Why do men go bald?
Baldness in men at a young age is common these days.
You might be wondering why the majority of men are going bald?
Well, there are many reasons for the same, let's talk about each one in detail.
Male pattern hair loss which is also known as androgenic alopecia is a genetically inherited disorder that means if your father or grandfather has an issue of hair loss then there are more chances of you experiencing the same. The most important chemical or hormone implicated in the male pattern hair loss is DIHYDROTESTOSTERONE. DHT or dihydrotestosterone is an active form of testosterone. Testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone with the help of enzyme 5-alpha reductase. It has been found that apart from its deleterious effects on prostate in old age, DHT also causes thinning of hair and consequently hair loss.
Well, although androgenic alopecia cannot be cured, but we have few treatment options that may help to slow it down.
Finasteride is one such drug which helps to cope up with it. Well, it's a DHT blocker and works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase enzyme and hence inhibiting the formation of DHT.
Although finasteride works well, there can be few unfavourable side effects linked with it. There may be a loss of libido and erectile dysfunction too.
Another option available is Minoxidil. It was a drug which was earlier used to reduce blood pressure in the patients with severe hypertension. But many people who consumed the oral formulation of minoxidil started complaining about the hair growth on face and other body parts so this side effect of minoxidil was taken into account and a topical preparation was prepared. To know how minoxidil works and how it promotes hair growth, you need to know how our hair growth cycle works.
Our hair goes through three phases:-
- Anagen phase i.e the growth phase during which the hair follicle grows in size.
- Catagen phase i.e the transition phase in which the blood supply to the follicle is reduced and the roots come closer to the scalp.
- Telogen phase i.e the shedding phase in which the follicle becomes deprived of the essential blood supply and hence it sheds off in some time.
Minoxidil has three mechanisms through which it promotes hair growth.
- It prolongs the anagen phase so that more hair follicles are in the growth phase and the follicle size increases.
- It shortens the telogen phase i.e the shedding phase so that the hair follicles remain in the shedding phase for a shorter duration of time and re-enter the anagen phase.
- It is also a potassium channel opener, so it allows more essential nutrients to enter the roots and thus enhance the hair growth.
Minoxidil is available as a 2% and 5% solution as well as foam. 2% solution is preferred more by females while the 5% solution is preferred more by males. It has been found that the 5% solution is more efficacious.
What you should know before using minoxidil?
- Minoxidil has to be used Indefinitely till the time you want it’s effects because as soon as you stop using it, the regrowth of hair would shed off within the next few months.
- You should apply it twice daily for at least 4 months to see the initial results.
- Some hair may shed when you begin the treatment with minoxidil but it will normalise within the next two months of starting the treatment.
- Your hair will start growing after at least four to eight months of treatment and will be stable at around one year of treatment.
- You should apply at least one mL of the solution or half a cup of the 5% foam twice daily on the involved area.
What are the side effects of minoxidil?
Although minoxidil is considered a safe drug in topical form there are few unwanted effects that you need to know.
Contact dermatitis i.e the localised irritation of the scalp can occur which can make it red and flaky and scratching can even make it worse.
There have been few cases of hypotension i.e low blood pressure and tachycardia i.e fast heartbeats
With long term use topical minoxidil suggests that it can be absorbed in the body systemically as well via the local application. So care has to be taken in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular problems.
It can also cause excessive hair on the face which is more troublesome for women than men. It is a reversible side effect and hair will shed once you stop using minoxidil.
Now coming on to another yet important cause of hair loss in men, which is stress induced hair loss. Well there have been many researches in which it was found that several types of alopecias were related to stress. First is telogen effluvium and another one is alopecia areata.
Well, telogen effluvium is a type of alopecia in which a large area of the scalp experiences hair loss and it has been specifically found in people who have had any recent history of a a major stress in their life or any major illness or surgery in the recent past.
Similarly when we talk about alopecia areata, it causes a patchy hair loss and is also associated with stress.the hair loss in alopecia areata is sudden but the reassuring and surprising thing about it is that it is self resolving i.e after some time the hair start to grow at the bald patch again even without any treatment.
Other common causes of hair loss include severe calorie restriction, keto diet, any sudden weight loss. All of these conditions pose a physical stress to the body.
Last but not the least excessive chemical products application to the hair and scalp can also be the culprit for the hair loss. Remember that even if you plan to go for the weight loss options, always remember that the weight loss should be gradual not sudden. You should instead eat a balanced diet for the overall well being of the body.
I hope this article has helped you in knowing the common causes of hair loss in men.goodluck!