The early warning signs of hair loss

Male pattern baldness is experienced by more than two thirds of men over the course of their life, and is more likely to occur with age.

Published: Thursday 10 October 2019

Male pattern baldness is experienced by more than two thirds of men over the course of their life, and is more likely to occur with age. It is caused by increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is produced from the enzyme 5a-Reductase interacting with the male hormone testosterone.

The key to stopping hair loss is to spot the signs early enough so you can take action to prevent as much hairs from falling out as possible.

Some possible causes of hair loss include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Depression

It’s not easy to identify hair loss, and you can easily make a mistake about what the signs should be. We have identified what signs you should look out for and what not to look out for with hair loss.

How to spot the early warning signs

Receding hair line

If you begin to notice your hair line receding into an ‘M’ shape, this is one of the first warning signs of male pattern baldness.

If the hairs are thinning or shedding above the forehead and around the temples without them being replaced it may be because you are suffering from androgenic alopecia.

A receding hair line most commonly will occur in men who are over 25, but some men in their teens and early 20’s may start to notice it if it is hereditary.

Thinning hair

Not all men who suffer from hair loss will experience a receding hair line initially. Some men experience will experience their hair thinning excessively.

Thinning hairs will usually affect either the crown or the whole scalp which will result in baldness from the back or top rather than from the hairline. The most effective way to know whether your hair is thinning is by taking pictures of your hair every two to three months in a mirror.

Signs not related to hair loss:

  • A few hairs on your pillow – This is normal and not an indicator that you suffer from hair loss.
  • The white bulb on the hair – The white bulb indicates that the hair was in the telogen phase when it fell out.
  • Widow’s peak – This is a dominant gene trait and is not the best indicator to prove you suffer from hair loss.
  • Hair looking thinner after you swim or shower – When your hair is wet, it tends to clump together revealing more of your scalp. It is best to compare photos of your hair when its dry and not styled.
  • Itchy scalp – This is usually caused by dry, irritated skin which doesn’t contribute to long term hair loss.

Treatment options

If you know you’re suffering from hair loss and you want to take action, there are a variety of treatment options available.

Topical treatments containing minoxidil can help by increasing the blood flow to the hair follicles stimulating hair growth and preventing further hair loss.

Oral treatments such as finasteride is designed to block the enzyme 5a-reductase from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Other treatment options are available such as shampoos, light therapy or hair transplant.

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