Now that former Westlife singer Brian McFadden is nudging 40, he is entering a period of his life in which it wouldn't be at all uncommon for a man to start experiencing hair loss
In fact, around half of men will lose hair to Male Pattern Baldness
before their 50th birthday, meaning that those in their 40s who still have all their locks can count themselves amongst the lucky ones. Especially as men's hair loss can technically begin any time following puberty and is becoming increasingly common
in twenty-somethings, with stress
and lifestyle issues known to accelerate its onset.
McFadden, who at 37 has publicly admitted that he has been losing his hair for several years, explains in an Instagram post that his hairline was thinning and receding due to his lifestyle and the "general stresses that we go through in life."
The twice-divorced father of two adds that this has caused him to become very self-conscious and uncomfortable. So he decided to do something about it.
Millions of men in their 30s and 40s (and sometimes even younger) find themselves in a similar predicament; initial shedding caused by Male Pattern Baldness typically takes place over a period of several years and men often find their appearance is depressingly different to what it once was.
One way to deal with genetic hair thinning is to try and address the biological reasons
Androgenetic alopecia - the medical term for male and female pattern baldness - occurs in individuals with an inherited sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT
) and only affects the top of the scalp, from crown to hairline. Contrary to popular myths, the relevant 'balding genes' can be passed on from either the maternal or paternal side of the family, or even both despite recent research suggesting they may actually be more likely to come from the father
DHT binds to the follicles in the susceptible areas, shrinking and gradually destroying them. This process - known as follicular miniaturisation - leads to increasingly finer hairs being produced, as well as causing hair loss. This is why the outwardly visible sign of male pattern hairloss is thinning hair and, eventually, can lead to baldness.
There are currently only two clinically-proven, pharmaceutical treatments for male pattern baldness
licensed by the UK's, and approved by the USA's medical regulatory boards, the MHRA and FDA respectively: finasteride 1mg and minoxidil.
The first of these, finasteride 1mg
- a one-a-day tablet - is a DHT blocker which is only available to medically-suitable men aged 18 years and over. It inhibits the formation of this testosterone-byproduct, allowing hair to grow relatively unhindered.
In addition, various formulations of high strength minoxidil
which are applied topically to the scalp, can help to accelerate hair growth. This has been found to be of particular benefit when treating stubborn areas of hairloss, such as a receding hairline
given the temple areas are the slowest to regrow hair.
Further hair growth supporting products
can be used in tandem with either or both of these oral and topical remedies. They include a range of options from low-level light therapy (LLLT
) to nutritional support food supplements.
Belgravia's hair experts have, in fact, developed a premium food supplement called Hair Vitalics which is available to both clients and non-clients.
This contains a highly-targeted proprietary blend of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals which, whilst not intended to replace a balanced diet, can be a convenient way to top up, and includes biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
McFadden, however, chose an alternative route by having a hair transplant
procedure which, it turns out, was performed by an old school friend of his named Simon.
In a six-hour procedure, thousands of hairs were taken from the back of the singer's shaved scalp and re-implanted in his frontal hairline. Photographs the Irishman posted to Instagram paint a painfully vivid picture of just what goes on during this type of operation.
When people choose a surgical hair restoration route they usually find that the transplanted hair does not grow back straight away; it typically falls out
initially before growing back healthier, with results typically being seen after around 12 to 18 months.
Whilst the visible lumpy redness that goes hand-in-hand with the operation should not last much longer than a week or so, a significant downside of a transplant is that unless you can hide yourself away for this period there is no getting around the fact that everybody will know you have had it done. Especially when it is necessary for all or part of the head to be shaven in order to harvest the donor hairs from areas of the scalp - typically around the back and/or sides of the scalp - which are not sensitive to the effects of DHT. Non-surgical hair loss treatment, however, bears more gradual fruit, and can be undertaken without having to shout about it.