Question: My hair has gradually been thinning out for five or six years now and I’m wondering if I’ve left it too long to get help. When it comes to treatment, is there a ‘point of no return’ after which there’s little hope?
Answer: Hi Martin. There is a ‘point of no return’, but first of all it’s worth explaining that when people say they “wish they’d started sooner” when talking about their hair loss treatment programme, what they usually mean is that they have been so pleased with the results that they wish they’d taken the initiative sooner and not spent so long with thinning hair. They’re not generally stating that they think the results would have been better had they started sooner.
That said, it is certainly true that to maximise your chances of stopping hair loss associated with Male Pattern Baldness, the quicker you act the less catching up your hair will need to do!
In a nutshell, people with MPB are losing their hair because their body is producing something called DHT, which is a by-product of the hormone testosterone. If you have a genetic tendency to hair loss (ie, someone on your mum or dad’s side of the family passed it down to you), this DHT can attach itself to hair follicles, deny them the nourishment they need, and cause them to shrink. This leads to thinning hair which will fall out if left untreated.
The UK’s MHRA and the FDA in America has licensed two treatments for MPB: one, Finasteride 1mg, has been proven to inhibit the formation of DHT – and in many cases this then leads to a cessation or reduction in the volume of hair falling out. The other is called Minoxidil which stimulates the blood supply to the areas that it is applied to, increasing the nutrients that are delivered to the hair follicles, promoting regrowth. The two complement each other exceptionally well.
You will see on many websites, including this one, that hairloss experts recommend that the earlier you start your treatment for MPB, the better. It stands to reason that significant regrowth results are more likely to be seen while you still have something to work with (so to speak). One way to think of it is like a garden lawn: a slightly sparse lawn will benefit greatly from a sprinkling of seed and some lawn treatment. To get a lush lawn from a patch of almost-bare earth is a much bigger challenge!
The ‘point of no return’ comes when a person becomes truly bald as their hair follicles die and scar over – as evidenced by scalp skin becoming shiny.
If there is a small amount of hair still growing – no matter how short and wispy – there’s a chance that a hair loss treatment programme can stop further hair loss and regrow healthy hair, as it means the hair follicles are still active and open to stimulation. However, once these follicles die, there is nothing for the treatments to stimulate.
By way of example, you will find many case studies showing how many men with severe hair loss have seen promising regrowth from treatment in our Hair Loss Success Stories.
It can be hard to tell which level you have reached by yourself, particularly in cases like Jose’s (pictured) where the thinning is advanced but has not yet got to the balding stage, so it’s worthwhile consulting a hair loss specialist. They are trained to make a professional diagnosis and provide personalised advice regarding how likely success from a treatment plan may be for you, as well as recommending a bespoke mix of hair loss treatments and hair growth boosters suited to your specific needs.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.