Hair Loss in Men
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Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the primary cause of hair loss in men. In fact, 95 percent of all hair loss in men is due to androgenetic alopecia. This disorder is thought to be caused by health issues, a shift in hormones, and most commonly, inherited genetic factors.
Androgenetic alopecia gained its name due to the fact that the hair loss is caused by androgens. One of these is DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. Simply put, when DHT increases, the cycle of hair growth decreases. This causes hair to be thinner, shorter, and to die more quickly. In addition to hair having a shorter life span, DHT also causes a delay in growth.
The existence of DHT in the male body is only one factor in androgenetic alopecia. The other primary factor is the sensitivity any specific person may have to DHT. For the most part, this is determined by genetics. A man can often tell if his body will react to DHT by looking at close relatives. If other male relatives suffer from androgenetic alopecia, it is likely that this pattern will continue.
To learn more about DHT, visit our comprehensive breakdown of DHT and how it relates to hair loss HERE.
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS & SELF-ESTEEM
It is widely accepted that male pattern baldness (MPB) occurs in about 85 percent of all men age 50 or older. Nearly one-fourth of these men begin losing hair in their late teens and early twenties (yes, that young!). The psychological impact of hair loss at any age can be enormous; however, younger men who suffer from hair loss tend to have a more severely damaged self-esteem.
Research has shown that MPB can lead to anxiety and depression. The psychological ramifications of hair loss can also cause men to have difficulty managing traumatic events. Some even say thinning hair can prevent career advancement.
TREATMENTS FOR MALE HAIR LOSS
Believe it or not, there are many options available for men who wish to restore their hair. Much research has been carried out on male pattern baldness in order to identify effective treatments. From medical treatments to surgery, men have a surprising range of options to explore.
Shampoos and Hair Tonics
The first line of defense for some men may be over-the-counter shampoos or tonics that purport to aid in hair restoration. These shampoos often use natural ingredients like rosemary, mint, clary sage, lavender, chamomile and horsetail extract. In most cases, these herbal remedies are very good for hair and scalp health.
Those who choose to use shampoos and hair tonics to increase hair growth should do so along with the aid of other hair growth methods. Using natural shampoos while also using LLLT may be the best combination one can find. Herbs and extracts in natural shampoos are much gentler on the hair and scalp than harsh chemicals that are found in most shampoos.
Sulfates are one of the ingredients that are prevalent in soaps and shampoos. These exist only to provide a satisfying lather, but do nothing to help the hair. In fact, sulfates are known to dry out the scalp and strip hair from its natural moisture. Those with weak hair follicles should avoid sulfates at all costs.
Other Topical Solutions
Minoxidil is a common ingredient in topical creams used to slow hair loss and promote hair growth. This cream does not work for all men and is known to drop off after extended use, but is relatively safe.
Minoxidil increases the time allowed for the anagen state of hair growth. The anagen state is the active state of growth, which typically lasts from two to seven years. In addition, minoxidil is known to widen hair follicles, which leads to thicker strands of hair.
Though minoxidil is generally thought to be safe, there can be some side effects. Some men experience burning, stinging and dandruff at the site of application. An itchy rash may also occur. Other side effects, like headache, weight gain, heart palpitations and excessive hair growth in other parts of the body are possible.
In addition to the side effects of minoxidil, it does have to be used regularly to continue working. Unfortunately, it does not work for everyone.
Because the treatments supplement one another, the illumiflow Laser Cap can be safely used alongside hair restoration creams and other medications to promote even more hair growth. That said, many men opt to use the Laser Cap without a cream or foam, simply due to the fact that Low Level Laser Therapy does not leave behind an odor or any messy residue.
DHT Blockers: Pros and Cons
Most treatments for male hair loss focus on blocking DHT. Prescription medication, topical applications, natural supplements, and even shampoos may be suggested by physicians to combat male pattern baldness. Theoretically, if a sensitivity to DHT leads to hair loss, it would seem that blocking DHT would help hair to grow once again. Though this does work in some cases, there are also a great many drawbacks to using medication for hair loss.
The benefits of DHT blockers are obvious. They help to slow down the rate of hair loss in many men. In some, they even stop hair loss or reverse the effects. Unfortunately, the side effects can be far worse than the benefits. Any reduction in DHT, whether through over-the-counter supplements or prescription medication, has a strong risk of sexual side effects. Men can sometimes suffer from low libido and impotence while taking these drugs. These side effects may even occur well after a man has chosen to stop using medication. Other side effects include depression and gynecomastia.
A doctor may prescribe medication to combat hair loss. Finasteride inhibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which is thought to be a primary culprit in male pattern baldness. Research has shown that the presence of DHT in men shrinks hair follicles, causing less hair to grow.
While finasteride has been proven successful in regrowing hair in many patients, it also comes with harmful side effects. Some of these include rash, headache, dizziness, swelling and impotence. Some of these side effects continue even after treatment has ceased.
Because of side effects like these, most men prefer to explore less harmful alternatives, like Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), which is the same technology that we use in our own Laser Cap. In addition to having no side effects, the illumiflowLaser Cap can be used successfully and safely by men who are taking prescription pills for hair loss, so the treatments can supplement one another.
Hair Restoration Surgery
Hair transplants have long been a staple in the hair restoration industry. Men who do not respond to medication or topical cream may choose to have a physician transplant their hair. This involves removing hair from one area of the scalp and grafting it into the area that is experiencing loss. Though the transplanted hair usually falls out very quickly, new hair growth can sometimes occur within six to nine months.
Hair restoration surgery is often viewed as a last resort. This surgery is expensive, painful, and comes with no guarantees. In fact, only about 60 percent of patients regrow hair using this method. Likewise, hair growth can be so sparse that men choose to have their scalps tattooed to cover the areas that are left bare.
Recent advances in stem cell therapy have been studied to attempt hair regrowth. While this method is promising, it is not yet proven. It is also very expensive.
Supporting the Body’s Basic Needs
One of the most overlooked methods for hair restoration is one that helps the entire body. Proper nutrition is paramount to having strong, healthy hair. A balanced diet that is focused on healthy fats, proteins, minerals and antioxidants provides the perfect foundation for hair growth. Almond butter, greek yogurt, spinach, citrus fruits and eggs are all good examples of foods that should be included in a diet to support effective hair regrowth.
Conversely, there are many foods that need to be avoided. Foods that are overly processed, laden with sugar or include artificial additives have been shown to increase the rate of hair loss. Added sugar is known to counteract the body's natural absorption of protein. Artificial additives, like aspartame, often mimic the unsavory qualities of sugar. Likewise, those hoping for healthy hair should avoid greasy fast food and alcohol.
In addition to maintaining a proper diet, the body needs plenty of rest and exercise. Exercise stimulates blood flow, which helps the body's cells to regenerate. Exercise becomes even more important as the body ages and blood flow becomes more sluggish. Sleep also helps the body to renew itself. Most physicians suggest at least seven hours of sleep per night for active adult males.
Stress is an unfortunate cause of hair loss as well. Men who are undergoing other forms of restoring hair should attempt to lower the amount of stress they experience on a day-to-day basis. This may be as simple as exercising more, picking up a new hobby, or taking up yoga.
Low Level Laser Therapy
Low Level Laser Therapy, or LLLT, stimulates hair follicles at the cellular level. The new energy that is pulsed into tired hair follicles boosts growth, allowing the user to have natural, healthy hair without the need for painful surgeries or messy creams. There are no side effects associated with LLLT. This therapy has been proven to be completely safe, thanks to numerous clinical trials and studies conducted over the course of several decades.
Low Level Laser Therapy can be applied in a clinic, though it does take multiple treatments for the patient to see results. Conversely, many patients choose to buy a personal treatment device, which allows them to experience the same impressive effects in the comfort of their own home.
The illumiflowLaser Cap is a one-time purchase at only a portion of the cost of surgery or repeat visits to a specialty clinic. Better still, it can be used as often as the patient likes at any time of the day or night. *
*See instructions for optimal use recommendations.
USING ILLUMIFLOWThe illumiflow Laser Cap can be used by men and women to promote hair health and new hair growth, regardless of their specific form of hair loss. Whether caused by androgenetic alopecia, stress, medication, or even cancer, tired scalps can be painlessly and safely revived using the Laser Cap.
Ready to commit to your own health and restored confidence? Contact illumiflow today or complete our FREE online Hair Loss Evaluation to learn how our Laser Cap can help you regrow hair easily, painlessly, and naturally.