Being an older man with a humble hairline, Iv often wondered: What causes baldness? Is it just genetics, or was there some scientific reason for this? Well, scientists in Korea have been testing mice again; and they believe they have discovered a chemical that appears to promote hair growth. Yippee!
The average balding man
I always remember my grandfather saying: "Getting old is no fun
", and man was he right. From picking up extra weight to losing your precious hair, but it made me wonder - What was average
? Well, the average balding man will start losing hair in their early 30s
, and 50 percent will have lost a fair chunk of that hair by the time they are 50. The pattern of hair loss is similar, you could loose hair from the anterior hairline (front part of your head) or even around your crown (back part of your head). The rate of balding differs from person to person, but generally, hair is falling out at a faster rate than your body can replace them.
What causes baldness in Men
Some typical reasons for hair loss are:
- Old age
- Thyroid conditions
- Medical conditions on the Scalp
- Some Autoimmune diseases
In General, most people loose about 150 hairs per day
, this process speeds up as we get older for different reasons. Imagine a hair having a life cycle, some hairs are younger and growing (growth phase
), while others are older and in the rest phase
- hairs are lost and replaced in a cycle, however this process can be interrupted when the hair follicle is damaged for some reason. In male pattern balding hair follicles seem to die off from one to the next which gives a "bald spot" its circular shape.
Studies have shown the primary reason men go bald is due to genetics. It is often wise to look at your mothers father
, if he was bald you may inherit the gene. However, scientists claim to have found a particular DNA which could shed some light, people who have the 20p11
chromosome are more prone to going bald. Study in Genetics
Another study of 95 families at the University of Bonn has found another gene called the androgen receptor which seems to promote androgen (A type of Male sex hormone) and this leads to hair loss.
Diet and Hair Loss
In many cases nutrition can is a cause scalp problems, this is the reason malnourished children have hair loss. Since hair is not an essential part of survival it is one of the first things to suffer when we live an unhealthy lifestyle. A recent study links iron deficiency and having too much Vitamin A to issues with hair follicles. In General, a balanced diet filled with nutrients, fresh vegetables, and Vitamins
will promote healthy hair - while carbohydrates should be limited as much as possible.
Dairy products are also required for optimum hair health including Milk, cheese, and eggs. Lastly, Vitamin B7
is also known to fight hair loss.
Smoking could be one of the worst things you can do to your body, not only does it cause cancer, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses - it is also not conducive to a healthy head of hair. A recent study of 600 men
and woman found that smoking increased the risk of premature graying, secondly it is well known that smoking constricts the blood vessels which leads to less blood flow to the extremities
(outermost parts like Legs, Fingers) like the scalp.
With this in mind, we would see reduced oxygen to the hair follicles
leading to poor growth potential and more hair loss.
Anxiety and hair loss can lead to certain conditions that cause hair loss including:
- Alopecia:this would result in chunks of coin sized patches of hair falling out.
- Telogen Effluvium:stress and anxiety can alter the normal cycle of growth.
- Trichotillomania:This is a stress induced reaction (often seen in children) where hair is pulled out by oneself.
When a patient suffers for a prolonged period with either hypothyroidism
(under-active thyroid gland), or hyperthyroidism
(overactive thyroid gland) they can suffer from hair loss. The thyroid gland is located in your neck and produces two important hormones including thyroxine and triiodothyronine; once these go out of sync the hair growth cycle suffers. The good news is that once the unbalanced hormones are treated, normal hair growth will resume within a few months.
Medical conditions on the Scalp
- Seborrheic Dermatitis:is associated with the red, flaky skin, and when it appears on the scalp it can cause inflammation in the affected area and the hairs bind to the flaky skin causing hair thinning.
- Ringworm:is a fungal infection that causes ring-like patches also known as tinea capitis. Ringworm is an infectious disease and is often missed or mistaken for psoriasis or Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Some Autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases that cause hair loss:Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata literally causes the immune system to malfunction and attack the hair follicles
, this leads to coin-sized round patches and balding. This immune response is typically seem in children
and only affects a small percentage of the population. Lupus
Lupus is a serious autoimmune condition that affects all areas of the Cardiovascular System, Immune System, Kidneys, Lungs, and Skin. When it comes to Systemic lupus
hair loss is temporary and will grow back but with skin lupus
it can often cause permanent damage to the hair follicles.
Even though many reasons exist for hair loss and baldness, Living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, avoid smoking, and stress can prevent some of these issues. Male pattern Baldness should not be seen as a serious condition except when its underlying cause is more sinister; therefore it is highly recommended you visit your doctor about possible causes.