Just about any part of the body can be affected by either temporary or permanent hair loss. Whether it’s the result of genetics, ageing, medical issues, or hormonal changes, just about anyone can experience it, although thinning hair in men is much more common than in women.

When we talk about baldness, we most often refer to hair loss on the scalp, of which ageing and our inherited genetics are most often responsible. There are lots of other causes though, which we’ll go into here while looking at ways in which we can prevent and treat early stage hair loss.

So if you’ve been experiencing thinning hair and you’re looking to learn more and find a way to treat it, you’ll be glad to know that you’re in the right place.

What Causes Thinning Hair in Men?

The average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day, which usually goes fairly unnoticed since new hairs are always growing back to replace them. True hair loss occurs however once the hairs stop growing back.

If you’ve started to notice your hair thinning at an early age or later in life, then it’s likely due to one or more of the following reasons:

Family history: Genetics play the biggest part in determining who is or isn’t going to experience hair thinning later in life. Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss, is inherited from our parents and grandparents, and will usually come on gradually and in relatively predictable patterns. Hair thinning in men will come in the form of a receding hairline and bald spots, while women will experience a thinning along the crown.

Medical conditions and hormonal changes: There are a number of medical conditions that can contribute to hair loss, whether temporary or permanent. Hormonal changes that come with pregnancy, childbirth or menopause can also cause thinning hair in women, along with thyroid issues. Conditions such as alopecia areata, which hair loss that’s thought to come as a result of immune system issues, and trichotillomania, an obsessive-compulsive hair pulling disorder, are also causes of hair loss.

Stress: Many people experience hair thinning after particularly stressful experiences, usually a few months after the fact. Stress related hair loss is usually only temporary though.

Medications: There are a number of medications and supplements that can cause hair loss as a side effect, including medications for arthritis, cancer, depression, heart issues, high blood pressure, and gout.

Radiation Therapy: Those undergoing radiation therapy will likely experience some degree of hair loss, and chances are it won’t quite grow back the same way that it previously did.

Certain hair styles: It’s possible that certain hair styles or excessive hair styling can lead to hair loss, especially if the hair is being pulled tight in braids, cornrows or pigtails. This causes a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. Furthermore, hair treatments using hot oils or permanents can also cause hair to thin, especially if scarring occurs.

What are Some of the Symptoms of Hair Thinning in Men?

There are a number of different ways that hair thinning can manifest itself, and it’ll ultimately come down to what’s causing it. Whether it’s sudden or gradual, or affecting parts of the body besides the head, the following are some of the ways in which you may recognise hair thinning at an early age or later in life:

Patchy or circular bald spots: One way in which many people start to notice thinning hair is in patchy or circular spots. This could be on the scalp, beard, or even on the eyebrows. In some cases your skin may become itchy or even painful before the hair starts to shed.

Thinning on the top of the head: Perhaps the most common form of hair loss is a gradual thinning on top of the head, especially as we age. With men this will typically start around the forehead, whereas women may start to notice a part in their hair.

Hair suddenly loosening: After a fairly heavy emotional or physical shock, it’s not unusual for hair to loosen and for people to experience large amounts coming out as they brush or wash their hair. This will usually be experienced over the entire scalp, however it’s only temporary.

Scaling patches all over the scalp: This could come in hand with broken hair, redness, swelling, and even oozing, and is usually a sign of ringworm.

Full body hair loss: Full body hair loss often occurs as a result of cancer, chemotherapy, and other similar medical conditions and treatments. It’s usually only temporary though.

Is There Any Way to Prevent Hair Loss?

Since the vast majority of hair loss is male or female pattern baldness and caused by our inherited genetics, there’s unfortunately no real method of preventing it from occurring.

There are some things we can do to avoid the preventable types of hair loss however, and these include:

Avoid being too hard on your hair: Taking the time to be gentler with our hair is a good way to help prevent avoidable forms of hair loss. It’s never a wise idea to tug too hard when brushing it, especially when it’s wet. Using a wide-toothed comb can also help you avoid pulling out hair when doing so. Hot oil treatments, rollers, curling irons, and other harsh treatments can also damage the hair, in addition to hair styles that put a lot of tension on it like braids.

Avoid smoking: Several studies have found a correlation between smoking and thinning hair in men. If you do smoke, then stopping can help you to avoid hair thinning later in life, or even at an earlier age.

Keep your hair protected from sunlight and other ultraviolet light: Long term exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light can cause damage, and while keeping your hair out of the sun isn’t exactly something that’s always avoidable, limiting your exposure and keeping your hair protected could help it in the long run.

Check with your doctor to see if any medications or supplements you’re taking could be causing hair loss: Many medications or supplements can cause hair loss as a side effect. If there is anything that you are taking, then check with your doctor to see if it could be the cause of your thinning hair.

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, ask about a cooling cap: Anyone undergoing chemotherapy will find themselves at risk of losing their hair. This should only be temporary, however the risk can be greatly reduced by wearing a cooling cap while undergoing treatment.

Ways to Treat Thinning Hair

There’s a wide variety of effective treatments available when it comes to thinning hair, with some slowing it, some stopping it, and some even reversing it.

Many conditions that cause hair loss are only temporary, and hair will start to regrow on its own within a year. For others though, some of the following treatments may be the answer.

Medications

Many causes of thinning hair come down to underlying diseases, and if that’s the case, then obviously that’ll need to be treated first before you can attempt to treat your hair. Otherwise, some of the following medications are available that can help to treat hair thinning in men:

— Finasteride: Finasteride is more typically found under the name Propecia, in which Finasteride is the main active ingredient. It’s a prescription drug for men, and when taken daily, it’s been proven to slow hair loss for as many as 88% of those taking it, with 66% reporting regrowth.

— Minoxidil: Minoxidil is the main active ingredient in treatments like Regaine, and it’s available over the counter in most pharmacies and online in liquid, foam, or shampoo form. When applied twice daily, it can slow down hair loss and regenerate growth.

There are a few other medications available too, such as Aldactone, Carospir, and Avodart, however Finasteride and Minoxidil are the two most commonly found.

Hair Transplant Surgery

Only the top of the scalp is affected when it comes to the most common forms of thinning hair, which leaves behind plenty of strong, healthy hair that can be used for a hair transplant.

During the procedure, hairs are taken from a donor site on the back of the head (either individually or as a strip of scalp) and are then transplanted one by one or in small groupings into the treatment area. The procedure isn’t so in depth that you’ll need to be hospitalised, however it is intense enough to require sedation and aftercare.

Hair transplant surgery typically works better for those who are a bit further along in their hair loss, as taking hair from a donor site that could start to thin itself somewhere down the line will only require further treatment.