In Celebration Of International Men’s Day, We Talk About Hair Loss In Men – A Comprehensive Guide

Written by Rali Bozhinova, Superintendent Trichologist, The Belgravia Centre

This weekend we marked International Men’s Day. We celebrate the important men and boys in our lives, and promote awareness about their health and well-being! At The Belgravia Centre, we see more and more men concerned about their hair which often affects their mental health. So, we chose the occasion to talk about hair loss in men and provide a comprehensive guide on how to deal with it.

 

Hair Myths

Firstly, let’s debunk the most common hair myths that many men ask us about:

Myth 1: Shampooing Causes Hair Loss

Did you read online that shampooing damages your hair, that it strips it from its natural oils, that your hair can clean itself so you don’t need to shampoo it, and that the more you shampoo it, the oilier it gets? Well, this is not entirely true.

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You have thousands of sebaceous glands attached to your hair follicles on your scalp that produce sebum – the oil on your scalp. Sebum is important for lubricating your hair during growth, and it also helps your skin to stay healthy. Some people produce more sebum than others and as a result, they have an oilier scalp. However, the sebum production wouldn’t be significantly affected by your shampooing frequency and as convenient as it sounds, your hair cannot clean itself. In fact, if you stop shampooing, sebum can start building up on your scalp and can lead to a number of problems such as itching, inflammation, flaky scalp, and sometimes – more hair loss.

It is true that when you use shampoo, you will cleanse your scalp and remove any sebum however, your sebaceous glands will produce more of it. If you feel that your hair is dry, you can always use conditioner to hydrate it. It is vital that you shampoo regularly and remove any build-up of sebum, sweat, styling products, and general dust and pollution from your environment. There isn’t any universal shampoo frequency that is recommended for everyone –you should adapt your shampoo frequency based on your needs, lifestyle, and hair type.

If you feel that your scalp gets greasy on the day after you’ve shampooed it, then daily shampooing would be best. If you work in a dusty environment or you wear hair wax daily, you may also benefit from daily shampooing. On the other hand, if your scalp is more on the dry side, and there are no styling products or dirt on your scalp, you may shampoo your hair less frequently.

Just remember that a healthy scalp is vital for healthy hair and you should definitely shampoo on a regular basis.

Myth 2: Masturbation Causes Hair Loss

Believe it or not, this is a frequently asked question and something that many men ask. There are two main reasons behind this question – the loss of protein in the seminal fluid, and the rise in testosterone during masturbation.

Your hair is made of protein, just like your skin and nails. Protein is also important for your muscles, and tendons, the make-up of many enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters.  Your body makes protein from amino acids that you consume daily as part of your diet. It is true that there is a small amount of protein in your seminal fluid which you lose during masturbation. However, this is too insignificant to have any impact on your hair.

As far as testosterone goes, many men are aware that the most common type of hair loss in men is male pattern hair loss, caused by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone – a metabolite of testosterone. During masturbation, testosterone may naturally rise but this is only briefly and it then returns to normal. This short-lived change in testosterone will have no impact on your hair growth cycle and it won’t be enough to cause hair loss.

To set things straight – masturbation does not cause hair loss.

Myth 3: Exercising Causes Hair Loss

Similarly to the masturbation myth, many men are concerned that exercising increases their testosterone levels and as a result, causes more hair loss. However, this would depend on the type of exercise – for example, resistance training would be more likely to increase testosterone levels than cardio training.

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It is important to note that exercising has so many benefits that they outweigh any concerns about hair loss. There is no evidence that exercising can change testosterone to any harmful level or that it would lead to hair loss. Exercising will promote better mental health, more efficient blood circulation, healthier metabolism, and can even help you keep your hormones within healthier levels. You should never avoid exercising because of hair loss concerns as it will bring you more benefits than harm.

If you are exercising heavily, losing weight, or changing your diet, you should always consult with your doctor and consider having a blood test to ensure that you are not lacking any important vitamins and minerals from your diet.

Myth 4: Styling Products Cause Hair Loss

This is not entirely true although everything should be used in moderation. If you are concerned about using a small amount of wax, clay or gel before you leave the house, you should rest assured that this is unlikely to have any negative impact on your hair. Just remember to shampoo regularly and remove any build-up of styling products from your hair. More serious hair styling such as heat-styling, bleach, perms, heavy locks or tight braids can lead to breakage and in some cases, hair loss.

Myth 5: Taking Creatine Causes Hair Loss

This belief comes from a study published in 2009 in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. The study investigated the changes in the male sex hormones, also called androgens, after 3 weeks of creatine supplementation in male rugby players. The researchers found that the levels of dihydrotestosterone hormone increased by 56% after 7 days of 25g creatine supplementation, and remained 40% above the baseline after 14 days of 5g creatine supplementation.

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Dihydrotestosterone is a commonly discussed hormone when it comes to hair loss in men. It makes the hair follicles around the hairline and the top of the scalp become smaller and weaker over time, leading to male pattern hair loss, provided that they have inherited the condition.

The above-mentioned study didn’t evaluate the hair changes in the rugby players, and it also didn’t differentiate between their hormonal changes as a result of their strict vigorous exercise routine and the hormonal changes caused by the creatine supplementation alone. Most people wouldn’t have the same exercising routine as the young rugby players involved in the study.

Additionally, there have been other studies investigating the effects of creatine supplementation on the male sex hormones and the above-mentioned results haven’t been replicated. Some studies didn’t find any significant changes in free testosterone which is the hormone that the body uses to produce dihydrotestosterone.

So far, there hasn’t been any evidence that taking creatine leads to hair loss and it is important to remember that male pattern hair loss develops when there is also a genetic predisposition to it. Having said this, all supplements should be taken in moderation and you should never overuse the recommended amount of any product.

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Myth 6: Wearing Hats And Helmets Causes Hair Loss

This can be true, depending on the hat and helmet. Normally there is no reason for hats and helmets to cause hair loss. However, if they feel too tight, if they are rubbing against your hair, or tugging on your hair, you may notice hair loss as a result. This is called traction alopecia and you can prevent it by changing your hat or helmet and ensuring that they are the right size for you.

Myth 7: Hair Loss Comes From Your Mum’s Family

We used to think that hair loss can only be inherited from your maternal side of the family. However, we now know that there are several genes involved in hair loss, and there could be many more that haven’t been identified. It is possible to inherit hair loss from either side of your family. Additionally, family members can be carriers of those genes without necessarily developing hair loss. You may think that your grandfather’s hair loss does not count because it started later in life. However, age in this case is not so important – genetic hair loss, also called male pattern hair loss, can start at any age after puberty. Various lifestyle factors can trigger it and influence its severity and progression over time. Just because your granddad had a full head of hair in his 20s, does not guarantee that your hair will behave in the same way.

Common Signs Of Hair Loss In Men

Now that we ruled out some common misconceptions about hair loss, we can focus on the facts. Here is a list of some of the most common signs that men see when they start losing hair:

  • The corners of your temples may look thinner
  • Your fringe area may feel flatter
  • You may notice receding hairline
  • Your crown may be thinner
  • Your crown may sunburn quicker
  • Someone else may comment that your crown is losing hair
  • You may see your scalp through your hair
  • The hair on top of your scalp may feel thin
  • You may notice more hair loss in the shower
  • You may lose more hair while you are styling it
  • You may find hair on your pillow
  • Your hair at the back may be thicker compared to the rest

Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss is the most common type of hair loss in men. We see this every day in the clinic and chances are that you see it every day, too among your family, friends, and colleagues.

It is a genetic type of hair loss although you may not always see it in your immediate family members. It can start at a very young age – just after puberty. This is when your hormones change, and your androgens peak.

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Testosterone converts into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the presence of 5-alpha reductase enzyme. Interestingly, this enzyme can be found in various concentrations in different parts of your body. For example, if you are genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss, you may have more 5-alpha reductase enzyme in your scalp. The genetically predisposed hair follicles will also have androgen receptors. As a result, more DHT will be converted in the scalp and this will then attach itself to the androgen receptors in the hair follicles.

This process leads to many changes in your hair follicles including smaller and weaker follicles that produce thinner and shorter hair over time. The hair cycle of the affected follicles becomes shorter, too. As a result, the hair would fall out quicker and the follicles may remain without hair for longer.

When your follicles are still strong and healthy, they are capable of holding multiple hair strands in each follicle. However, when they shrink, they often hold a single hair strand, gradually reducing your hair density. In the long term, these follicles can disappear, leaving permanent hair loss. For this reason, it is always best to treat male pattern hair loss early.

Here are some commonly asked questions when it comes to treating male pattern hair loss:

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

Regardless of the type of treatment used, the time that it takes to see results always depends on your hair growth cycle. For the average patient, it takes 3-6 months to see the initial results, further results are usually seen in the months after that. It can take a year, sometimes slightly longer, to see the maximum possible regrowth from the treatment. Our hair regrowth photo gallery shows hundreds of patients using our treatments for male pattern hair loss and you can filter the results to find a similar case to you.

What Happens After One Year?

As long as the treatment is going well, it is important to continue using it after one year. This helps to maintain the results and help the hair grow to its optimal potential.

What Happens If I Stop The Treatment?

In the case of male pattern hair loss, it is important to use ongoing treatment, regardless of the type of treatment used. Male pattern hair loss is naturally progressive over time which means that it can deteriorate if left untreated. Stopping treatment means that you stop stimulating the hair follicles. As a result, the hair loss will resume in the same way you would have experienced it without treatment.

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Will I Be Monitored?

Absolutely yes, regular monitoring is important while you are treating your hair. Our specialists will take standardised photos of your hair every 3 months which will help you track your progress in future. If you are having online check-ups, our specialists will guide you through each step of the treatment and will explain how to take photos by yourself. Additionally, you can contact our specialists 7 days a week should you have any questions or concerns – they are always ready to check your hair, and give you advice or tips on how to optimise your hair growth.

What If My Medical History Changes?

You can contact our team of hair loss specialists any day of the week. You should always inform them if your medical history changes and they will advise you on what to do next.

Will I Lose More Hair At The Start?

It is normal if you still see hair loss at the start as it can take 3-6 months before you see the initial results. It is also possible to see increased hair shedding at any point in the first 3 months, although not everyone notices this. It is a completely normal process and not a side effect. Any old and weak hair that is ready to come out will be pushed out quicker by the new stronger hair.

What Treatments Can I Use?

The only two medically proven treatments for male pattern hair loss are minoxidil and finasteride.

Minoxidil increases the blood supply, which increases the nutrients delivered to the hair follicles and prevents shrinkage of the follicles, resulting in the prevention of hair loss and regrowth of the hair in many cases. It helps to keep the hair follicles growing hair for longer and stay bigger and stronger. Minoxidil is used topically and is available in various preparations, strengths and added ingredients to optimise its effects. Your hair loss specialist will help you find the most suitable preparation for you and tailor your treatment recommendations based on your medical history, lifestyle, and severity of hair loss.

Finasteride can be used in oral or topical form. It works by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and therefore, significantly reducing the production of dihydrotestosterone. As a result, the hair follicles stop miniaturising and are encouraged to grow stronger hair in most cases.

Hair Vitalics Boxes with Shadow Men and Women (Small)

Hair Vitalics for men is a comprehensive food supplement that combines important vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts to support the health of the hair. Biotin, zinc, and selenium are key ingredients for the maintenance of healthy hair growth, and saw palmetto extract has been found to inhibit the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.

Low level laser light therapy, such as HairMax LaserBand, is used at home or in the clinic to help increase blood circulation and promote stronger hair growth.

Will I Experience Side Effects?

Hair loss treatments are usually well tolerated but just like any other medication, there is a small risk of side effects. These are always discussed during your consultation and they are also listed on the patient information leaflet that is given with each medication. It is impossible to know in advance if you will experience any adverse reaction however, our specialists are trained to screen your medical history and scalp condition so they can advise you on suitable and safe treatment options for you. They will also explain how to measure your medication and introduce it gradually at the start to minimise your chances of irritation.  

Like all medicines, minoxidil can have side effects, although these don’t affect everyone and are usually mild. All side effects are unlikely, some extremely unlikely, and should wear off after the user stops taking the medication. In many cases, mild side effects can also be manageable by changing the dose or ingredients in your minoxidil preparations. Your specialist will always help you with this, should you require any assistance throughout your treatment.

Similarly, finasteride can also cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Some of the side effects are temporary with continued treatment. As the half-life of finasteride is very short, side effects usually disappear shortly after treatment is stopped, rarely some side effects may persist for longer. Topical finasteride has reduced systemic absorption and studies show a lower risk of experiencing side effects. Our specialists always take any reports of side effects seriously and if you experience any adverse reaction, you should report this to your specialist so they can advise you on what to do next.

Do I Have To Change My Daily Routine While Using Hair Loss Medication?

Not necessarily. Your specialist will be happy to discuss your schedule and give you tips on how to use your treatment as part of your routine. Your treatments can be tailored to your specific needs.

 

I’d Like To Discuss Treatments, How Do I Start?

This couldn’t be simpler, just follow these steps depending on your situation:

If you just want to ask a question:

If you would like to book a free consultation at our Central London clinic:

If you would like to have an online consultation:

  • Complete an online consultation form – this will take you 5-10 minutes
  • We will get in touch with you on the same or next day and help you book a Zoom consultation with a hair loss specialist
  • We can post your medication to most parts of the world
Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Launches Success Stories Before and After Photo Gallery with Results You Can Search

If you have noticed signs of hair loss, it is always best to address this early – it is easier to treat and the results are likely to be better. Take a look through our hair regrowth photo gallery – which is the largest gallery of its kind in the world and contains over 1,000 sets of hair growth photos and verified reviews from patients of The Belgravia Centre.

You can arrange a free consultation in our Central London clinic with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world and we will talk to you on Zoom. Your hair loss specialist will guide you through the treatment process and will monitor your progress regularly to help you achieve optimal results from your treatment plan. Our qualified hair loss specialists have extensive experience in treating hair loss conditions, and they are available 7 days a week to support our patients with their high level of expertise.

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The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.

View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.

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