Research suggests that over half of men start showing signs of hair loss by the age of 50. By the time they turn 70, four in five will have lost at least some hair. While many women can also lose hair or notice changes in volume and texture as they age, hair loss is undoubtedly more frequent in men. Surprisingly, there is more than one reason it can happen, with some of the more common ones listed below.
When you watch the men in your family slowly age and lose hair, you may be reaching for a hair loss prescription sooner rather than later. While there is no guarantee that you will experience hair loss, it’s a likely outcome if genetics are to blame.
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is an inheritable condition from your parents. Medical professionals don’t understand why this condition runs in families, but it can. If your father, uncle, older siblings, and even your grandfather were balding past the age of 50, there’s a high chance you will be too unless you intervene with innovative hair growth techniques.
A Shock or Stressful Event
If you’ve been under a great deal of stress, or you’ve been involved in something potentially traumatic, hair loss can be an unwelcome side effect for many men. Typically, the process begins with hormonal changes that cause hair follicle shrinkage.
Hair loss may then start with the hairline thinning around the temple and crown region. Even if you’ve always had healthy hair, it can take one event like unexpected surgery, a stressful job, or a family tragedy to kick hair loss into overdrive.
Medical Conditions, Infections, and Illnesses
Temporary or permanent hair loss can be a common side effect of many different ailments and treatments for those conditions. For example, a diet low in iron and protein may cause your hair to thin out, while lupus or diabetes may increase the likelihood that you will experience hair loss in the future.
Some drug side effects also include hair loss, so prescription medication you’re taking for high blood pressure, gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems, and many other conditions may result in thin or lost hair. You might also experience temporary hair loss if you have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Typically, hair growth resumes when treatment ends.
Even infections like ringworm can contribute to temporary hair loss. Ringworm can cause dry patches on your scalp, followed by bald spots. In most cases, these grow back.
Surprisingly, how you style your hair on a daily basis may contribute to whether or not you experience hair loss in later life. For example, any hairstyle that puts pressure on your hair follicles next to your scalp may cause traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is often closely linked to wearing your hair in braids, buns, and tight ponytails. It can also be an issue for men and women who get perms and hot oil treatments.
Immune System Conditions
Even though hair loss is more common from around the age of 50 in men, it can happen much earlier than that if you suffer from an immune system condition called alopecia areata. Typically, this condition presents in childhood, and you can be more likely to have it if some of your family members do.
You might notice small, coin-sized bald spots that appear at random. Sometimes, those patches of hair grow back before falling out again. Alopecia areata is caused by your body’s immune system attacking its own hair follicles. It’s not contagious, nor does it come with any sickness or pain. There is no way to cure alopecia, but some medications may help with hair growth.
What Doesn’t Cause Hair Loss
Many factors contribute to hair loss, such as immune system conditions, illnesses, stress, shocking events, and your genetic makeup. However, there are also several things many people have thought lead to hair loss but most likely don’t.
You may experience hat hair after wearing a hat, but you likely won’t lose your hair. That may only be the case if the hat pulls at your hair. Even then, it’s more likely to happen over time rather than as a one-off event.
Many men with long hair use hair dryers to speed up the drying process. While brittle hair can be a consequence of their long-term use, hair loss isn’t.
Many people believe that chlorinated pools and saltwater environments can lead to hair loss. However, this has not been proven as accurate.
Hair loss and baldness is not always something you can cure, particularly as it occurs for many reasons. However, it can be worth identifying the reason for your baldness and seeing if any prescription medication or lifestyle changes could make a difference.
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Author: Jay White
I started Dumb Little Man so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!