In the UK, it is estimated that 6.5 million men experience male pattern hair loss, which is genetics and most commonly follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.
Mens Hair Loss – Whether that be yourself, your mate, or your partner affected, it can be a difficult time. Noticing hair loss or feeling generally unhappy with your hair can have a major impact on both confidence and mental health and whether it’s those that have come to terms with it or those that have done something to try and rectify it, there seems to be a minefield of differing advice with little open discussion.
Many men struggle to talk openly about their health concerns. Dr Knut Moe, practising GP and Medical Director of men’s health and hair loss treatment service Sons, notices men between the ages of 18-40 are especially slow to visit doctors to discuss their concerns or get regular health check ups. With a huge disparity between women’s health discussions and men’s, Dr Knut has seen a growing number of men concerned about hair loss and struggling to talk.
Despite the stigma surrounding hair loss, the global hair loss market is on the rise, estimated to go from 1.6billion dollars in 2017 to almost 2billion by 2022, meaning that millions of men, and women, are trying to tackle their concerns about their hair. Shampoos and tablets, as well as transplants, can all help to rectify hair loss and give thicker feeling hair and Dr Moe has shared his top 5 tips to try out first, before choosing treatment, or as aftercare.
Looking after your diet
It’s always important to watch what you eat for good health, but certain foods can help promote hair growth. Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, which promote hair growth. Berries and fruit such as blackcurrants, blueberries, strawberries and foods high in Vitamin C also help by promoting collagen production which strengthens blood flow to hair follicles. Other foods than can also help include spinach, fatty fish, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds.
Regular exercise and routine rest
As well as diet, regular exercise and ensuring that you get enough sleep is important. Exercise improves circulation and blood flow, which ensures that the body’s nutrients reach hair follicles. However, it’s important to get the right balance as there are theories that too much exercise can increase testosterone, which in turn can increase DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss. Sleep and melatonin (the sleep hormone) are important for protein synthesis in hair so ensuring you get enough sleep is vital. Another benefit of exercise and getting sufficient sleep is the positive effect they have on mental health – hair loss can be accelerated by stress (known as ‘shock loss’), so ensuring to look after your mental health and reduce stress levels can reduce stress on your hair.
Washing your hair
It’s a common misconception that washing your hair causes hair loss, with many refraining from washing ‘too often’ just in case this is true. If you are noticing hair falling out from washing, you are likely just dislodging hairs that are ready to fall out due to male pattern hair loss, with combing and running your hands through your hair also having the same effect. It can be useful to try shampoos that improve the quality, those containing essential oils and nutrients including – Argan oil, iron, Vitamin B3/Niacin, Amla Oil, Sage Oil, Rosemary and Saw Palmetto, which is a natural plant-based ingredient with a host of other health benefits. Research has shown that saw palmetto helps to protect the tissues in the prostate from the attack of damaging illnesses such as cancer, reduce inflammation and can even boost testosterone and subsequently, sex drive.
Building a relationship with a good barber
We’re all one dodgy haircut away from our hair looking a disaster – it’s good to get a decent barber that you trust, build a relationship with and that can work with you to make sure you get the best out of your hairstyle to maximise the hair you have. It’s worth investing a little in going to a good barber who knows what they’re doing and can help you make decisions on what’s best for your hair. If you feel comfortable, explain to friends that you’ve felt selfconscious, and ask for recommendations.
Seek advice early
It’s always going to be easier to maintain the hair you have, than regain hair you have lost, meaning that a strong haircare routine is an important first step when caring for your hair. If you do decide your hair loss is a problem for you don’t rush into anything, research the solutions and discuss with a professional to find out what is best for your hair right now. The proven medical treatments to treat male pattern hair loss are Minoxidil (a daily scalp application) and Finasteride (a daily tablet) – these are effective in 90% of people who take them.
Getting sound medical advice if you have concerns is paramount, especially before doing anything that could irreversibly damage your natural hair and leave visible scarring, such as a hair transplant or scalp micro pigmentation (which effectively tattoos pigment onto your scalp). If surgery is the route you want to go down, choose a reputable clinic with a track record of quality hair transplants.