Every man wants to know how to prevent hair loss even if he isn't particularly worried about losing his hair.
It's the reassurance that there's a cure out there if the signs of balding ever emerge.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy head of hair and preventing hair loss, the key is to be pro-active and get in there early. This applies both to hair loss caused by genetics, and through lifestyle choices.
The good news there's plenty you can do to help fight off hair loss, and maintain strong, healthy hair.
Male Pattern Baldness
About 80% of early- and- late onset of hair loss in men is due to genetics, specifically male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is a progressive condition that affects about 30% of men in their 30s. It affects about 10% more men per decade of life.
Finasteride is taken as a tablet. It works by blocking hormonal changes in your hair follicle that cause the hair follicle to miniaturise and stop producing healthy hair as you age.
Minoxidil is a liquid applied directly to the scalp, in the form of a spray, foam, or solution. It causes blood vessels to relax which helps to increase blood flow to the scalp to help hair follicles get the oxygen and nutrients they need.
Factoring one or both of these treatments into your routine at an early stage of the balding process can help stop hair loss in its tracks.
Other Causes of Hair Loss
While hair loss from male pattern baldness can’t be prevented by lifestyle choices alone, making positive changes should still help your hair stay stronger and healthier, and prevent hair loss from other factors.
It’s important to make positive lifestyle changes, such as eating a varied diet, taking exercise, and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. This will ensure your hair follicles are well nourished so they can produce strong hairs.
When you don't get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs from your diet, it can cause a loss of hair. For instance, as your hair is mainly made up of a protein called keratin, eating a protein-rich diet may also help to strengthen your hair and reduce hair loss.
Too little protein in your diet can damage healthy hair, and inhibit your body's ability to build new hair follicles. Healthy sources of protein include eggs, chicken, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy products.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
It’s well known that almost any form of exercise is good for us. Exercising regularly - such as walking, cycling, and running – is great for maintaining blood circulation and a healthy heart. This allows for robust blood flow, full of oxygen and nutrients, to the scalp. Exercise also plays a part in reducing stress which is another factor behind hair loss.
Interestingly, excessive high-level exercise has been shown to induce temporary hair loss. Researchers believe that excessive exercise can result in the onset of telogen effluvium, a form of temporary hair loss that is brought about by stress, shock, or a traumatic event. Telogen effluvium is a condition in which hair follicles enter the resting phase (telogen) prematurely.
Cut down on the bad habits (alcohol and smoking)
For stronger hair – as well as a myriad of other health benefits – try to reduce your consumption of alcohol and quit smoking all together.
Alcohol consumption has two main impacts on head hair. Firstly, it is dehydrating. This makes hair follicles dry and brittle, increasing the likelihood that they fall out. Drinking alcohol has also been shown to bring about malabsorption, which can lead to nutrient defiency. This this can impact the ability of hair follicles to produce healthy hair.
Scientific research into smoking suggests that cigarette smoke accelerates hair loss (and potentially the greying process). Cigarette smoke contains toxins that it’s believed cause damage to the DNA of the hair follicles, thereby disrupting the hair growth cycle.
Reduce stress levels
Elevated stress levels are a leading cause of temporary hair loss. Similar to excessive exercise, stress can lead to the condition telogen effluvium, in which hair follicles prematurely move to the “resting” or telogen phase so that they don't produce new hair strands.
There are a number of lifestyle changes can help to reduce stress and the associated hair loss: exercise, improving work-life balance and sharing problems are some of the most effective.
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Written by Mike Firth, GP and Medical Director
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.