Most men will experience male pattern baldness at some point throughout their life. Genetics determined how early it starts and the pace at which it falls out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. As a matter of fact, the earlier you spot signs of hair thinning, the faster you can act and the more successful the outcome.
Once you have lost your hair it is very difficult to reverse any damage. The options become fewer, more costly, and often riskier (such as hair transplantation). Your chances of retaining your hair are significantly higher when you act early.
We’ll run through some of the early warning signs that you should be aware of, so you can keep your ‘do intact for longer.
1. Excessive hair shedding
Sure, it’s an obvious one. But it’s important to note the difference between light shedding, and something you ought to be concerned by. The average man has around 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 a day. Finding a few hairs on your pillow or on your hairbrush is not a reason to be worried. However, if you start to notice more loose hairs throughout the day, every day, then it may be an early sign of balding, and worth exploring further. Tell-tale signs can be spotted in the plug-hole after you shower, or on your clothes throughout the day.
2. Changes to your hairline
Another common sign of balding is the thinning of hairs in the temple area or the crown. This can be easily identified in a mirror, or by looking back at old photos to see if you spot noticeable changes to the hairline. You may start to spot the characteristic ‘M’ or ‘V’ shape developing along your hairline, where the front of your hairline recedes more dramatically in both corners.
3. Your scalp is more visible
If you’ve started to notice that your scalp is more exposed when you brush your hands (or comb) through your hair, then the likelihood is that your hair has started to thin and you’ll continue to lose more hair. This is another warning sign where photos can be a helpful tool. In certain lighting, or with certain hair styles, you may notice your scalp is more visible than it once was before.
Tracking hair loss
Why rely on wild guesses if we can just look at the evidence?
Taking sequential photos of your scalp can be a good way to spot the changes in your hairline. Whilst it might take more time to do this one, it’s certainly worth it, since spotting minute changes on a day-to-day basis yourself can be tricky.
Make sure to take a couple of photos of different areas of your head over a prolonged period of time. It is important to leave the angle and light conditions the same to have the best possible comparison.
- Front of head: the photo should cover hairline of the front of your head
- Top of scalp: the photo should cover the top of your head from above
- Back of head: showing the crown area
- Both sides of the head: showing the area from your hairline and temples to your ears
Depending on what stage of hair loss you’re at, you may not see a material difference in your photos unless you’ve recorded at least 3 months worth. It’s important to persist with tracking your journey, so you can spot which areas are most affected, and if you’ve started treatment, where regrowth may have occurred.
How to prevent Hair Loss?
Given that you are now more tooled up on how to spot hair loss, let’s look into how to prevent it from spreading further. It can be an overwhelming feeling when you are at the beginning of the journey. Digging through the sheer amount of information on hair loss can take time and effort. It often feels like everyone is pushing you into another direction and trying to sell you the next “breakthrough cure against hair loss”. Let’s be clear amount something – as of today, there is no such thing as a quick ‘cure’ for hair loss.
There are a number of different solutions available for the treatment of hair loss in men. In the UK only Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Regain) have been licensed by The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the treatment of male pattern baldness. However, Ketoconazole (Nizoral) is often prescribed ‘off-label’ as research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of hair loss. Together they are known as ‘The Big Three‘. To find out more about The Big Three and the science behind it, read our article here.
As mentioned previously, it is important to understand that these treatments take time and that you will not see breakthrough effects overnight. In order to get the best possible results, you must be determined to persist with treatment over a long period of time.