It will come as a breath of fresh air for parents to know that hair loss isn’t all just down to genes. Study findings from 2009 suggest that, the next time you experience hair loss, you may want to give your folks a break and take a closer look at your lifestyle.
Research conducted by scientists at Queen Mary's University in London, England, has linked male pattern hair loss to increased levels of environmental pollution and the damaging effect of smoking. Genetic factors play the largest role in male pattern hair loss, but men who live in heavily polluted areas may experience hairloss sooner or more dramatically than those in less polluted areas.
Air pollution and cigarette smoke
The research showed that various toxins, chemicals and carcinogens found in polluted air and tobacco smoke can damage keratins, the basic protein molecules that form the hair structure. As a result, hair becomes weak and brittle, hair growth begins to slow and the health of hair follicles and scalp tissues is heavily compromised.
“We think any pollutant that can get into the bloodstream or into the skin and into the hair follicle could cause some stress to it and impair the ability of hair to make a fibre,” researcher Mike Phillpott from the school of medicine at Queen Mary University of London said.
“If you stop smoking or live in an area with less air pollution, you may be less predisposed to hair loss,” he said. "There is an inherited basis to hair loss, but we have now identified environmental factors that are important too."
Researchers plan to conduct further tests to pinpoint precise factors which may cause baldness, including trying to grow hair in different environments that are rich in nicotine and other pollutants found in air.
Belgravia Centre senior hair loss specialist, Leonora Doclis says even if these factors are not a direct cause of hair loss, they could trigger the onset or accelerate the process of male pattern hair loss. “There’s always been this debate but ultimately, if something’s bad for your health, it’s going to be bad for your hair.”
Genetic hair loss
Male pattern hair loss, otherwise known as androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness, usually develops gradually, typically starting with the appearance of a thinning crown and/or thinning of the vertex or temples, forming a receding hairline. The condition affects men 80 per cent men from puberty up to the age of 70 with about two thirds of cases evident by the age of 45.
There are presently only two MHRA licensed and FDA approved, clinically-proven treatments for hair loss, and these help to inhibit the formation of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) - which causes thinning hair in the susceptible areas of the scalp by way of follicular miniaturisation - and increase localised blood flow, providing a good stream of nutrients and oxygen to promote hair growth.
These can be used individually or in tandem, and - either way - additional hair growth supporting products can also be added in to custom hair regimens and used alongside the primary treatments.
To find out which approach may be best for addressing your hair loss and preventing baldness, speak to a professional specialist. They will be able to diagnose your condition and offer informed hair loss advice plus treatment options based on your pattern of shedding, medical suitability and lifestyle.