential is not yet fully known.18
- Steroid treatments come in the form of injections to the bald patch, or as creams to help get your thatch back on track.19
- Immunotherapy.20 Much like the steroid approach, this is a chemical cream applied to the offending area.
- Lastly, hair transplants. The Football Special comes in at the expensive end21. On the other hand, hair transplants and follicle grafts do away with hormonal side effects, and can really even the field.22
The Coping Phase
We’ve been through it. Hair loss feels like a real test, but squaring it with yourself is essential. These treatments are not for everybody. Do what’s right for you.23
Talk to your mates, your coworkers, and girlfriend or boyfriend. Consider professional advice. Your GP will have good advice too.
Searching online for local support groups will point you in the right direction. Consult your doctor before any treatment. But whatever path you choose, lighten the load by chatting it through with a friend.