Five common reasons for hair loss in men
July, 7 2021 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Is your hair looking thinner or are you seeing more hair in the shower drain than usual? You are not alone. Research suggests that as many as 40% of men start losing their hair in their thirties.
There are many reasons for hair fall in men, and not all of them cause permanent hair loss. Certain types of hair loss can be temporary and timely treatment and resolution of the root cause can help you have your hair back.
Here are the common reasons for hair loss that all men should know about:
Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness is the most common reason for hair loss in older men. There is enough research to suggest that more than 50% of men over the age of are affected by genetic hair loss. If you have relatives who have experienced pattern baldness, it is likely that you will have it too.
So what causes male pattern baldness? The main culprit here is an androgen called DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. DHT is a sex hormone that gives men their male characteristics like body hair. DHT causes follicle miniaturisation, which means that it leads to the hair cycle becoming shorter and renders follicles incapable of growing to full size. Over the years, follicle miniaturisation will lead to permanent hair fall. This type of hair loss can be treated using topical medications like Minoxidil or Finasteride, or you can opt for a hair transplant.
It has been long established that smoking is detrimental to our health in various ways, but did you know it can also cause hair fall. A study conducted in 2020 revealed that the prevalence of androgenetic alopecia among smokers was statistically higher than among nonsmokers.
One way that it causes damage to hair is by constricting the nerves and inhibiting essential nutrients from reaching our hair follicles. This is also the effect that alcohol has on our body; too much alcohol can lead to hair fall as well.
Another way that smoking can cause hair fall is through oxidative stress. It increases the production of free radicals in our body, which may damage the DNA in our cells, leading to impaired hair growth.
Medication and hair loss
There are a variety of medicines that can cause temporary, or sometimes even permanent hair loss in men. Some medicines that may cause hair loss are: anticoagulants or blood thinners, antihypertensive medications, and anticonvulsants. Chemotherapy medications, as well as some medicines used to treat anxiety and depression may cause hair fall as well. Others that may lead to hair loss are: acne medications, hormonal medications like androgenic hormones, or steroids, statins, which are used to manage cholesterol, weight loss drugs, anti-gout medication, and anti-rheumatic drugs.
Medication-related hair loss is usually temporary. Medication may induce temporary hair loss conditions like telogen effluvium or anagen effluvium. Most patients see their hair grow back once they stop taking the medicine or adjust their dose. However, certain medicines may impact the production of DHT and exacerbate hair loss in men already experiencing it. If you notice hair loss after you have started taking certain medication, it is imp[ortant to consult your doctor and let them know.
Stress can lead to telogen effluvium, a condition wherein a significant amount of hair is pushed into its resting phase, leading to hair fall. Stress can also lead to alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition wherein the body attacks its own healthy cells and causes hair to fall.
Another way that stress can cause hair loss is through a condition called trichotillomania, or an irresistible urge to pull out one's own hair or eyebrows. It is a mental health condition triggered by stress, anxiety, or loneliness.
Medication or therapy can help with stress-related hair fall.
Medical conditions such as sexually transmitted infection (STI), thyroid disease, scalp psoriasis, or infections can lead to hair loss as well. For example STIs like syphilis can cause hair loss if not treated timely.
Some medical conditions may not cause hair loss directly but they can lead to it. Scalp psoriasis, which causes the scalp skin to become flaky, itchy, scaly, and red, can lead to hair loss if the patient is vigorously scratching or picking at the scaly spots. This can induce temporary hair loss.
There is also a condition called Tinea capitis, a fungal infection of the scalp, that can lead to hair loss. Also called scalp ringworm, it causes redness, itchiness, and scaly skin. Although common in children and adolescents, it can impact immunocompromised adults.
In addition to these factors, nutritional deficiencies and leading an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to hair loss as well. Hair needs sufficient protein, iron, vitamins, zinc, and selenium to be healthy. If any of these nutrients are missing in our diet, it can lead to hair loss. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and not exercising can cause hair loss as well, and make our hair look dull and lifeless. Exercise promotes blood circulation, helping essential nutrients to reach our scalp and promotes healthy hair.