Few things in life haunt a man’s dreams more than going bald. The words “thinning hair” can be a nightmare scenario for millions of men around the world. In the United States alone over thirty-five million men experience some baldness, and an estimated eight hundred million people worldwide will seek professional help to deal with hair loss. Hair is an integral part of our image and to some extent our personalities. Those unfortunate enough to have to deal with hair loss will almost always suffer from lower self-esteem and negative body image. Throughout the ages, thick, healthy hair has been associated with attractiveness and vigor. It is only natural that going bald is a sensitive subject but the time has come to tackle this topic head-on. Stick with me if you want to learn how to prevent going bald.
Before we dive into how to prevent best going bald, let us learn first how this process happens and most importantly why it happens.
The actual scientific name for hair loss is Alopecia. Alopecia is considered a disease. You can be said to suffer from alopecia when you suffer from an abnormal loss or rarefaction of the hair. There are many classifications of alopecia affecting different parts of the body such as the eyebrows, axilla or underarm, and genital region.
Here are some factors that are known to be causes of hair loss.
- Dermatophytosis is a fungal infection caused by Dermatophytes, which are a type of fungi that feeds and thrives on dead keratin cells. There are several species of Dermatophytes, and they are most commonly known by the colloquial name of “ringworm. When Dermatophytosis of the scalp is contracted the most telling sign is the appearance of several patches of hair loss accompanied by inflammation and scaling. ”. Dermatophyte infection is quite common and entirely treatable. Treatment consists of an oral antifungal medication such as fluconazole which has the ability to inhibit fungal growth by attacking the cytoplasmic microtubules.
- Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause alopecia; specifically, syphilis. Alopecia Syphilitica is the term given to this non-inflammatory form of hair loss. It manifests in the scalp as a diffuse pattern of baldness, but it can be seen in other areas of the body. For some patients, this is the only symptom of a syphilitic infection. This type of baldness can be cured through the treatment of the overarching syphilis infection.
- Parasitic infections can be the underlying cause of hair loss. Parasites that enter the digestive system rob the body of essential minerals and cause nutritional deficiencies that can affect the health of the hair follicles. Other parasitic organisms such as hair lice and mites can cause inflammation of the scalp to such a degree that the hair shafts become dislodged from the follicles below.
- Medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, and depression among others have the potential side effect of causing premature hair loss. This type of hair loss occurs because the active components of these medications can alter the normal function of the hair growth cycle. Hair growth is divided into two major phases called the Anagen phase and the Telogen phase. During the Anagen phase, hair grows continually; this phase can last up to eight years. During the Telogen phase hair growth naturally slows down while the follicle rests. The telogen phase lasts typically around three months before the follicle re-enters the anagen phase. When drugs alter this cycle, as much as seventy percent of hair follicles can be forced to enter the telogen phase prematurely; but in most situations, this effect is reversed as soon as the patient goes off the medication.
- Stress is one of the most common causes of abnormal hair loss. Stress can promote the release of hormones as a type of immune response that can hinder the division of new hair cells.
- Excess of Vitamin A or Deficiency of Vitamin B. Vitamin A is an essential component of the hair growth cycle which is why an overabundance of this nutrient can cause the hair follicles to become overstimulated and thus enter the telogen phase prematurely leading to significant hair loss. In the case of Vitamin B, a deficiency of this vital nutrient has a direct and immediate impact on the proper functioning of DNA replication. Once this replication process becomes affected across the entire organism, one of the first symptoms to show up is reduced hair cell division. Pernicious Anemia has been linked to a reduction in the absorption of Vitamin B by the organism which has the unwanted effect hair loss, so even when enough vitamin B is being consumed not enough is being used efficiently by the body.
The most common type of baldness without a doubt is Androgenic Alopecia or male-pattern hair loss. Androgenic Alopecia accounts for about ninety-five percent of all cases of baldness. It is so commonly widespread that by the age of fifty over half of the male population will be affected by alopecia.
As the name suggests, Androgenic Alopecia is caused by the direct action of androgenic hormones upon the hair follicle. Since the hair follicle regulates all hair growth through a multifaceted interaction of hormones and neuropeptides, when one of these components goes haywire the entire process is affected. There are over one hundred thousand hair follicles on the head alone so once alopecia sets in hair are lost by the thousands.
Sensitivity to androgenic hormones, more specifically to Dihydrotestosterone, is hereditary but so far no specific gene activation has been identified. Androgenic Alopecia will cause hair to be lost selectively from the frontal and parietal region. The region of the vertex or crown is also affected.
HOW TO STOP BALDING CROWN
So what can we do to stop male pattern hair loss and prevent a balding crown?
The first thing we must do is to identify the type of hair loss. Since Androgenic alopecia is the most common, we will be focusing on that today.
One of the best first steps you should take is to look for a high-quality shampoo that has been formulated with hair loss prevention in mind. Generic brand or lower quality products will do nothing to help prevent hair loss and might exacerbate the problem. Try using products with the anti-inflammatory ketoconazole and avoid products containing selenium sulfide as this chemical has been linked to accelerated hair loss.
Believe or not your diet will play a pivotal role in the extent of your hair loss. Sugary foods will spur insulin synthesis which in turn leads to higher than average testosterone production. The more testosterone in your system the more that will be converted into Dihydrotestosterone and worsen hair loss. Fried foods have the same effect so avoid those as much as possible. Studies have suggested that the nutrients Iron and L-lysine have a beneficial effect on hair growth, so make sure to include foods rich in these compounds. Think about adding liver, sardines, lentils, spinach, soybeans, shrimp, white beans, and pumpkin seeds as these are all excellent sources of iron and L-lysine.
BEST WAYS TO STOP HAIR THINNING AT CROWN FOR A MALE
If you are looking for the best ways to stop hair thinning, then you must look towards medications. Unfortunately because of the complexity of the process of hair loss, there aren’t many options in this field, fortunately, the few options available have been very useful in treating and outright stopping hair loss.
Finasteride, commercially sold as Proscar or Propecia, is one of the most effective treatments against androgenic alopecia. Finasteride will not only prevent further hair loss, because of the way it works it will also reverse the effects. Finasteride will work by blocking or inhibiting 5α-reductase which is in charge of converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone; this has the desired effect of preventing androgenic action on the hair follicle.
Minoxidil is an antihypertensive vasodilator that has been certified to treat hair loss. Applied topically it has been shown to promote hair growth in over sixty percent of the men studied. The method of action is quite simple. Minoxidil is a potassium channel opener, which means it has the capability of widening blood vessels and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the hair follicle. Minoxidil is sold commercially under the name of Rogaine, and it is especially effective against vertex hair loss, or hair loss of the crown. Some studies have reported a reduction of the balding crown of almost 4 centimeters after one year use of this medication.
Both of these drugs provide significant benefits to the balding individual without any apparent risks. Remember that stopping hair loss is an uphill battle since you will be fighting more often than not your genetics, but do not despair as there are plenty of factors for you to tweak and a few options for you to consider.
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Kaufman, Keith D., et al. “Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 39.4 (1998): 578-589.
Messenger, A. G., and J. Rundegren. “Minoxidil: mechanisms of action on hair growth.” British journal of dermatology 150.2 (2004): 186-194.