Staring down the road to hair loss can be emotionally challenging. For many men, their hair is an integral part of their appearance and, thus, their identity. If you think you’re losing hair, you may find yourself constantly scrutinizing your reflection in the mirror. You might even pull out old photos to compare your hairline, past and present.
It can be easy for others to tell you not to worry about it. They might even say it doesn’t matter what your hair looks like or how thick it is. While you might know that your hair doesn’t impact who you are, losing it can still cause a hit to your self-confidence. The good news is there are ways to slow the loss and increase hair growth, if that’s what you want. Keep reading to learn how to recognize the signs of hair loss and what treatment options are available.
1. Determine Whether Your Hair Really Is Thinning
One of the first things to determine in your journey is if you’re actually losing excessive amounts of hair. Given that humans typically shed 50-100 hairs per day, you want to make sure you’re not worrying unnecessarily. The process is gradual, so pay attention, but try not to obsess. A slowly receding hairline is one of the first signs.
You might also notice more hair is beginning to fall out. If you see more hair than usual on your brush, pillow, or in the shower over time, this could be a warning sign. One area that tends to thin first is the crown of your head. Looking at photos from the past taken in similar light is one way to tell when a change is occurring. Pay attention to whether your hair grows more slowly between cuts, too.
Consistently seeing the same barber or stylist can be helpful in this regard. Having a good and open relationship with someone who has known your hair over time can provide clarity. For one thing, you can see how often you’re having to book an appointment. For another, you can ask them if they’ve noticed a thinning of your hair. Having this open conversation can help you on the path to pursuing treatment options.
2. Try Topical Solutions
After some self-assessment and a chat with your barber or stylist, you may realize you’re definitely losing hair. Fortunately, there are several things you can try to limit hair loss and encourage regrowth. There are two medicines that are FDA approved for combating hair loss, finasteride and minoxidil. Used in combination, topical finasteride and minoxidil comes in gel form and can be applied right to your scalp.
Minoxidil helps stimulate regrowth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles. Finasteride, on the other hand, works on the hormonal level. It does this by blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for shrinking hair follicles and male pattern baldness. By combining the two medications, you can fight your hair loss on two fronts.
3. Switch Shampoos and Styling Techniques
Though you might be a bargain hunter and grab the cheapest shampoo, it’s time to invest in your hair. Ditch the rough-and-tumble man soap that is all-in-one body wash and shampoo. Such products have a time and a place — such as camping trips — but it’s worth getting more specialized products for everyday use. Look for a gentle and nourishing shampoo that avoids harsh chemicals, sulfates, and parabens.
Seek out shampoos that contain biotin, also called vitamin B7 or vitamin H. Such products promote hair regrowth through increasing keratin, a protein that is vital to the skin, hair, and nails. Some shampoos even contain minoxidil. Look for hydrating ingredients as well, because dried-out hair is not healthy hair. Reduce your use of heat styling tools, and if you’ve been wearing pulled-back styles, it’s time to take a break on that, too.
4. Consider Whether Surgery Is Right for You
If your hair loss has progressed to a point where you think more drastic action is needed, explore surgical options. These are more expensive, invasive, and painful, and they require healing time. They do, however, give you more permanent results. Other treatments will stop being effective if you, say, quit using medications or return to your old habits.
Two possibilities here are a hair transplant or a scalp reduction. A hair transplant entails taking healthy hair follicles from elsewhere on your body and transplanting them to your bald areas. When using the follicular unit extraction method, this is done one follicle at a time for natural-looking results. In a scalp reduction, local anesthesia is applied and a strip of bald skin is removed. An adjacent area of healthy hair is then stretched over to cover that spot.
Don’t Let Hair Loss Get You Down
Realizing you’re losing hair and deciding what to do about it can be daunting. But remember, you’re not alone — many men go through this. Try a few of these options, and if they work for you, great! If you decide, “Forget it; I’m shaving my head and growing a beard,” that’s fine, too.
The hair does not make the man. Rather, the man makes the style. Give yourself compassion and rest assured that you’re more than your hair. So whether you strive for regrowth or embrace your baldness, go confidently into the world having made your choice.