Hair Loss Treatment for Men: General FAQs
Hair loss is a big deal, as it can affect not only your appearance but your self-esteem. You may be frustrated by your ever-growing bald spot or consistently receding hairline and you are not alone. In fact, over 60% of men experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 35 and that number jumps to around 85% by age 50. There are multiple possible reasons behind this hair loss, also called alopecia, and each person’s hair loss experience is different. There is one thing that most men who suffer from hair loss definitely have in common though. The majority of men, who experience hair thinning and balding, especially at a young age, seek treatment.
The truth is, even the best researchers don’t fully understand hair loss. Many questions remain unanswered, like why some men have lost the majority of their hair by 25 while others have a thick head of hair when they reach their golden years. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what exactly causes most hair loss, either, but many probable speculations have been made, ranging from things like heredity to hormonal imbalances to certain illnesses. Your case of hair loss won’t be the same as your neighbors, and your treatment shouldn’t either. When you begin to seek out solutions to your hair loss problem, though, you may come to find that you have a lot of options—and even more questions.
Q: What are my options for treating hair loss?
Answer: There is a range of options available that claim to treat hair loss, some of which are specifically engineered for hair loss in males. These options range from herbal supplements, over-the-counter medications, to prescription medications and injections. Surgical procedures like hair transplants are also available. Topical medications, such as Minoxidil, are available over-the-counter as well. Some treatments are designed to slow or stop hair loss while others are formulated to stimulate new hair growth. Sometimes, a combination of the two is the best route.
Speculated reasons for hair loss range greatly. Hair loss that is likely due to another illness, poor diet, a hormonal imbalance or other existing medical factor may be best combated by treating the original illness, changing your diet, or balancing your hormones. In most of these cases, the lost hair will grow back on its own when the problem is corrected.
However, according to the American Hair Loss Association, more than 95% of baldness in men is due to a condition called androgenetic alopecia, commonly referred to as male pattern baldness. This happens when hair follicles shrink and begin to produce shorter, thinner hair until they eventually don’t produce hair at all. The problem is that no researcher has been able to find conclusive evidence as to why these follicles shrink, or even evidence that the cause is the same in every man. Therefore, a multitude of treatment options exists to combat a number of probable causes.
Q: What treatment is the most effective for combating hair loss?
Answer: There is no “best solution” for fighting hair loss. In most cases, it is best to go into any treatment option with an open mind. For mild hair loss, you may be able to use a DHT blocker or another treatment option meant to slow or prevent future hair loss. However, in more severe cases where balding is already prevalent, you may need to seek other options to try and stimulate new hair growth or a hair transplant to cover the balding areas as well. Hair loss is not an easy problem to fix, either, and while many men are able to slow or stop the balding process, not so many are ever able to re-grow very much natural hair.
Q: How do I decide what hair loss treatment is best for me?
Answer: You and your doctor should have a conversation to decide what treatment is best for you. They will help you determine if your hair loss is due to a serious illness or hormonal imbalance or if you suffer from the much more likely culprit: male pattern baldness. If you and your doctor decide there are other issues causing the hair loss, then they will probably suggest treatment options for the existing condition. After treatment, your doctor will probably want to wait to see if your hair grows back naturally, which is sometimes the case.
If you and your doctor determine that you are suffering from male pattern baldness, they will likely want to have a conversation about your lifestyle and diet, as well as any hair loss in your family history. Your doctor may suggest changes to your diet and lifestyle that could help slow your hair loss and possibly promote new hair growth. If you do have existing conditions, some treatment options may not be right for you. If you are in otherwise good health, though, your doctor will help you sort through the treatment options and answer any questions you may have. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new treatment for hair loss.
Q: What happens during a hair transplant?
Answer: There are two popular methods of hair transplants. One involves a strip of tissue being removed from the back of the head. The scalp is then sewn up and the area is covered by surrounding hair. The tissue is the grafted, separating the hairs at the root. These grafted sections are thinly placed inside the scalp via a small incision. The second method involves removing single follicles randomly from the scalp and placing them back in the scalp the same way.
When comparing hair transplant methods, the second method is generally less painful and produces little to no scarring when compared to the first. It also takes hair from all over the head instead of one concentrated donor area, and most people say it is much less noticeable. The second method requires no stitches and the healing process may be quicker.
Q: Do DHT blockers work?
Answer: DHT blockers work to block the creation of the 5-AR enzyme, which is converted into DHT, a sex hormone prevalent in males. Researchers speculate that this DHT binds to the androgen receptors in the hair follicles and triggers the beginning of male pattern baldness. DHT blockers may help slow or stop future hair loss, but show very little results for new hair growth.
Many people have seen great results in slowing their hair loss, but DHT blockers don’t work for everybody. Researchers speculate that genetics are to blame, making some people more susceptible to the damage done by all the DHT. This means that for those who don’t see results when taking a DHT blocker, DHT may not be the cause.
DHT blockers may have some adverse effects, such as decreased sex drive and trouble maintaining an erection. Changing your diet to include more natural DHT blockers, as opposed to prescription options, may offer a milder effect, and thus, less negative side effects.
Q: What is the quickest hair loss treatment to regrow my hair?
Answer: Hair growth is not often a “quick” process. In fact, you can expect most treatments to take weeks or months before you see any results at all, and years before you see significant results, especially if you are aiming for new hair growth. Some people are never able to grow new hair, and instead, often opt for a transplant. With any hair loss treatment, you should be patient and wait to see results before deciding the method didn’t work for you.
Q: How much do hair loss treatments cost?
Answer: The price of your treatment will vary greatly, depending on the method you choose and your insurance coverage. Your insurance may or may not cover treatments for hair loss. Over-the-counter treatments are often much less expensive, and for mild hair loss, you may see results from natural DHT blocking supplements and supplements that promote hair growth. These OTC solutions can cost between $5 and 50 dollars per bottle.
Hair transplants are much more costly and range both by location and severity of your hair loss. If you need more hair transplanted, the procedure is likely to be much more expensive than if you are only correcting a few thinning areas. The average price for a hair transplant procedure is somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000.