Three Signs You Might Be Losing Your Hair (And What To Do About It)
As any man who has ever had a really good – or worse, really bad – fade will tell you, hair matters.
Problem is, the hair loss stats aren't on men's side. Around a fifth of men will experience some sort of hair loss by age 20, rising to a quarter by 30 and eventually reaching 70 percent of men overall. The good news is there's a difference between temporary hair loss through factors such as stress or seasonal change and hereditary, male pattern baldness.
"Each strand of hair has its own growth cycle," says Jamie Stevens, an award-winning hairdresser who, in addition to launching a range of products for thinning hair, has trimmed the tresses of Leonardo DiCaprio. "As we age, our follicles shrink, resulting in shorter, finer and less pigmented strands which not only make the hair look thinner but are also much more likely to shed."
The trouble comes when growth ceases altogether. So before you reach that stage, learn how to put the brakes on baldness by looking out for these three vital hair loss signs.
The Sign: Visible Scalp
Like most signs of ageing, hair loss doesn't happen overnight. Rather than clumps of hair clogging the plughole, the process generally begins slowly at the temples or the crown. Or, in some unfortunate cases, both. If you notice your forehead is growing, talk it over with your barber – or better, a doctor – before resigning yourself to a baseball cap or (shudder) a combover.
The Fix: Style It Out
"Different genes affect different areas of the hair," says Stevens. But wherever your follicles have shut up shop, a good cut and the right products can help. "Ask for the back and sides of the hair to be cut shorter and thinner, which makes the top area look thicker and fuller. When styling, natural keratin hair fibres can help conceal thinning areas, as can swapping wet-look products like pomade for a matte clay."
The Sign: Lighter Weight
The old wives' tale about hair loss coming from your mother's father may not be true, but baldness is largely determined by the genetic cards you're dealt. That's not to say you should take it laying down. By acting early with hair that is losing density, you can prolong the hair's lifecycle and anchor it more firmly into the scalp.
The Fix: Stimulate The Scalp
"Leafy greens, nuts and oily fish are go-tos for good scalp health, or you can take a hair supplement," says Stevens. "In the shower, always use a shampoo with an active thickening complex, and take time to massage it in with your fingertips to stimulate blood flow in the hair follicles."
The Sign: Bald Patches
Preventative measures are all well and good, but if you're shedding enough strands for a year's supply of Donald Trump toupees, you might want to consider more drastic options. There are only two recognised medical treatments for hair loss: Finasteride and Minoxidil (labelled as Regain). Though both are clinically proven to slow the balding process, they can't grow hair back, which is when the big guns come in.
The Fix: The Big Guns
"For more severe cases of hair loss, hair transplants are a great option," says Stevens. "There are three techniques. The first is tattooing, which mimics a few day's growth and works well for short hair. The second (known as FUT) involves removing a strip of hair from which follicles are taken and injected into problem areas. The third (FUE) involves removing individual follicles from a donor area and placing them into where the hair loss has occurred."
Does all this sound like hard work? The easiest option is of course to go the way of Jason Statham, Vin Diesel and The Rock, and shave it all off: action hero hair on an indie movie budget. Problem solved.