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 behind it.
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, though recent research suggests 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, often baldness.
There are currently only two clinically-proven, pharmaceutical treatments for male pattern baldness approved by the UK and US medical regulatory boards, the MHRA and FDA: 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, addressing the condition from a biological standpoint, allowing hair to grow relatively unhindered.
In addition, and often used alongside finasteride as part of a combination treatment course designed to prevent hair loss and promote regrowth, is the topical drug minoxidil. Belgravia male pattern baldness clients are recommended appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil suited to their specific concerns, in order to help accelerate localised 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 non-medicinal hair growth boosters are frequently used in tandem with these oral and topical remedies and include a range of options from low-level light therapy (LLLT) to nutritional support supplements. Belgravia’s hair experts have, in fact, developed a premium food supplement for healthy hair growth 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. Furthermore, Hair Vitalics for Men also contains an ingredient called saw palmetto – something not ordinarily found in the average diet – which has been shown to lower levels of DHT in the bloodstream.
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.
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.