No man wants to experience hair loss, but unfortunately it’s a part of life that most males will go through. It can be an emotional time to see your hair thinning or balding. A change in appearance can cause distress, as well as shame and embarrassment. This is no way to live, but thankfully there are things you can do to manage and treat it. Below, a guide to hair loss including how to navigate the situation and ways to regain your confidence.
Know Your Treatment Options
Just because you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning doesn’t mean you have to live with it! There are various treatments available to address these issues, all at different levels of loss and price points.
Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is a topical, over-the-counter treatment that can be applied to the head. It is one of two FDA-approved solutions for hair loss. Minoxidil works to generate hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. The treatment opens up blood vessels by relaxing them. It should be applied regularly, up to two times per day. It often takes at least 4-6 months to see results, and you must continue applying the solution to experience the benefits.
The second FDA-approved solution is finasteride. While this is also available as a topical, it’s commonly prescribed as a pill. This once-daily medication works by blocking the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. DHT is associated with hair follicle miniaturization, which leads to hair loss. This medication is often prescribed alongside minoxidil for optimal results.
The most permanent hair loss treatment is a hair transplant. There are two widely known types of hair transplants: follicular unit transplants (FUT) and follicular unit extractions (FUE). FUTs involve removing strips of tissue and replanting them, while FUE transplants are more minimally invasive. During a FUE procedure, individual healthy hair follicles are transferred to balding sections of the scalp. This is a fairly precise procedure, so it can take up to eight hours.
Hair transplant cost varies based on how many grafts, or hair follicles, will need to be removed and transplanted. As you discuss your hair transplant options with a healthcare provider, you may decide to focus on one area of the scalp. This can reduce the total cost while also leaving you with satisfactory results. That said, the average cost is between $8,000 to $20,000. This is a hefty chunk of change, but it can be worthwhile for many struggling with hair loss.
Consider Maintenance Styling Tips
Whether you’ve decided to start treatment or not, proper hair styling is essential to deter thinning. Certain styling and hair care techniques can actually cause more damage, leading to more thinning. Blow drying your hair on too high of a setting can damage hair follicles, for example. And brushing or combing your hair roughly can pull strands out. The key is to be gentle with your hair. New hairs are especially delicate and need to be taken care of appropriately.
Many men find success with keeping a shorter, textured cut. A buzz cut, for instance, can smooth the appearance of male pattern baldness. Your hair texture may actually give the look of a fuller head of hair when it is shorter. Those with a receding hairline may also opt for a buzzed look. Talk with your barber to see if they have any suggestions for a new style so you can feel confident and look good too.
Ponder Multiple Ways to Foster Hair Regrowth
You might be surprised to learn adding a few more general wellness steps to your current routine can accelerate hair regrowth. For example, applying castor oil to your head via scalp massage can boost growth up to five times the typical amount. Also, rosemary essential oil has been associated with hair growth. However, be sure to dilute any type of essential oil with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, before topical application.
And while there isn’t a ton of research available yet, some hair experts may recommend taking specific supplements. Folic acid may spark hair growth and promote thickness, while biotin may help combat thinning hair. In some instances, hair loss may be a sign that a deeper medical issue is going on. If you suspect that to be the case, getting blood work done to look at your vitamin and mineral levels may be needed.
Remember Confidence is Key
Even with treatment or hair style management, having a full head of hair won’t happen overnight. You’ll likely go through a transition phase when new hairs are starting to grow but thinning or balding is still present. You may feel frustrated that your hair isn’t growing back fast enough or you aren’t seeing results quickly.
In these instances, find alternative ways to boost how you feel. A few new wardrobe pieces can improve your self-esteem. Or, try talk therapy to chat through your feelings with a trained therapist or mental health specialist. Through this, remember you are your own worst critic. How you present yourself through your actions and words is much more important than how you look.