Have you noticed that your hair is thinning in places? Are you concerned about even more hair loss occurring in the future? Well, it’s great to be concerned. Awareness of the early signs of balding is essential for hair regrowth.
Heed The Signals of Hair Loss
Baldness doesn’t happen overnight. The signs happen over time, and they tend to follow a pattern. That’s why you may have heard the terms “male pattern hair loss” or “ female pattern hair loss.”
For some people, it can take a few years for substantial baldness to happen. For others, it may take decades. But by acting as soon as you notice the early signs of balding, the odds are on your side. So, what are the early signs of balding and hair shedding?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, here’s what you should look for:
1. Changes to the Hairline
One of the first changes you might experience is a receding hairline around the temples. But, this doesn’t necessarily lead to baldness. It’s actually common for men to develop a “mature hairline” with age. Meaning your hairline takes a slightly different shape or position.
2. Thinning of the Hair
Thinning on the top of the head is another potential early sign of baldness. You may notice more hairs on your pillow in the morning or on your clothes during the day. Your hair part might look a little wider, and the skin on your scalp may start to become more visible.
3. Substantial Hair Fall in the Shower
Are you losing hair in the shower or when you brush your hair? This can be another signal. A little hair shedding is normal, especially when you wash or brush your hair. But if you notice a change in this amount, take note. Substantial clumps of hair may also build up in the shower drain.
4. Circular Bald Spots on the Top of the Head
The center of the head is first to show patchy hair loss, eventually leaving a fringe of hair around the back and sides of your head.
Now, everyone loses around 50 to 100 scalp hairs from their head each day. These hairs grow back. But losing much more hair than this might be an early sign of baldness.1
Telogen Effluvium or Alopecia – What’s Causing my Hairline to Recede?
If you’re starting to experience some hair recession, it’s natural to wonder what’s causing it. The two major categories of hair loss can be broken into two factors – internal and external influences.
You should discuss these with your doctor in order to pinpoint what may be the case for you.
Alopecia means, quite simply, hair loss. There are several forms of alopecia, but the two major types are:
- Alopecia areata
- Androgenetic alopecia
Alopecia areata is loss of hair caused by an autoimmune condition. The body attacks its own hair follicles. This can happen at any age, even in small children.2 At its worst, it can advance to alopecia universalis – where hair loss affects the entire body.
Androgenetic alopecia is hair loss that appears to be caused by both genetics and an over-reactive response to the hormone androgen. This is the type of hair shedding related to male and female pattern baldness.3
Telogen effluvium is a reversible condition caused by stress or shock to the body. Stress causes the hair to be pushed into a resting state prematurely, where it stays trapped. Usually, the resting stage of the hair growth cycle (telogen) is around three months. But when this resting occurs outside of the normal growth cycle, hair starts to shed – sometimes dramatically.
Some suggested causes of telogen effluvium include:
- Severe illnesses
- Major surgeries
- Thyroid or hormone issues
- Sudden weight loss
- Severe psychological stress
- Medications that cause hair loss as a side effect also fall into this category.4
Can Male Pattern Hair Loss Be Reversed?
Is hair restoration possible? Well… yes! Which is why it’s important to talk to a professional early.
If a hair follicle is undamaged and complete it always has the potential to regrow hair and/or help support thinning hair in that follicle.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you’re interested in giving hair loss medication a try.
How is Finasteride Useful for Baldness?
Finasteride is an oral medication for hair loss prevention. It’s actually a prostate medication that was found to also work on hair loss. But, it’s not for everyone.
Finasteride works by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.
This means it can promote hair growth and prevent further hair loss. It works best when used for male pattern baldness, and it’s not as successful at helping minor receding of the hairline.6,7
This hair loss medication is FDA-approved for men but not for women. There have been mixed studies on whether it’s helpful for women. It is also dangerous for an unborn fetus. The most successful trials have been done in post-menopausal women.8,9
Other Hair Loss Therapies
If you’re dealing with thinning hair or baldness, scalp micropigmentation or hair transplants might be worth exploring. Keep in mind that they’re often more costly, time-consuming, and painful than other potential options.
Scalp micropigmentation is basically the tattooing of the scalp. Tattoo needles place tiny ink dots into the upper dermal layer of the skin to mimic the look of natural hair follicles.
This procedure can be great on a shaved head, as it gives the appearance of a closely shaved haircut. But it can also be used to help conceal a patchy scalp underneath longer hair. The average cost of scalp micropigmentation is around $2,000.10
Hair transplantation involves transplanting hair plugs or real hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another. It’s a form of surgery that requires anesthesia and recovery time. A hair transplant can also be costly, potentially reaching upwards of $10,000.11,12
What Other Things Can Help With Hair Loss?
Most types of hair loss aren’t preventable, but there are things you can do to help keep your hair from falling out faster.
- Be gentle when you wash your hair, and never brush wet hair. Use a wide-tooth comb.
- Avoid tight hairstyles, like tight braids, buns or ponytails. This in itself can cause hair loss, known as traction alopecia.
- Avoid unnecessary twisting or pulling on the hair.
- Limit the use of hair tools that can cause heat damage and hair breakage, like hot rollers, straightening, and curling irons.
- Protect your hair from damaging UV rays by wearing a hat in the sun.
Act Early, Fight Baldness, and Keep that Head of Hair
For both men and women, hair loss, thinning hair, receding hairlines, and baldness can be absolutely heartbreaking. But don’t assume that you’re completely powerless until you examine all of your options.
If you know there’s a history of hair loss in your family, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to discuss the best intervention methods today – even if you’re not experiencing hair loss yet.
No matter what type of hair loss you’re experiencing, the secret is to act early.
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