Hair loss in men can put a damper on self-esteem and confidence. Luckily, a combination of therapy approaches and hair loss treatments can help you accept and manage male pattern hair loss.
Why Do Some Men Lose Their Hair?
There are many reasons for hair loss in men. Alopecia can occur due to hormonal problems, mechanical follicle damage, autoimmune conditions, or as a result of chemotherapy.
The most common cause of male hair loss is androgenic alopecia (also known as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness). In this condition, the scalp becomes more sensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shortens hair growth cycle length and reduces hair follicle output. The result is fewer hairs growing over time in certain areas like on the top of the head and over the temples. The hairs that do grow are thinner and more breakable than before.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, approximately 50 percent of Caucasian men experience male pattern baldness. The condition runs in families and is more likely to happen as you get older.
Hair Loss and Self-Esteem
“Hair loss has been affecting men’s self-esteem for centuries, if not longer,” general practitioner and medical advisor Nikola Djordjevic, MD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “Long thick hair during ancient times was a symbol of masculinity and vitality, so it makes sense that men are psychologically affected by hair loss nowadays as well. Hair loss symbolizes aging and debility, which is why I think that men start feeling more depressed as their hair starts falling out.“
Multiple studies have linked male pattern hair loss to lowered self-esteem and decreased confidence. A 2019 study in the International Journal of Trichology found that androgenic alopecia lowered the quality of life for many men, with particular effects in the areas of self-perception and interpersonal relations. 2018 research in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology identified low self-esteem in many patients with androgenic alopecia and found that confidence can improve after hair transplantation treatment.
“Hair loss in men can affect self-esteem to the extent that a man believes his appearance to be an important part of what makes him a worthwhile or valuable person,” psychologist Paul Greene, PhD, says. “For men who are very invested in their appearance and who identify as a younger-looking man, hair loss can significantly impact self-esteem.”
Getting help from medical professionals is key for managing the problems of male pattern hair loss and lowered self-esteem. “If a man is experiencing significant self-esteem difficulties related to hair loss, the best choice is to seek help from a therapist,” says Greene. “Self-esteem is not easy to change, and we can benefit from professional help in making that kind of improvement.”
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Dermatologists can also prescribe a variety of treatments to manage male pattern baldness.
“Androgenetic alopecia can be treated with topical minoxidil, oral medication like finasteride, or even certain hair vitamins (Nutrafol and Viviscal - these have clinical studies to support hair growth),” dermatologist Edidiong CN Kaminska, MD, MBS, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “Also platelet-rich plasma injections can help regrow hair. Hair transplant is also an option for men that have stopped shedding and would like to replace the lost hairs.”
There are also low-level light therapy devices that can be done at home to stimulate hair growth. These devices for hair regrowth come as hats, helmets, caps, combs, and headbands. Most use low level laser technology to stimulate the scalp, hair follicles, promoting hair growth and blood flow. Laser caps can slow the progression of hair loss when used consistently.
Don’t wait. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible results. Speak to a medical professional today and begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.