Here at Look Good and Feel Good, we want to tackle your male pattern hair loss head-on by sharing our best tips tricks for preventing it from happening in the first place — as well as how to deal if it does happen to you.
What is Hereditary Baldness?
Hereditary baldness is a genetic condition that causes you to lose hair on your scalp. It typically begins when you are in your teenage years or later for some men. The hair loss area begins at the temples and top of the head and works its way back until you are left with a horseshoe shape around and back of the ears. It’s important to note that men who have inherited male pattern baldness can still grow their hair long as they have enough hair follicles still in place. Those with advanced male pattern baldness will struggle to grow their hair longer than shoulder length due to the lack of follicles still operating. Another thing to note is that heredity accounts for only about 25% of hair loss. The other 75% is not hereditary. It’s the result of a combination of things, including your diet, lifestyle, and whether you are under stress.
So, if heredity doesn’t account for the entire issue of hair loss, what does?
What are the Symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness?
The balding process happens in cycles. You start to lose hair over a period of years which, typically begins around age 18. Based on which area is the most prevalent, the loss of hair can be localized to the top or temples or mid-size section of your scalp. The final stage of male pattern baldness occurs when you lose all your hair. As more and more follicles die off, you begin to see a thinning at the front and back regions as well as across your temples. This is also known as alopecia areata, and it’s merely a warning sign that something is up with your health.
What Causes Baldness
The hair follicles are the foundation of our natural hair growth. This means that the scalp is more complex than you may think. For instance, both men and women have the same follicles, but the difference happens in how hormones control these follicles. In men, hormones like testosterone give rise to an enlarged mini-maxillary nucleus (MMN) that leads to the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone then sends out signals to each follicle, so they begin producing hair. Once a certain threshold has been reached, known as the mini-maxilla threshold, each follicle can go off and produce hair. It’s important to note that these follicular units produce the majority of hair on your head. The figure below illustrates this process and how it works.
A decline in the mini-maxillary nucleus causes male pattern baldness. As you can see, this decline starts at around age 20 when the mini-maxillary nucleus begins to shrink. This causes a drop in FSH production, leading to a decrease in stem cell growth (which are responsible for producing new hair follicles). By the time you get to the later stages of hair loss, you are left with very few follicles left, the ones that are left have been damaged, and these are unable to produce new hairs. This leads to a thinning of the hair all-around your scalp.
Tips for Preventing Hereditary Hair Loss
If you are concerned about your hereditary hair loss, it’s important first to identify why you are losing hair. Is it due to stress, age or heredity? Once you know the root of the problem, here are some natural ways that can help prevent it from getting worse:
Use Scarce Food Sources
Some foods rich in protein can actually increase the number of hair follicles on your scalp. Foods like egg and dairy products keep your mini-maxilla nucleus active and grow new hairs, whereas foods like processed meat (such as bacon), sugar and salt reduce their function. Both factors play a role in preventing male pattern baldness as well as promoting hair loss later on.
Eat More Healthy Foods
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you achieve a healthier, fuller head of hair. It can also help to balance your hormone levels too. For instance, foods like soy and fibre can protect against the negative effects of female hormones on your scalp. Fruits and veggies also contain all kinds of antioxidants, which, as you know, play a vital role in the healthy development of follicles on your scalp (they slow down the ageing process). Additionally, a well-balanced diet helps to maintain an active lifestyle and this, in turn, helps keep your T levels up too.
Have Good Sleep Habits
Sleep is important for many reasons, but its impact on hair growth is exciting. A lack of sleep, or even poor sleep habits, can lead to a decline in the production of FSH, which will eventually cause hair loss.
Stress can have a detrimental impact on your scalp’s mini-maxillary nucleus. It can also have an impact on the production and release of FSH and testosterone levels. This leads to the mini-maxillary nucleus shrinking and a decrease in stem cell production (which causes fewer hair follicles). A reduction in stress levels is recommended for preventing hair loss and improving your overall mood and mental health.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet that is rich in protein and well-balanced can be beneficial for helping the mini-maxillary nucleus to maintain its size. For example, eggs contain about as much protein as steak, but they are also low in saturated fats. Furthermore, the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil can also be good for maintaining hair growth. Additionally, you should have a well-balanced diet that includes avocado and salmon, which are high in vitamin E and D, respectively. These vitamins play a significant role in helping your body heal itself to prevent further issues with hair loss and keep the mini-maxillary nucleus healthy.