Thinking about having a hair transplant? Feel like it’s your only option?
First things first, you’re not the only one that’s going through it. Male pattern baldness affects over 50% of men by the age of 50. For some guys, it happens when they’re older, but for the unlucky ones, it happens at a relatively young age.
For the younger guys out there, it is a big deal which makes it no surprise to learn that according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, more and more men are fighting back by opting for hair transplant surgeries.
They are usually effective, but it’s a big step to take. Think about your options carefully. Here we’ve got the essential things you need to know.
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure used to treat baldness. Hair is taken from an area of your scalp where you don’t have any hair loss, usually from the back or the sides of your head and moved to areas where you’re going bald.
The surgery is usually done under local anaesthetic and takes several hours, depending on how much hair you’re having transplanted.
The procedure is done by removing healthy ‘follicular units’ from your scalp, which are bits of skin that contain the structures needed to grow a hair, like hair follicles, oil glands, and muscle tissue.
The follicular units are then embedded back into your scalp (called grafting) in the areas where you’re going bald. The surgeon may make small incisions in your scalp into which the follicular units are inserted, or they may use a device like a punch needle. Once back in your scalp, the follicular units receive oxygen and nutrients from your blood, and they can produce healthy, thick hair in the area where it was previously thinning.
There’s a wide range of hair transplant techniques available, some using the latest biotechnology, like stem cells, but most hair transplant operations fall under one of two main approaches:
The surgeon removes a strip or strips of skin from your head with healthy hair follicles in it. These strips are then cut into individual follicular units, which are then embedded back in your scalp in the areas where you’re losing hair.
Individual follicles are removed from the scalp, rather than a strip of skin, and then inserted into the areas where you’re going bald. Because no large incisions are made with FUE hair transplants, there’s usually less visible scarring than with the FUT hair transplants.
Hair transplants are effective for many men who are losing their hair naturally through male pattern baldness. Results will vary, depending on factors including your age and general health, how much hair you’ve lost, the transplant technique used, and the skill of the surgeon, but anywhere from 10% to 80% of the follicles transplanted will produce hair in the new location.
If the transplanted follicles take, they’ll start producing new hair, usually within a couple of months. However, this hair will probably start to thin over time, just as the hair before it did. How fast the transplanted hair thins will be unique to you, but you may need to have follow-up transplants and use hair loss treatments like finasteride if you want to keep a full head of hair.
In the past, hair transplants looked less than subtle. Hair was transplanted in small clumps, called plugs, resulting in a bald patch covered in equally spaced tufts of hair. If you had one of these transplants, everyone knew about it.
The techniques used today give more natural results as hair follicles are implanted one at a time. And given the fact it’s your own hair that’s used, transplants can look perfectly natural. The results will depend on the expertise of the surgeon who carries out the transplant though, with more skilled surgeons producing more natural results.
So, how much is a hair transplant? You may have heard they don’t come cheap. Well, unfortunately, hair transplants aren’t offered on the NHS, as they’re a cosmetic procedure, so you’ll have to go private. And here’s where you may want to brace yourself.
Hair transplant costs can vary. A lot. It can set you back anywhere from £1,000 to £30,000 and more, depending on the type of surgery, how much hair you’ve lost, and the quality of the surgeon and clinic you use.
With hair transplants, you generally pay for what you get especially a more skilled surgeon can produce better results. It can be tempting to go for the cheaper options, but if you’re serious about keeping your hair, and you want a natural-looking transplant, you’ll have to be prepared to spend some money.
You may need multiple hair transplants depending on how much hair you’ve lost and how many follicles need to be moved. It’s likely that you’ll also need follow-up transplants as your transplanted hair can start to thin again. All of this will depend on your individual circumstances, but if you’re committed to keeping your hair, it can get expensive.
You can have a hair transplant from the age of 18, and there’s no upper limit, as long as you and the surgeon are comfortable with your condition.
There’s no single best age to have a transplant. It depends on your individual circumstances, but if you’re young, it’s advised to wait until your mid-20s, to make sure you have a good idea of your individual pattern of hair loss.
When in your mid-20s or older, it’s generally a good idea to have a transplant sooner rather than later, as you need to have enough hair to be transplanted, and you’ll likely see better results if you can still grow hair in the areas you’re going bald.
You’ll need to speak to a surgeon at a private clinic to discuss in detail whether a hair transplant is right for you, but consider the following:
Hair transplants work best for men who are losing hair naturally because of male pattern baldness. If you’re losing hair for another reason, whether due to an illness or medical treatment, then hair transplants probably aren’t for you.
You need to have enough hair on your head that hasn’t thinned to be moved to the areas where you’re going bald. If you’ve lost most of the hair on your head, a transplant may not be viable for you.
If you can’t grow any hair in the area you want the hair to be transplanted to, then the follicular units that are moved to this area may not be able to produce any hair either. Again, if you’ve already lost a lot of hair, a transplant may not be right for you.
If you’re unsure about any of the above, a surgeon will be able to make an assessment on each of these factors.
Yes, hair loss treatments can help with hair transplants. Your transplanted hair can begin to thin and recede, like the lost hair it replaced. To get the best results from a transplant, you may have to use a hair loss treatment which can help you maintain your hair, like finasteride.
Finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia, is a prescription medication that reduces the amount of DHT in your scalp, a hormone which causes male pattern baldness. Finasteride can help reduce hair loss and can even help regrow lost hair.
There are loads of reasons your hair can fall out. Some hair loss every day is normal.
But your hair usually doesn’t fall out in clumps. That means if it does, you probably have a specific medical condition which is causing it to do so.
Here we’ll have a look at some of the different causes of hair loss, and what you can do about them.
The most common cause of hair loss is a natural process called shedding. Your hair goes through a growth cycle in which hair follicles in your skin produce new hairs. These hairs grow, then after a certain amount of time they stop growing and fall out. A new hair then emerges from the follicle to replace it.
Typically, you lose around 50 to 100 hairs a day to shedding, which might sound a lot, but it’s less than 0.10% of the hairs on your head, so it really isn’t. Shedding shouldn’t result in any baldness either, as new hairs replace the ones that have fallen out, and usually hair is lost evenly from all over your head, not in clumps.
Lots of different things can cause your hair to fall out in clumps, from sudden stressful events, to problems with your diet, as well as certain medications and medical conditions. You can read more about the causes of hair loss in this article, but if you’re worried about it, you should speak to a doctor.
It’s normal to lose some hair in the shower, as your body naturally sheds hairs every day. This often happens when you touch and wash your scalp, but hair isn’t usually lost like this in clumps. If you’re losing hair in patches, you should see a doctor.
It’s unlikely. In rare cases some cancers, like Hodgkin's Lymphoma, can cause hair loss, but it’s much more likely you’re losing hair due to one of the conditions described here. See a doctor though if you’re worried about your hair loss.
If you notice your hair falling out in patches, you can’t dismiss this as natural shedding. It’s likely you’ve got one of the following conditions:
Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder than can cause your hair to thin and fall out in patches. Let’s break it down. The telogen phase is actually a normal stage of the hair growth cycle where mature hairs stop growing. Telogen effluvium on the other hand makes your hair enter this stage of the growth cycle too quickly. It stops hairs from growing and causes them to fall out earlier than they should.
The causes of telogen effluvium aren’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be triggered most often by physical or emotional stress, especially by stressful events. Other causes can include hormonal changes, severe infections, major surgery, a side effect of medications (like beta-blockers and retinoids), and dietary deficiencies including a lack of iron or protein.
With telogen effluvium, hair loss usually happens some months after the event that caused it (from one to six months, with three months the most common), as it takes time for the hair that’s stopped growing to fall out. The good news is that hair lost to telogen effluvium usually grows back once the cause of the condition is dealt with. If you’re diagnosed with it, your doctor can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing it and can advise you how to address the problem.
Alopecia areata, also called spot baldness, is another condition which can cause your hair to fall out in patches. It can make hair fall out from all areas of your body, but on your head you will either lose all your hair (called diffuse alopecia areata), or in specific areas (called alopecia areata monolocularis). It will usually happen in patches around the size of a fifty pence piece. These patches can join up too, creating larger areas of lost hair.
Alopecia areata is caused by your immune system targeting and damaging your hair follicles, resulting in your follicles producing progressively finer hair, and eventually no hair at all. No one knows quite what causes this to happen, but it’s partly genetic. This means that if other people in your family have it, you’re more likely to have it too.
Unfortunately, there’s no known cure. The condition can stop by itself, and hair can grow back, but it can start over again, causing more hair loss. When it’s stopped, various treatments can help hair regrow quicker, like cortisone injections. But once it returns there are no treatments which can reliably stop you from losing more hair. This is one of those frustrating health conditions which comes and goes, and unfortunately when it’s present there isn’t much you can do about it.
This is a type of hair loss caused by inflammation in the scalp that destroys hair follicles and replaces them with scar tissue, hence the name scarring alopecia (there’s usually no scarring visible on the scalp however as it happens within the skin). It can cause hair to fall out in patches, but more likely it will fall out in larger areas.
It’s not known for sure what causes the inflammation which results in scarring alopecia. It can occur in otherwise healthy men, and it doesn’t seem to run in families.
Treating scarring alopecia can be difficult. Once the scarring happens, the hair follicle is lost forever, and no hair will grow back. If the condition is diagnosed fast enough, anti-inflammatory medications may be able to stop the hair follicles from being destroyed. If you feel itching and soreness, and notice more hair falling out than usual, speak to a doctor as soon as you can.
This is a type of hair loss usually caused by medical treatments, like radiotherapy or when taking chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer. Hair can fall out in clumps at first, but typically hair falls out all over the scalp. It’s called anagen effluvium, as the anagen phase is the growing phase of the hair cycle, meaning hair is lost as it’s still growing.
As hair follicles aren’t usually damaged with anagen effluvium, the lost hair usually grows back once the medical treatment has ended.
Male pattern baldness (MPB), also called androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of baldness in men. MPB mainly causes your hair to thin and recede in specific areas though, rather than falling out in clumps.
MPB is caused by a sensitivity to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes the hair follicles on your head to shrink, making hair thin over time and eventually stop growing altogether. Thankfully, hair loss with MPB can be stopped and even reversed by using prescription medications like finasteride, also sold as under the brand name Propecia.
Your first step should be to see a doctor. They can either diagnose you themselves, or can refer you to a specialist, like a dermatologist, who can make a diagnosis.
Your options then will depend on that diagnosis. Some conditions will be treatable, others might have more limited options. If your hair is falling out in clumps, you could have scarring alopecia, anagen effluvium, or male pattern baldness, but it’s more likely to be either telogen effluvium or alopecia areata. The most important thing is to act quickly, as hair loss can often be treated more effectively in its earlier stages.
Is your hair looking and feeling a bit thin? Have you noticed it starting to go on top and recede at the front? If you have, that sounds like it’s probably male pattern baldness (MPB). Don’t stress though, it’s common and most guys get it at some point in their lives. You can even treat it these days.
Here’s a bit of the science. We’ll tell you about DHT, how it’s at the root of baldness, and how DHT blockers can be used to fight MPB.
Male pattern baldness gets its name because men usually lose hair in a specific pattern. If you notice your hair thinning on the top of your head towards the back (your crown), and/or your hairline receding at the front of your head, particularly at the corners, then this could well be the first signs of MPB.
If other men in your family have MPB, it makes even more likely you’ll have it too, as it runs in families. If your dad or uncles or older brothers have MPB, there’s a good chance you’ll develop it too. Read more about identifying MPB.
If you’ve been reading about this online, you may have found it confusing. And we don’t blame you. Some sites say MPB is caused by your genes, others by ageing, others by hormones like testosterone, others by a mixture, but often it isn’t very clear.
Scientists themselves are still debating the causes of MPB, and there’s still a lot to understand, which is why things aren’t always that clear. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make what we do know as clear and simple as possible.
Most scientists believe that MPB is mostly caused by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT for short. We say mostly as the science of MPB is complex, and there are other factors involved, but DHT seems to be the main one. Let’s break this down:
So DHT is a hormone which binds to organs in your body to affect how they work.
One type of organ DHT can bind to is called a hair follicle, which is a structure in your skin which produces hair. Free testosterone is converted to DHT in your hair follicles, and then the DHT binds to the follicles at specific sites called receptors (think of the DHT molecule as a key, and the receptor as a keyhole that matches the key). In most areas of your body, the DHT encourages the follicle to grow a strand of hair.
But the hair follicles in your scalp are an exception. When DHT binds to the follicles in your scalp, it causes them to shrink. As the follicles shrink over time, they produce gradually shorter and finer hair, until the follicle eventually closes up, and no hair is produced at all. This is why your hair thins with MPB before you go bald.
In really basic terms, DHT causes male pattern baldness by making the hair follicles in your scalp shrink. But why does this occur in some men more than others?
You’ll often hear or read that it’s not the amount of DHT a man has, but how sensitive his hair follicles are to it that determines whether or not he’ll develop MPB. The science isn’t so clear though, as men who have MPB also tend to have higher levels of DHT, so it may be a combination of more DHT and increased sensitivity to it.
MPB is partly genetic, which means certain genes make it more likely you’ll develop MPB. These genes can be passed on to you from your parents.
There’s a lot of misinformation about this, both online and off, with a common myth being that you inherit the gene for MPB from your mother, so if your father has MPB, you can’t be sure you’ll get it too. The truth is that MPB is more complex than this, with at least 250 genes involved, many of which come from both parents. If your father or other older male relatives have MPB, you aren’t guaranteed to get it, but you are more likely.
Why some genes make it more likely you’ll develop MPB isn’t well understood (it’s insanely complex), but it’s likely to do with the receptors that DHT binds with. Certain genes may make the receptors in some men react more strongly to DHT.
You also often see ageing listed as a cause of MPB too. Although you’re more likely to develop MPB as you age, it’s not fully understood why, particularly as levels of free testosterone usually fall as men age. It may be that more of the free testosterone we do have is converted to DHT as we age, or may just be that it takes time for hair follicles to shrink, so even if MPB starts in your teens it may take years for the effects to become visible.
There are a range of ways to treat MPB, one of which is costly surgery.
But how do you reduce or lower DHT in your body? Well, another effective, and less expensive option to treat MPB is to use a medication which reduces levels of DHT in the scalp, a so-called DHT blocker. So, what’s a DHT blocker? The clue is in the name really.
Finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia, is a prescription medication that stops the conversion of free testosterone into DHT in certain tissues, including the scalp. It can slow the rate of hair loss, and even reverse MPB in most men.
We’ve just thrown a whole load of science at you here, so we’ll summarise it quickly to make it as clear as possible:
We know that there’s loads of misinformation online about baldness. It’s super hard to find out what’s actually true, and it’s too easy to believe the BS. So, we’re going to cut through that misinformation and explain clearly and simply how baldness is inherited.
There are loads of reasons men can lose their hair.
Medical conditions, like thyroid disease and scalp infections, can cause baldness. Treatments and drugs, from antibiotics to chemotherapy, can cause it, and even stress can make you lose your hair. This hair loss is often temporary though, and this type of baldness isn’t passed on from parents, as it’s caused by something specific. So when people talk about hereditary baldness, they’re talking about something else. They’re talking about male pattern baldness (MPB).
MPB, also called androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of baldness in men. It’s called pattern baldness because hair is usually lost in a pattern. A clear sign of balding, your hair recedes at the corners of your hairline and on your crown first.
You may have heard the MPB runs in the family. That it’s something you can inherit from your parents. But there’s a lot of myths about MPB, so is it true? Is going bald genetic?
Yes, it is true, but only partly. MPB is caused by a sensitivity to a type of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT in the scalp can cause hair follicles (the holes in your skin which hair grows out of) to shrink over time. As the follicles shrink, the hair has less time to grow, meaning they become shorter and thinner, until eventually the follicles shrink so much the hair can’t grow anymore at all. This is why hair thins before you go bald.
It’s not necessarily the amount of DHT in the scalp which causes the follicles to shrink, but how sensitive you are to DHT. Research has shown that a man’s sensitivity to DHT is inherited, meaning it is caused by the genes you get from your parents. So yes, MPB is inherited.
So where do hair genes come from? If your father, or other male relatives have MPB, does this mean you’re definitely going to get it too?
Not necessarily. It’s a little more complicated than that. Over 250 genes are known to be associated with MPB, and you likely have to have certain patterns of these genes to be sensitive to DHT. You get a combination of genes from both your parents, so you may not have the same patterns of these 250 genes as the male relatives in your family. This means MPB is partly hereditary. If men in your family have MPB, you’re more likely to develop it too, but it’s not guaranteed.
You might have heard this one about genetic hair loss too. It’s commonly said that men inherit the genes for male pattern baldness through their mother, so you can’t predict how your hair will fare by looking at your dad. But is this one true?
No. One of the genes that was first found to be related to MPB is found on the X-chromosome, which is inherited only from your mother, which is where this myth comes from. But as we said, we now know there are over 250 genes associated with MPB, and most of these aren’t on the X-chromosome, meaning you can inherit them from your father.
So you can inherit MPB from your dad. If he has it, you’re more likely to develop MPB too (although remember, it’s not 100% guaranteed).
In addition to the myth that men inherit MPB from their mothers, there are also plenty of other tales about how MPB is passed from generation to generation.
You may see claims that men should look at the hair of their mother’s father, and women should look at their father’s mother, but this isn’t true. The inheritance of MPB just isn’t that simple. First of all, there are so many genes involved. Secondly inheritance isn’t that straightforward; you get half your parents’ genes, not all of them, and you don’t know which half, unless you have your DNA test. That means you simply can’t predict your future hair, or lack of it, from your family history.
So, how can you tell if you’ll go bald? You can’t really. If you have male relatives that have MPB, it’s better to accept that you may inherit it, and you should be on the watch for any signs of it, as the sooner you treat MPB, the better the results.
Can genetic hair loss be cured? First of all, you need to know what to avoid. There’s plenty of pseudoscientific advice about how to treat MPB and too many phony cures, including everything from massaging raw egg into your scalp, to using aromatherapy oils, to wearing hair loss prevention helmets with lasers. What you need to consider is the fact that there is very little evidence to support any of these. You’re much better off going for a treatment which is proven to work.
One effective option to fight MPB is hair transplant surgery. Follicles are removed from parts of your head where the hair is still growing thick and long, and they’re implanted in the areas of your scalp where your hair is thinning or has been lost. Hair transplant surgery works for many men (it did wonders for Wayne Rooney), but it’s not without its disadvantages. You may have to undergo multiple surgeries depending on how much hair you’ve lost, it can be very expensive (think tens of thousands of pounds), and the results can be temporary as the implanted follicles can start to shrink too.
Another effective, and more affordable option is finasteride (also sold under the brand name Propecia). Finasteride is a prescription drug which is taken as a pill. It works by reducing DHT levels in the scalp, keeping hairs growing for longer, slowing hair loss, and it can even reverse thinning and loss for most men.
Remember, male pattern baldness is hereditary. But only partly. If male relatives in your family have MPB, you’re more likely to get it too, but it’s not guaranteed. Always try and be alert to the signs of MPB, so you can tackle it as soon as it begins, and always make sure you use a treatment which is proven to be effective.
You’ve noticed a few more hairs blocking the shower. There’s been a couple of strays on your pillow and now you’re starting to panic. You’re already thinking about a comb over or going full on Statham. Slow down.
Losing hair is normal. Old hairs naturally fall out to make way for new ones. But if you are losing more hair than it is being replaced, that’s when you may be experiencing male pattern baldness.
So, how can you tell if your hair loss is normal?
On average, people lose around 50 to 100 hairs a day. That might sound like a lot, especially if you’re picturing 100 hairs clogging up your shower every day, but it actually isn’t too much.
People usually have around 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their head, so losing 100 hairs a day is at most 0.10% of your hair. And this type of hair loss doesn’t make you go bald either, as it’s all part of the natural growth cycle of hair.
Of the 50 to 100 hairs you lose on average per day, you tend to lose more of these when you’re touching your hair. If you style your hair, use combs and brushes, and wash your hair in the shower, you may remove the majority of the old hairs that have reached the end of their growth cycle. So don’t be surprised to see a fair amount of hair on the bottom of the shower.
The hair on your body undergoes a continuous growth cycle, which has four stages:
Stage 1: Growth (anagen phase). A hair follicle (the holes in your skin that hair grows out of) produces a new hair. This strand of hair grows thicker and longer, until it reaches its full length.
Stage 2: Regression (catagen phase). The strand of hair detaches from the follicle. It stays attached to the skin, but it stops growing.
Stage 3: Resting (telogen phase). A new strand of hair starts to grow from the follicle beneath the older hair that’s just detached from it.
Stage 4: Shedding (exogen phase). The old hair breaks away from the skin and falls out. The new hair beneath it begins to emerge, and we’re back to stage 1.
So you can see that normal hair loss (stage 4), called shedding, doesn’t make you go bald, as a new hair emerges from the follicle and grows to take its place.
The main cause of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness. This usually causes hair to thin and recede over time though, as hairs stop being replaced when they fall out. If you’re experiencing rapid hair loss, then you may have a medical condition which is causing it, and you should speak to a doctor as soon as you can.
There are lots of things that can make your hair fall out, like illnesses, bad nutrition, stress, drugs, and medical treatments. This type of hair loss is usually temporary however, meaning hair returns once the cause is dealt with. When people talk about baldness, they’re usually not talking about these types of hair loss, they’re talking about something more permanent. Male pattern baldness (MPB), also called androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of baldness, affecting up to 80% of men at some point in our lives. It’s different from shedding, as it’s caused by hair follicles shrinking over time. As the follicles shrink the hairs growing out of them become progressively thinner and shorter. Eventually the follicle shrinks so much, that when an old hair falls out, a new hair can’t emerge at all.
So MPB is different from shedding, as eventually no new hairs replace the ones that are lost.
The clue is in the name. It’s called male pattern baldness, as the hair loss usually follows a typical pattern. Thinning and hair loss happens in specific areas, rather than evenly all over your head.
With MPB, the follicles usually begin to shrink first along your hairline, particularly at the corners, and on the crown of your head (towards the back of the top of your head). As hair thins and recedes at the corners of your hair line, it can create an M-shape, where you have a peak in the middle and losses at the sides. As hair thins and is lost on your crown, your scalp begins to show through your hair.
So if you notice your hair thinning in these areas rather than even hair loss, it’s probably not normal hair shedding and is MPB. Read more about the causes and stages of MPB.
Also, MPB is partly genetic. If other men in your family have it, you’re not guaranteed to get it too, but you are much more likely. If MPB runs in your family, you should pay particular attention to your hairline and your crown, as the faster you spot MPB, the easier it is to treat. Be vigilant.
MPB used to be untreatable. There were loads of quack treatments, but nothing that reliably stopped hair loss, let alone reversed it. But thankfully, science has come to the rescue and there are a number of treatments for MPB today that actually work. And the best of these is finasteride.
Finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia, is a treatment for MPB. It’s taken as a pill and it works by reducing the amount of male hormone in the scalp which causes the follicles to shrink. It’s one of the few treatments for MPB that actually works. Finasteride has been found to stop hair loss in around 80% of men, and around 66% see their hair returning and thickening.
Remember, it’s normal to lose hair as it’s all part of the natural growth cycle. However, if you have MPB it isn’t part of the cycle and is something you need to tackle as soon as you spot the signs.
Stress can build up for many different reasons, but can it cause hair loss? It may sound like a made up fact, but stress-related hair loss is very real. The irony is that losing your hair in itself can be a very stressful experience, so many men fall into a vicious cycle. The good news is that hair loss from stress is rarely permanent, so long as you can control or manage whatever it is that’s putting you under pressure. This guide will give you the facts on stress and hair loss to help you bounce back.
We shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day, which is just a small number compared to the other 150,000 hairs on your scalp. Problems occur when this hair doesn’t grow back. If stress is causing your hair to fall out, you may have what’s known as telogen effluvium. This is when the body releases high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s what gives us our fight or flight response, which is why it’s common to feel on edge when you’re stressed. Unfortunately, this process causes a hormonal imbalance that temporarily turns off your hair follicles and pushes them into a 'resting phase'. This resting phase happens while your body deals with whatever threat it’s detecting. In this case, stress.
Telogen effluvium isn’t the only cause of stress related hair loss. Some men may find that stress causes problems with their immune system which then attacks the hair follicles; some even uncontrollably pull their hair out themselves. We’ll explain more in this section.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of alopecia. If you haven’t, it’s when you begin to lose hair from separate parts of your scalp. This is different from male pattern baldness, which often starts at the crown or recedes from the forehead. There are different types of alopecia, but the one we’re concerned with is alopecia areata. If you suspect alopecia areata, you’ll likely notice coin-shaped patches around your scalp and beard area.
Alopecia areata is triggered by inflammation, brought on by complications with your immune system. It’s what we call an autoimmune disease: the body’s natural defences get confused and begin attacking healthy cells. Alopecia areata is more common in people going through severe stress. That could be from trauma, injury, or a sudden death. We all manage stress in different ways, and we all have methods of coping, although some can be more harmful to your recovery than others.
You’ll probably be aware of trichotillomania without having ever known the name. Trichotillomania, or trich, is a mental health condition that causes people to pull their hair out. Often a person might pull their hair out as a direct response to a stressful situation, or they might not be aware that they are doing it. The reasons for trich are fairly unknown, but doctors liken it to the imbalance of brain chemicals that causes OCD.
As well as obviously feeling stressed, there are many other tell-tale signs to be aware of if you experience hair loss. For starters, hair loss from stress is more sudden and likely to occur in random places of your scalp. Male pattern baldness, which is often hereditary, is a more gradual process. You may notice your hair thinning out over several years, or your father may have gone bald or receded at a similar age as you.
What if you were stressed several months ago but aren’t stressed now? Many men say they’ve begun losing hair weeks, months or years after feeling stressed. That’s because the hair loss cycle isn’t immediate. You may have to wait several months for your hair to grow back naturally, or in the worst circumstances several years, which is why many men opt for medication. We’ll explain this in more detail later on.
The answer to both questions is yes. The three main conditions that cause stress related hair loss are telogen effluvium, alopecia areata and trichotillomania. Thankfully, hair loss from stress is usually temporary. As well as resolving any emotional issues, we recommend taking finasteride to block certain hormones that speed up hair loss.
Yes. When we feel anxious, our bodies go into their fight or flight mode, which triggers the hormone cortisol. This process places the scalp in a resting period. As a result, the hair that’s shed isn’t replaced, which leads to thinning or balding.
The best way to stop stress-related hair loss is to manage whatever it is that’s causing you stress in the first place. There are varying levels of stress and everyone differs in how they handle it.
Severe stress can cause alopecia areata, which often leaves bald spots in different parts of the scalp. This is due to inflammation, brought on by your immune system. Other hair loss is categorised by thinning or hair simply falling out in large chunks.
Because stress is so common, there are multiple options available to get you back on track. The first place to start is a visit to your GP, as they can refer you to a specialist therapist. If you’re not prepared to go down this route, then the other most effective way to cope with stress is to open up. Speaking to friends or family can really help. When we find ourselves in a stressful situation, we have a tendency to think and act irrationally. Speaking to someone that’s less involved is often the best way to get perspective and clarity on a difficult situation.
As for hair loss medication, the most effective treatment is finasteride, which is also available under the brand name Propecia. Finasteride works by inhibiting the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a common cause of hair loss in men who are born more sensitive to DHT. Remember, stress is temporary and so is stress related hair loss. Hang in there.
There are loads of reasons why your hair could be falling out. Thyroid problems are one of them. But try not to worry too much – thyroid hair loss can usually be treated with hormone tablets and hair loss medication.
We’re here to give you everything you need to know about your thyroid and hair loss, including a reassuring note on how common the issue is. For instance, did you know 1 in 20 people in the UK will experience a thyroid issue in their life? If you’re worried you might have a thyroid problem, you’re not alone.
Take your hand and place it gently on your Adam’s apple. Your thyroid gland sits just beneath this. It may look small, but this butterfly-shaped piece of tissue plays a crucial part in all of your bodily functions. Your thyroid is responsible for your body’s metabolism, which is how your body converts food into energy.
But the thyroid gland is also important because it produces two hormones that feed nearly every cell in your body: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 regulate everything from breathing to digestion, but how do they affect your hair?
Each strand of hair on our bodies begins to grow at the root, located at the base of the hair follicle. Then, the surrounding blood vessels ‘feed’ the root, so that the hair can grow. The hair eventually pushes up through the skin, passing by sebaceous (oil) glands as it goes, to keep it soft and shiny. Your hair will grow for a while, but eventually falls out as it’s replaced by newer hairs.
However, if the production of hormones T3 and T4 is disrupted, this can affect the development of hair at the root, which can cause hair loss. As the thyroid is responsible for the production of these two hormones within our bodies, issues with it can lead to hair loss – whether it’s producing too much (overactive), or not enough (underactive). So, once your hair naturally falls out at the end of its life cycle, there might not be anything there to replace it. This is when hair loss happens.
But try not to worry too much, as both imbalances are treatable and diagnosed by a simple blood test.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, can lead to weight loss and excessive sweating, while hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain and constantly feeling cold. You might also experience one or several of the following symptoms:
· Rapid heart rate
· Increased bowel movements
· Irritated skin
· Back pain
· Muscle aches
Men who are diagnosed with one of these two conditions are also at higher risk of losing their hair. If you’re worried about any of these symptoms, it’s worth having a chat with your GP or an endocrinologist (a specialist doctor that deals with hormones) to explore the reasons behind them.
For example, there are conditions like Hashimoto's disease and Graves’ disease, where the immune system attacks healthy cells for no apparent reason. These autoimmune diseases can cause hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.
Yes, when given the right treatment, your thyroid will eventually balance out and return to normal. This process may take several months, during which you might be given carbimazole and propylthiouracil (overactive) or levothyroxine (underactive).
People with thyroid issues often complain of not feeling themselves. You may be fatigued or may have gained or lost unexplained weight or muscle. You should also make a note of any sudden mood swings.
If you’ve been feeling tired or noticed changes to your body (in your size or any mystery aches), you should contact your GP and ask for a blood test to check your thyroid levels. This is usually free on the NHS, and you’ll receive your results within a fortnight.
Thyroid problems aren’t usually serious, but you should still get checked out by a doctor to rule out any concerns. If your thyroid is serious, your doctor may put you on a course of hormone treatments to help regulate your thyroid. In terms of hair loss, the treatment we provide is finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia. We recommend finasteride to men with hair loss issues, as it blocks the effects of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Over 80% of men who take finasteride tablets will be able to stop their hair loss, and many men go on to enjoy healthy regrowth.
Try not to worry, as stress can also be a considerable factor in hair loss. If you still have questions about male hair loss, visit the FROM MARS blog for more detailed guides on the causes and treatments available to you.
Your thought process might go a bit like this. Stop your hair thinning. Keep your locks. Get more sex.
In reality, life isn’t always that simple. Less hair doesn’t mean less sex. You’ll probably find that there’s a real market for guys with very short cropped hair and shaved heads. Just look at The Rock or Jason Statham.
But if you’re set on doing something about it, you’ll be pleased to know that male pattern baldness is no longer the curse it once was. There are treatments available today that can stop it, like finasteride, which is also known by the brand name Propecia.
What you might not know is that finasteride can have side effects. And these can include messing with your erections and reducing your sex drive. But that doesn’t happen to everyone.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a condition which causes men to lose hair on their head. It’s the most common cause of baldness in men, with around 50% of us developing it by age 50.
Hair loss usually follows a pattern, hence the name, with hair receding at the front and thinning at the top of the head first. Less hair is lost at the sides, and as the balding gets worse, it usually results in a a hairless head but with some hair remaining at the sides.
Finasteride, sometimes sold under the brand name Propecia, is a treatment for MPB. It’s taken as a pill, and it works by reducing the amount of male hormone DHT in the scalp which causes the hair to thin and recede. It’s one of the few treatments for MPB that actually works. Finasteride stops hair loss in around 80% of men, and around 66% see their hair returning and thickening.
Just like all medications, finasteride can have side effects. Not every man will get them, and those that do can get different ones at different strengths. It depends on how your body reacts to the meds and how much you take.
Finasteride is considered a safe medication for most men though. The good news is that it’s gone through extensive clinical trials, it’s approved by healthcare agencies all over the world, and in reality there are only a few finasteride side effects. The bad news is that some men do experience them. These were the side effects found in clinical trials:
The most common side effects of finasteride were sexual. In trials, they’re experienced by around 1 in 100 men (1% of men) when 1 mg tablets were taken daily, and by around 1 in 10 men (10% of men) when 5 mg tablets were taken. They include:
Very few other side effects were found in clinical trials for finasteride, however some men experienced rashes, and others felt tenderness and swelling in their chests.
A very small number of men experienced depression when they took finasteride. If you take finasteride and you start to feel depressed you should stop taking it and contact your doctor.
Male pattern baldness is caused by the presence of a male hormone in the scalp called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is made from testosterone. Finasteride reduces the amount of DHT, but it can cause more testosterone to be converted to a hormone called estradiol. Estradiol is a female sex hormone which can cause sexual problems in some men.
If you take finasteride and you do get some of the sexual side effects, don’t worry, you have options. Try some of the following:
For some men, these sexual side effects reduce over time when they keep taking finasteride, even if they don’t change their dose. Research found that the sexual side effects were often felt for around one year, and then they declined and disappeared over the next two to four years. So patience may be all it takes for some men.
The sexual side effects of finasteride become less common if the dose is reduced. You should talk to our doctors if you are considering changing the dose you take. They may suggest that you keep taking finasteride daily but at a lower strength pill, or they may tell you to take it less often than every day. Your side effects may vanish, and you may still be able to stop and reverse your hair loss at this lower dose.
Erectile dysfunction medication, like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) can help many men overcome problems getting and maintaining an erection. You can order ED meds at FROM MARS if approved by our doctors following an online consultation.
Research shows that being fit, healthy, and eating a balanced diet can help improve erections and boost sex drive.
Keeping your weight down, getting regular exercise, eating foods high in vitamins and minerals, cutting back on alcohol, and giving up smoking can all help counter the side effects of finasteride. Learning more about lifestyle changes and the types of healthy foods that can help with your erections can also be beneficial.
If the above advice doesn't work, and you still experience sexual side effects, then you may have to embrace baldness and go all out Statham. For most men, all sexual side effects disappear when they stop taking finasteride. Make sure you talk to our doctors before stopping.
The truth is that finasteride is one of the few effective treatments for hair loss and that its side effects are uncommon. The chances are you won’t experience any sexual side effects, with only between 1% to 10% of men doing so, even at high doses. And even if you do experience sexual side effects, there are things you can do to counter them. If your hair starts to thin, you’re not facing a choice between a full head or a rewarding sex life. You can have both.
The link between masturbation and hair loss isn't a new one.
People have been spreading this false claim for years, but it's no truer now than it was back then. The moral of this story? Don’t believe everything you read online.
To set the record straight, we've decided to debunk this myth and several others. In this guide, we’ll give you the truth about masturbation, male pattern baldness, alopecia and hair thinning.
Every man produces the hormone testosterone. It’s the hormone responsible for muscle mass and libido. That’s important because one of the biggest myths about masturbation and hair loss involves testosterone. According to non-experts, testosterone increases when you masturbate. The reason they say this is because testosterone produces a sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Like testosterone, DHT gives men their male characteristics, including chest and back hair. But ironically, while DHT promotes body hair growth, it can cause male baldness when it binds to the hair follicle receptors in your scalp.
The link between testosterone and DHT is 100% true, but the claim that masturbating increases testosterone production is not. Medical experts have proven this time and time again, and their observations are backed by a major study. The findings show that adult males who abstained from masturbation for three weeks produced more testosterone than those that didn’t.
Essentially, you can masturbate freely without worrying about your hair receding, thinning or going.
The answer is a categorical no. Yes, your hair follicles are made up of protein. And yes, semen contains protein as well. But the amount you lose through masturbating is so minimal that it’s not worth talking about.
To put this into perspective, there’s about 26g of protein in a handful of peanuts and 5.4g of protein in 100ml of semen. Most men will only really ejaculate 3.7ml of semen at a time, so straight away you can see how tenuous the link between masturbation and protein is. Get enough in your diet and you’ll have no issues.
Prolactin is another hormone that’s wrapped up in DIY science. Like many hormones, the role of prolactin is to regulate varying parts of the body. When you ejaculate, the level of prolactin in your body increases slightly. Some people have drawn a loose link between this prolactin increase and hair loss. However just like with protein, the increase in prolactin from ejaculating is so small that you can forget about it being a reason for any hair loss you’re experiencing.
High levels of prolactin can be caused by a tumour in your pituitary gland, and this can result in hair loss as well as thyroid problems.
No, when it comes to dihydrotestosterone and masturbation, you have nothing to worry about. Studies have shown that abstaining from masturbation actually causes testosterone to go up, which produces DHT. Either way, you’re fine. If you’re experiencing male pattern baldness and DHT is the cause, it’s likely because your scalp is more sensitive due to hereditary reasons.
Being deficient in protein can contribute to hair loss; however, per gram, there’s more protein in eggs, poultry, dairy, legumes and many other foods than a ml of semen. If you have specific dietary requirements and are worried about your protein intake, there are plenty of supplements, and protein shakes out there.
Don’t get drawn in by the soft science around prolactin. Yes, it’s a known fact that hormonal imbalances are a contributor to hair loss — our guide to hair loss and your thyroid will give you more information on this — but there are still blatant problems with this line of thinking. Yes, a small amount of prolactin is released after masturbation or after you have sex, but the amount is so tiny that it wouldn’t contribute to hair loss. There are people who do produce too much prolactin, but this is often because of a tumour in the pituitary gland.
Most people masturbate, and you shouldn’t stop because you’ve read that masturbation causes hair loss. Often the cause is hereditary, but a poor diet, a vitamin deficiency, stress, hormonal imbalances and thyroid issues can also be the hidden culprit. If you’re concerned about any of these, or if you believe your hair loss is still unexplained, your first point of call should be your doctor. They can conduct blood or semen tests to rule out any concerns.
If your hair is receding and you know the cause is hereditary, it will be comforting to know that there are effective treatment options available. The medication we provide is finasteride, which is also sold under the brand name Propecia. Finasteride has been medically proven to slow down the process of balding in the majority of men. You’ll find information about both on our hair loss product pages. Alternatively, the FROM MARS blog is updated regularly with advice on hair loss, treatments, and the impact of other conditions and factors like stress.
Your friends probably won’t give you a straight answer. Your barber might make the occasional "umm" when he’s back there and your other half might try and bring it up over dinner.
When you first discover (and admit to yourself) your hair isn’t what it used to be, it’s easy to be surprised and likely a bit upset. We don’t blame you. It can be a shock.
But it doesn’t have to be a big deal. There are things you can do and treatments that actually work. Remember, we’ve got your back. We’ll help you understand what male pattern baldness is, what causes baldness, how to treat it and how to prevent going bald.
No comb-overs here.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the most common type of baldness in men. It’s a type of baldness in which hair thins and is lost in a typical pattern. It usually only affects the head, and no hair is lost elsewhere on the body.
Unfortunately, MPB is common. Around 50% of all men experience it by age 50. It can happen as early as your teens and twenties though, so keep an eye out for it, even if you’re young.
With MPB, hair thins and is lost in a typical pattern. If your hair is thinning and being lost in this way, you most likely have MPB.
Hair is usually lost first at the hairline at the front of the head, and especially at the corners. This is what’s known as a receding hairline. It often creates an M-shape in the hairline too, as hair recedes faster at the corners than in the centre.
This may happen as a second step, or at the same time as the hairline recedes, or it can even be the first sign. Hair thins and starts to be lost around the crown at the top and the back of the head.
Over time hair loss usually increases. It happens at different speeds in different people, but typically the hairline recedes further, and the bald patch spreads over the top of the head. Less hair is lost around the sides and the very back of the head, tempting some men to opt for the comb-over, where hair is grown long at the sides and back, and then combed over the top of the head to cover up any baldness.
Hair loss often stops at this point, leaving a few wisps on top, with hair at the side and back. In some men it goes all the way though until all the hair is lost from the head.
There are three main causes, and they’re related:
Male pattern baldness is mainly caused by a sensitivity to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a type of testosterone. It causes the hair follicles in your scalp (the holes which hair grows out of) to shrink. As the follicles shrink, the hairs have less time to grow and they become shorter and thinner over time. Eventually the follicles shrink so much they can’t grow hair at all. There’s a myth that men with more testosterone are more likely to go bald, but it’s not true. It’s how sensitive the follicles are to DHT which causes the baldness, not how much of it there is.
How sensitive the hair follicles on your head are to DHT is partly caused by your genes - MPB tends to run in the family. If your dad, older brothers, uncles, and grandfathers had MPB, then you may have inherited the genes that contribute to it too.
You’re more likely to get MPB as you get older, but it’s not fully understood why. It may simply be that it takes time for hair follicles to shrink, so although MPB might start in your teens, the effect only becomes visible years later.
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men, but there are others too, like:
With these causes, the hair is usually lost quickly, rather than gradually thinning over time. The hair typically returns too, once these causes are dealt with. That isn’t the case with MPB though. Hair won’t return or grow thicker again unless some very specific actions are taken.
It’s never good when you first realise you’re going bald. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for your hair. While male pattern baldness used to be irreversible, now you don’t have to accept it. Treatments like finasteride, can halt and even reverse it.
So, avoid the fake cures and the scams, talk to an expert, and stick to the scientifically proven treatments FROM MARS.