Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed your hair thinning or receding? If so, you’re not alone. Male pattern baldness or hair thinning in men is quite a common problem that a variety of factors can cause.
The reasons of hair fall in males can range from genetics to hormonal imbalances. If you’re among the many people who have experienced this condition, you may wonder what causes it and how it can be treated. In this article, we’ll explore the most common hair loss causes so that you can nip this condition in the bud!
What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is a prevalent condition causing hair loss in men. This condition results in hair loss that commonly begins at the crown and temples, leading to a receding hairline and bald spots. Several factors contribute to pattern baldness, including age, hormones, and genetics.
Hair Loss Causes in Men
It is important to understand the different causes of male pattern baldness. This is because a treatment can be decided based on the reasons of hair fall in males. Here are some of the most common causes of baldness in men:
- Genetics: Male pattern baldness is inherited from both parents and it is linked to specific genes. According to a study conducted in 2017, the androgen receptor gene on the X chromosome plays a crucial role in regulating hair growth and development and variations in this gene can make some men more susceptible to baldness. This gene controls hair growth and gene variations can cause certain men to be more vulnerable to pattern baldness.
- Hormones: Apart from genetics, hormones play a significant role in male pattern baldness. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone derived from testosterone, binds to hair follicles, causing them to shrink and leading to hair loss. As men age, their testosterone and DHT levels increase, making older men more susceptible to male pattern baldness. Testosterone is converted into DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase.
- Age: Male pattern baldness typically starts in the 30s or 40s and becomes more pronounced with age. This is because with age, men may produce more DHT or become more sensitive to its effects. In men, DHT binds to receptors on hair follicles in the scalp, causing them to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. This can lead to a gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp, resulting in the classic pattern of pattern baldness – a receding hairline and thinning hair at the crown of the head.
- Medications: Certain medications can cause or contribute to male pattern baldness by affecting the hair growth cycle. Some medications may disrupt the normal growth and resting phases of hair follicles, leading to loss of hair. For example, chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss by killing rapidly dividing cells, including hair follicle cells. Other medications, such as blood thinners, beta-blockers, and retinoids, can also cause hair loss as a side effect. In addition, some medications such as the ones used to treat prostate enlargement or prostate cancer may affect hormone levels (DHT) in the body, which can contribute to pattern baldness.
- Health Conditions: Certain health conditions can contribute to male pattern baldness by disrupting the normal hair growth cycle. Autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. This occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, leading to inflammation and loss of hair. Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can also contribute to hair loss. In addition, conditions like scalp infections, caused by ringworm, iron deficiency anaemia and chronic stress, can also contribute to hair loss and pattern baldness.
Nutrients for Healthy Hair
There are several nutrients that may help to promote healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss. These include:
- Biotin: Biotin is a B vitamin that is essential for healthy hair growth. It helps to strengthen hair and improve its texture and shine. Biotin can be found in foods such as eggs, nuts, and whole grains.
- Iron: Iron is important for the growth and repair of cells, including hair cells. Iron deficiency anaemia is a common cause of hair loss, so it is important to consume iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, and leafy green vegetables.
- Zinc: Zinc is important for the proper functioning of hair follicles and can help to prevent hair loss. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for the growth and maintenance of healthy hair follicles. It can be obtained through exposure to sunlight or through the consumption of fatty fish, eggs, and fortified foods.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the health of the hair and scalp and can help prevent hair loss. They can be found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Glutathione: Glutathione is an antioxidant that is important for healthy hair growth. It can be found in foods such as avocado, asparagus, and spinach.
- Protein: Protein is important for healthy hair growth, as hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, beans, and lentils.
Foods to Eat for Healthy Hair
Eating a balanced and varied diet that includes a range of nutrient-rich foods can help to promote healthy hair growth and maintain strong, shiny hair. You can try hair loss supplements but here are some foods that are particularly beneficial for hair health:
- Eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein, biotin, and iron, all of which are important for healthy hair growth.
- Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to improve hair texture and prevent hair loss.
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in iron, folate, and vitamin C, all of which are important for healthy hair growth.
- Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are rich in biotin, vitamin E, and zinc, all of which can help to promote healthy hair growth.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for the growth and maintenance of healthy hair.
- Berries: Berries are rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect hair follicles from damage and promote healthy hair growth.
- Avocado: Avocado is rich in healthy fats, which can help to moisturise and strengthen hair.
Balding or hair loss is a part of the ageing process for a lot of men and is caused by factors like hormones, medication, and medical treatments. While it is important to embrace your appearance through all stages of life, it is good to know that pattern baldness in male has several cures. Consulting with a dermatologist or hair specialist is recommended for those experiencing hair loss as they can provide personalised advice and recommend appropriate treatment options.
While hair creams, ointments, capsules and hair transplant surgery are an option to treat pattern baldness it is best to first improve your diet and nutritional intake, besides making vital lifestyle changes to reduce stress and see if your condition improves.