Going bald is something that many men dread, but it is also something that around 70 percent of men will experience at some point in their lives, and by 50 years old, most men will have some noticeable hair loss. So, it's a good idea to know how to handle hair loss if and when it happens to a guy around you.
One of the things that I'm thankful for as a GenX man is that attitudes towards male pattern hair loss have changed dramatically in my lifetime. Going completely bald was once a sign that a man had lost his virality and bald men were a comical trope. Today some women even find it sexy. Young men today are lucky, they have a different attitude towards the subject and while I don't think any man of any age would prefer to have their body fail them by losing their hair at an early age - it it certainly isn't the same situation as it was when I was growing up.
That being the case, here are some tips to help you cope with hair loss right now!
Diet And Fitness Options To Help Maintain Healthy Hair Follicles
Hair loss in men can be attributed to a variety of factors, such growth factors as genetics, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate hair care. However, by adopting a balanced diet, engaging in beneficial fitness routines, and using the right hair care products, men can greatly influence their hair health and potentially prevent or reduce hair loss.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals For Healthy Hair
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in supporting healthy hair growth. A deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals can lead to hair loss. Here are some key nutrients to incorporate into your diet:
- Biotin: This B-vitamin is crucial for hair health as it supports keratin production, a protein that makes up hair.
- Iron: Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells, including hair follicles. Lack of iron may lead to hair loss.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin stimulates hair follicles, promoting hair growth.
- Zinc: Zinc aids in hair tissue repair and growth.
To keep your hair strong, healthy, and looking great, men should incorporate foods rich in these nutrients, like eggs, lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens, into their diet.
Fitness Routines for Hair Health
Regular physical activity can help maintain healthy hair by improving circulation, reducing stress, and balancing hormones. Here are some exercises to consider:
- Cardiovascular Exercises: Activities like running, cycling, or swimming boost blood circulation, ensuring adequate nutrient supply to the hair follicles.
- Yoga and Meditation: These practices can help manage stress levels, which is crucial as high stress can contribute to hair loss.
Consider A Hair Transplant
Hair transplants are a much more common, affordable, and effective procedure than ever before, so if going bald really isn't something you can live with, maybe you don't have to? Additionally, a hidden little secret is that far more men have had hair transplant procedures than you guys might even know. According to a recent study, 1 in 13 men will have this procedure in his lifetime! In the past these surgeries were not as refined but today it can look natural after a quick recovery.
Hair transplant surgery is a popular method of addressing hair loss, particularly for those who have not found success with non-surgical treatments. Like all medical procedures, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of Hair Transplant
- Natural Appearance: One of the main benefits of a hair transplant is that it offers a more natural look compared to other treatments. The hair grows in the direction that matches your previous hair growth, giving you a seamless look.
- Permanent Solution: Unlike topical treatments and medications that require continuous use, a hair transplant offers a more permanent solution to hair loss.
- Improved Self-esteem: Hair loss can impact one's confidence. A successful hair transplant can lead to increased self-esteem and improved mental wellbeing.
Disadvantages of Hair Transplant
- Cost: Hair transplants can be quite expensive, and most health insurance plans do not cover the cost as it's considered a cosmetic procedure.
- Invasive Procedure: This is a surgical procedure, which means there's a risk of complications such as infection, excessive bleeding, or scarring.
- Unpredictable Results: Not everyone will have the desired outcome. In some cases, the transplanted hair may not grow as expected, or the procedure may need to be repeated.
How Does the Procedure Work?
A hair transplant procedure involves moving hair follicles from one part of the body (usually the back or side of the head, where hair growth is still abundant) to the area experiencing severe hair loss first.
There are two main types of hair transplant procedures: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
- FUT: This involves removing a strip of skin from the back of the head, from which individual hair follicles are extracted. These follicles are then inserted into the area where hair is thinning.
- FUE: In this method, individual hair follicles are directly extracted from the scalp and transplanted to the bald areas.
Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia.
It's important to consult with a qualified professional before deciding on a hair transplant or hair restoration surgery. They can guide you through the decision-making process, ensuring you understand the procedure, potential risks, and expected outcomes.
Medical Treatments For Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is a common form of hair loss in men. It can be attributed to genetic factors, testosterone and the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The condition is typically diagnosed through a visual examination by a medical professional, who will assess the pattern of hair loss.
Several treatments are available for male pattern baldness:
- Vitamins for Natural Hair Growth: Certain vitamins and minerals, including biotin, vitamin D, iron, and zinc, are known to support hair health and growth. However, they're more effective at preventing hair loss than reversing it. These supplements are generally safe but should be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Costs vary depending on the brand and dosage.
- Follicle Stimulating Medication: Drugs such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) are designed to stimulate hair growth. Minoxidil, a topical solution, and finasteride, an oral medication, can slow hair loss and even promote new growth, but they must be used continuously to maintain results. Side effects may include scalp irritation (minoxidil) and sexual dysfunction (finasteride). These medications are relatively affordable.
- Minoxidil, sold under the brand name Rogaine among others, is a topical treatment applied directly to the scalp. It works by prolonging the growth phase of hair follicles, which can result in thicker, longer hair over time. Minoxidil is generally recommended for individuals experiencing early stages of hair loss or thinning, particularly on the top of the scalp or the crown. It's also suitable for both men and women.It's important to note that while both treatments can slow hair loss and potentially stimulate some regrowth, neither is a permanent cure for male pattern baldness. Once treatment is stopped, hair loss will typically resume. Therefore, the choice between minoxidil and finasteride largely depends on the individual's specific type and pattern of hair loss, as well as their personal preferences and tolerance for potential side effects. A healthcare provider can provide guidance on which treatment may be best based on these factors.
- Finasteride, known by the brand name Propecia, is an oral medication that inhibits the production of DHT, a hormone that contributes to hair loss by shrinking hair follicles. Finasteride is often more effective at stopping hair loss progression and can even lead to regrowth in some cases. It's typically recommended for men with mild to moderate hair loss and is particularly effective at treating hair loss on the front and top of the scalp. However, it's not typically used in women due to potential side effects related to hormonal changes. Minoxidil and finasteride are two of the most common treatments for male pattern baldness, but they work in different ways and may be more effective for different types of hair loss.
- Topical Hair Growth Solutions: These include over-the-counter products containing minoxidil and prescription solutions. These solutions can help slow hair loss and stimulate new growth, but results vary, and they need to be used regularly. Side effects can include scalp irritation, and costs can vary.
Choosing the best hair regrowth treatment depends on individual circumstances, including the extent of hair loss, personal preferences mental health,, budget, and tolerance for potential side effects. A healthcare provider or a hair restoration specialist can provide guidance based on these factors to help make an informed decision about the best course of treatment.
Try A Different Hair Style That Adapts To Your Thinning Hair
If the above solutions are not for you, then consider finding a hairstyle suitable for thinning or balding hair. No single style works for all hair loss types, so generally, as hair loss increases with age, opt for shorter cuts. For a receding hairline, a side part complements a higher hairline rather than covering it.
Your best bet is to have a candid conversation with your barber or hair stylist and ask for recomendations before you need to make a radical adjustemnt. This will help them watch for changes in your hair patterns as well as adapt to them so that you have a seamless transition.
With that being said, here are some common hair cuts that work well with men who are facing thinning hair follicles and/or a receding hairline.
- Short Caesar Cut: Inspired by Julius Caesar, this hairstyle involves short, horizontally straight cut bangs. The hair is layered to around 1-2 inches all over. It's great for early stages of hair loss as it makes your hair appear fuller.
- Buzz Cut: One of the simplest and most effective hairstyles for thinning hair. It minimizes the appearance of bald spots and receding hairlines.
- Shaved Head: Embracing the baldness, this style can give you a bold and confident look. It's a good option for those with significant hair loss.
- High and Tight: This military-style haircut involves very short sides with slightly longer hair on top. The contrast creates an illusion of fullness on the top.
- Slicked Back Hair: If you have enough hair at the crown, you can grow it out and slick it back. This can draw attention away from the hairline.
- Side Part: This classic hairstyle can help hide thinning hair at the temples and create the appearance of volume.
- Textured Crop: A crop with added texture on top can give the illusion of thickness and volume, helping to mask areas of thinning hair.
- Comb Over: Despite its reputation, a well-done comb over can be stylish and effective. It involves growing your hair out and combing it over to cover the bald spot.
- Faux Hawk: This edgier style involves shaving or buzzing the sides of your head while leaving a strip of longer hair down the middle. It draws attention away from the hairline and towards the hair on top.
- Ivy League (or Harvard Clip): A longer version of the crew cut, where hair in front is long enough to style with a side part. This can help to minimize the appearance of a receding hairline.
Remember, everyone's hair loss pattern is unique, so it's best to consult with a professional stylist or barber who can tailor a hairstyle to your individual needs and preferences.
Take Control Of Hair Loss And Shave Your Head Instead
We included it above as a type of hair cut - but going full bald is also a statement of defiance.
For many balding men, shaving off the remainder of their hair so that bald patches are not so obvious is a great idea that will enable them to look good and seize control of the situation instead of simply accepting baldness passively.
A lot of men look great bald, especially if they grow some facial hair to compensate for the loss of head hair, so it is always worth a try.
Embrace Your Receding Hairline With Confidence
Of course, there is nothing more attractive than a confident man, so if you are starting to go bald, why not just stop worrying about losing it and embrace your new look. Hold your head up high and you can bet that you will still look good no matter what you choose to do, or not do as the case may be, with your new hair situation.
Toupee Or Hair Piece Is An Option Too!
For men experiencing hair loss, toupees or other types of head coverings can offer a non-surgical alternative to conceal baldness. A toupee, also known as a wig or hairpiece for men, is a custom-made covering that is typically made from real or synthetic hair. It's designed to fit the wearer's head perfectly and blend with any existing hair. The toupee is attached to the scalp using a variety of methods, such as clips, glue, or tape.
Head coverings like hats, bandanas, or scarves can also be used to cover bald areas. These are simply worn on the bald head, and can be easily removed or changed based on the wearer's preference.
Why Might This Not Be a Good Solution?
While toupees and head coverings can provide an immediate solution to hair loss, they come with their own set of drawbacks:
- Maintenance: Toupees require regular maintenance, including washing, styling, and occasional repairs or replacements. This can be time-consuming and costly.
- Comfort: Some people may find wearing a toupee or head covering uncomfortable, especially for extended periods. They can also cause sweat and itchiness, particularly in hot weather.
- Natural Look: While high-quality toupees can mimic the look of real hair, they may still not look as natural as one's own hair. People might feel self-conscious about others noticing they're wearing a hairpiece.
- Temporary Solution: Unlike treatments that address the root cause of hair loss, toupees and head coverings are temporary solutions that don't prevent further hair loss.
- Limitations on Activities: Certain activities like swimming, high-intensity sports, or even sleeping can dislodge a toupee or head covering.
While toupees and other head coverings can offer a quick fix to conceal baldness, they may not be the ideal solution for a bald man due to the upkeep, comfort issues, and potential limitations on activities. It's essential to explore all options and consult with a professional before deciding on the best solution for hair loss.
Embracing Baldness: Advice for Sons from Dads
Coming to terms with baldness can be a challenging process. Here are some pieces of advice that dads can share with their sons to help them cope with this change:
- Baldness is Normal: Hair loss is a natural part of aging for many men. It's important to remember that you're not alone in this experience - many men, including successful and well-respected individuals, have gone through the same thing.
- It's Not About Looks, It's About Confidence: While society often emphasizes hair as a symbol of attractiveness, confidence is more impactful. Many bald men are considered attractive because of their self-assuredness. Embrace your new look with confidence.
- Focus on What You Can Control: While you may not be able to control hair loss, you can control other aspects of your appearance and health. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and dressing well can all contribute to feeling good about yourself.
- Consider a New Hairstyle or Shaving Your Head: If thinning becomes noticeable, you might want to consider a shorter haircut or shaving your head. Both options can give you a stylish, neat look that many people find appealing.
- Take Care of Your Scalp: Just because the hair is thinning doesn't mean you should ignore scalp care. Use sunscreen or wear a hat to protect your scalp from sun damage.
- Seek Support if Needed: If hair loss is causing significant distress, it could be helpful to speak with a counselor or therapist. They can provide strategies to help cope with this change.
Remember, going bald is a common part of life for many men and it is a discussion that dads should have with their sons. By being open in a discussion like this part of the stigma will start to go away. It doesn't define your worth or ability. Embracing the change and carrying it with confidence is the key to coping with this inevitable event.
Hair Care Recommendations To Keep Your Hair Healthy
Proper hair care can prevent damage and keep your hair looking its best. Here are some recommendations:
- Use a shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair type. Avoid products with harsh chemicals as they can strip your hair of its natural oils.
- Avoid excessive heat styling, which can cause damage and breakage.
- Consider taking hair supplements, particularly those containing the key nutrients mentioned above.
- Regularly massage your scalp to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles.
Remember, everyone's hair is unique, so what works for one person might not work for another. It's always a good idea to consult with your doctor or a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, exercise routine, or hair care regimen. By combining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper hair care, you can promote healthier hair and potentially prevent or reduce hair loss.
How To Deal With Going Bald - A Personal Question All Men Need To Consider
Going bald does not have to be a disaster and there are other options besides expensive hair regrowth supplements or hair restoration surgery. Thankfully there are lots of things you can do to either treat balding, or embrace it and enjoy the new chapter in your life with a whole new look.
Baldness is nothing to fear, so face it head on and take back control of your male pattern hair loss!