How To Tell If You Are Losing Your Hair
Author: Anabel Kingsley, Brand President Published: March 2022
How can you tell if you are losing your hair? The most common cause of hair thinning and hair loss in men is Male Pattern Hair Loss, also known as androgenic alopecia, a chronic progressive condition that affects 80% of men1. The earliest signs may include recession of the frontal hairline, thinning at the temples and increased scalp visibility through the hair. Male Pattern Hair Loss does not typically present as increased hair shedding, so you will most likely not notice any more hair than normal falling out in the shower or on your pillow. This is because the hair follicle changes associated with Male Pattern Hair Loss take place slowly, with a gradual change in the length and the diameter of hairs produced from hair follicles in the thinning areas.
While it is not possible to prevent hair loss before it appears, starting Minoxidil and/or Finasteride at the earliest point will provide a better chance of retaining as much hair as possible.
What Are the Signs You Are Losing Your Hair?
There are many different types of hair loss, but you’re most likely to notice symptoms of either reduced hair volume (known as Male Pattern Hair Loss) or excessive daily hair fall (telogen effluvium). Hair thinning is a gradual process, so it will have been happening for quite some time before becoming noticeable to you. It is best to seek advice from a Trichologist if you suspect you are experiencing hair thinning, as the earlier you begin treatment, the more hair you are likely to retain.
Male Pattern Hair Loss does not typically present as increased hair shedding, so you will most likely not notice any more hair than usual falling out in the shower or on your pillow for example. This is because the hair follicle changes associated with Male Pattern Hair Loss take place slowly, with a gradual change in the length and the diameter of hairs produced from hair follicles in the thinning areas. Over several years this leads to a reduction in the diameter of your individual hair strands, and a loss of hair length. In other words, your hair is growing back slightly thinner and shorter with each hair growth cycle. Eventually hair follicles can become so small they stop producing hair altogether.
Early signs include:
- Recession of your frontal hairline
- Thinning at your temples
- Increased scalp visibility through your hair, for example at the top and/or crown regions
- Hair looks thinner in certain lights
- Difficulty growing your hair as long as you used to in the top region of your scalp
The extent of hair loss caused by Male Pattern Hair Loss varies widely. You may eventually experience any or all of the following:
- A slightly receding hairline
- Advanced receding of the frontal hairline
- A thinning crown
- An overall reduction in thickness
- Very thin hair
- A ‘horseshoe’ of hair that grows around your scalp from ear to ear
Can I Prevent Hair Loss?
Starting Minoxidil and/or Finasteride at an early stage in hair thinning will provide a better chance of retaining as much hair as possible, despite it being impossible to prevent before it starts. Since Male Pattern Hair Loss is genetic, factors such as diet are unlikely to play a direct role, though a healthy diet, spanning all the food groups, along with an adequate protein intake, will help to optimise hair quality and prevent excess hair shedding.
When Should I See a Specialist?
If you are losing your hair but the appearance does not correlate with the symptoms of Male
Pattern Hair Loss, you should seek advice from a professional to gain a correct diagnosis. Indications you may be suffering from an alternative form of hair loss, include:
- Asymmetrical hair loss
- A painful scalp
- Irregular bald patches
- Significantly increased hair shedding
Some rarer types of hair loss can cause permanent destruction of hair follicles, so early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is imperative.
It should be noted that a slight raising of the hairline at the temples — sometimes referred to as the M-shaped, or ‘mature’ hairline — is completely normal for men in their late teens or early twenties, and does not necessarily point towards the onset of Male Pattern Hair Loss. Something else to consider is that hair grows in a cycle, so shedding some hair every day is also normal. Each hair follicle goes through periods of actively growing a hair, resting and then shedding the hair before the cycle begins again — we can shed 80-100 strands per day, with an average of 100,000-120,000 follicles on the scalp! However, if you do notice a change in your normal amount of hair shedding, it may be advisable to seek professional advice, as this can sometimes indicate an underlying problem, such as a nutritional deficiency.
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