In this article, we look at the things you may be able to do to help stop or slow the thinning of your hair. We will look at:
- About Hair Loss – The causes and most common types.
- Medication – How medication can help slow or stop your hair loss and help regrow the hair you’ve lost.
- Diet – The impact, if any, of diet on hair loss, and what foods you can eat to maximise your hair growth.
- Hair Care – The role of looking after your hair with good washing routines.
- Surgery & Medical Procedures – How more drastic action such as hair implants, can provide a long term fix for men who have gone, or are going, bald.
What is Hair Loss?
There are several types of hair loss, male pattern hair loss, female pattern baldness, hormonal hair loss, medical condition related hair loss and drug-related hair loss. Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss experienced often begins on your crown or around your temples. While male pattern baldness can start from as early as 17 years old, it more commonly begins in your thirties and forties.
What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is often the result of genetics and is caused by an excess of dihydrotestosterone in the scalp, a by-product of the body naturally breaking down testosterone. DHT causes the hair follicle to shrink, causing the hair to noticeably thin, mature faster and fall out quickly. This ultimately leads to eventual baldness if left unaddressed.
What Other Causes Of Hair Loss?
If your hair loss does not appear to be male pattern baldness, there are other factors that may cause your hair loss. Medication or people undergoing chemotherapy, weight loss, iron deficiency, changing hormonal levels and stress, may all contribute to hair loss. You should discuss your hair loss with your GP if you’re unsure what may be causing it. Once you have identified what may be causing the hair loss, you can then take action to address the underlying cause of your hair loss.
How Can I Stop Hair Loss?
Medications are the mainstay of treatment for reversing hair loss. There are two clinically-proven medicines available for hair loss, one topical and one oral. These are Finasteride and Minoxidil.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment and can be found in the well-known brand, Regaine. Regaine contains between 2% or 5% Minoxidil solution or foam. Minoxidil works by improving the blood flow and therefore nutrients to the hair follicles, lengthening the growth phase of your hair. Minoxidil (Regaine) can be used in both men and women for hair loss.
Finasteride works by blocking the enzyme in the body which changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a compound that shrinks hair follicles causing male pattern hair loss. Reducing DHT allows the hair follicles to return to regular size, promoting thick hair growth. Due to how the medicine works, it can only be used in men with male pattern hair loss.
As with any medication, side effects are possible. In the case of Finasteride, sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction cause concern for many men. However, this affects only around 1 in 100 users of the medication.
Hair loss as a result of a dietary deficiency can cause telogen effluvium. This condition causes the body to shed excess hair as opposed to regular amounts. There are a number of vitamins and minerals which play a key role in the hair growth cycle that are recommended if you are trying to optimise your diet for healthy hair.
Iron is critical as it helps transport oxygen to the hair follicles. If you are iron deficient, your body may redirect iron from less vital functions to core bodily requirements. It is important to establish if you are iron deficient so you can choose the right iron supplement to help hair regrowth.
Other dietary recommendations to promote hair growth are Zinc and Magnesium and Omega 3. Vitamin D increases blood flow around the body which can also help in maintaining a healthy scalp. You can find foods and entire diet plans you can eat to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy hair growth cycle.
Hair Care Tips For Preventing Hair Loss
A simple hair care routine can be important for allowing healthy hair to grow and to prevent hair loss. Use mild shampoos which don’t overdry your hair or scalp. Deep condition your hair to help infuse it with moisture and keep your scalp healthy. Avoid stressing your hair by heating, stretching or over-styling as this can cause Traction Alopecia.
Implants and Other Medical Procedures for Hair Loss
Hair Transplant procedures are becoming increasingly advanced and providing great results for some. This is a costly procedure, often setting you back several thousand pounds. Transplants or follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or Follicular unit extraction (FUE) have largely replaced hair plug procedures as they are more effective procedures.
Laser Therapy is another procedure for hair loss. While not as successful as transplantation, it is more affordable and less invasive.
There are many natural and medical hair loss treatments to stop you from losing your hair. Finding the right one for you should always be done with medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist. If lifestyle changes are not sufficient for your hair loss, consult our UK doctors online for treatments such as Finasteride or Regaine. If these medicines do not work for you then discussing hair loss surgery with your doctor is the last option to prevent hair loss.