Marshall Evans is a licensed cosmetologist from Raleigh North Carolina. Marshall has a passion for educating his clients on hair loss and helping them select treatment methods. Marshall is a firm believer that Baldness is not inevitable or your fate. Marshall own's Parvati's Mirror, a boutique hair salon in Raleigh specializing in hair restoration.
Hair Loss is SCARY!
Nobody likes the idea of going bald. A healthy head of full hair is a sign of masculinity, virility, and power. Understanding WHY you are losing your hair and what you can do about it is one of the best ways to DEAL with it.
I hear a lot of fears and misconceptions from my clients. Hair loss can be permanent or temporary. Discovering the reason for your hair loss can be the beginning of a solution or a strategy for dealing with the loss if it can not be corrected.
Before you run off to just shave it all understand the types of hair loss and common causes. It may not be related to your mother's granddad or genetics at all.
Understanding How Hair Grows
Before we dive into hair loss it is important to understand how hair grows. Hair follicles have three distinct stages. Knowing these phases will help you determine if you are experiencing hair loss.
- Anagen Phase - This is when your hair is growing. The follicles are producing hair. A normal hair growth rates is 1/4" a month. Some people experience more or less.
- Catagen Phase - This is the resting phase of the hair follicle. Hair isn't growing anymore.
- Telogen Phase - This is the shedding phase. This is when your hair follicle releases the hair and it falls out. Normal hair loss is 100-200 strands a day. The higher your density the more daily loss you will see.
So now that we know the phases of hair loss, it is important to realize that certain things can cause the telogen and catagen phases to last a long time or activate on more hair follicles than normal.
Causes of hair growth phase disruptions:
- Hormonal Changes - The use of steroids, thyroid problems, low testosterone, higher than normal testosterone, or other hormonal imbalances can cause disruptions.
- Trauma The most common form of trauma that results in pre-mature hair loss and growth cycle disruption is anesthesia. It is a common side effect.
Common Types of Hair Loss in Men
Androgenetic Alopecia is normally characterized by thinning throughout the hair. In Men there are distinct patterns. This form of hair loss can be caused by DHT, one of the precursors to testosterone. Too much DHT in the system will cause hair follicles to shrink and then stop producing hair. If caught early and corrected the hair follicle can recover. A dermatologist who specializes in hair loss is a great place to start if you are experiencing this form of hair loss.
This type of hair loss is normally temporary and follows a trauma to the body. This can include surgery, anesthesia, and extreme stress. There is a sudden shift of hair follicles to the telogen phase. Remember this is the shedding phase. Your follicles will normally recover over the course of a few months. Minimize stress as much as possible and stimulate the scalp daily.
This form of hair loss is when 90% of more of the hair follicles enter the telogen phase and suddenly stop growing. The most common cause of anagen effluvium is chemotherapy. Follicles normally recover after chemotherapy although you may experience changes in hair texture and curl pattern.
This form of hair loss occurs from the overuse of tight hair styling. It is an uncommon form of hair loss in men. Hairstyles can include braids, cornrows, and other styles that rely on the hair being pulled tightly. If caught early this can be corrected by wearing a more relaxed style. Prolonged tension will cause the follicles to die. This is normally seen around the perimeter of the hair first.
Scalp Health and Hair Loss - Very Common in Men
Let's be honest. Most men don't have the best skin care routines. Your scalp is indeed skin, it just happens to be covered in hair. Many men use the cheapest shampoo they can find or none at all. I've even had clients tell me they use bar soap. Don't do that!
Occlusion of the Hair Follicle
This is the most common form of hair loss that a cosmetologist can help you with. Occlusion of the hair follicle is caused by the buildup of skin cells, sebum (the mixture of oil and sweat on the skin), cosmetics, and product buildup. This occlusion causes the hair to grow from the follicle with a damaged structure which results in breakage. Eventually the follicle will stop producing hair. If the cause of the occlusion is rectified within a few months the follicle will resume normal hair production.
Men can treat this buy using a HIGH QUALITY salon purchased shampoo specifically designed for cleansing a man's scalp. NEVER BUY SALON HAIR PRODUCTS ON AMAZON THEY ARE LIKELY EXPIRED OR FAKE.
I also recommend the use of a plastic scrubbing device like THIS ONE on Amazon.
Occlusion of the Hair Follicle
Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness is very common in men. The age of onset for Male Pattern Baldness can be as early as the teenage years or as late as your mid-forties. If you have made it without major male pattern baldness by 50 you are unlikely to experience this type of hair loss.
This type of hair loss, also know as a receding hairline, usually starts at the hairline or temples.
Treatment can include hormone treatments, Rogaine, hair pieces, or hair transplants.
I do not recommend the use of Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) due the possibility of permanent sexual side effects. In this guy's opinion a head of hair is just not worth it when there are other options available.
Hair Loss in the Crown
Hair loss in the crown of the head is often a result of poor scalp health as stated above. I recommend starting with a good scalp routine before moving on to more drastic measures. Reviving the hair follicles within 2 years is vital to their return to hair production.
So what can you do about Hair Loss?
Start by seeing a doctor to determine the type of hair loss you are experiencing. Discuss your treatment options. I always recommend you go with the less invasive treatments first to see what can be done without the risks of surgery.
If you have suffered complete hair loss or only have hair around the very back and side of your head your best option is likely to be hair replacement. Today's hair pieces are vastly different from the toupee's of the past that are the butt of so many jokes. Lace front hair pieces are extremely common and worn by many male celebrities and you don't even know it.
If you are interested in a hair piece, reach out to a licensed cosmetologist who specializes in this type of hair replacement in men. An independent stylist or salon will be vastly cheaper than companies like Hair Club for Men or Bosly.
Take Care of Your Scalp
Massage and cleanse your scalp on a regular basis. Daily massage of the scalp stimulates blood flow and brings vital nutrients to the scalp. Use a salon purchased men's hair care line (or other product at the direction of your cosmetologist).
Research shows that smoking can contribute to hair loss and premature graying in men.
Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables including tons of protein
Get a balance diet. Eat lots of vegetables. Vitamins are an essential part of healthy hair growth. Additionally men should attempt to get 80 grams of protein a day with no more than 30 grams per meal. Hair is made of a protein called Keratin. If you have the amino acids that make the building blocks of protein you'll make more hair, as well as muscle!
Get a Checkup
Some diseases like lupus, diabetes, thyroid problems, and cancer can result in rapid hair loss. If you suddenly experience an acceleration in hair loss it is even more vital to get a checkup and have blood work done. Check with your doctor to make sure you aren't using a medication that has hair loss as a side effect. This can include many blood thinners, psychiatric medications, heart medications and more. Never stop a medication without discussing it with your doctor.
The Take Away
Modern medicine and cosmetology have come up with some very advanced ways of dealing with Hair Loss. You have a responsibility to yourself to treat your scalp and hair well and to research the options you have for maintaining your hair. Discover what is causing your hair loss, make a plan, and seek treatment. New Technologies are showing up all the time so be on the lookout for the next innovation. There is hope!