Common causes for hair loss among Singaporean male

It is common to lose around 50 to 100 strands of hair in a day.

The hair follicles go through their cycle where the hair falls out and regrows.

However, a receding hairline beginning at the sides of the forehead and thinning hair is a sign of male pattern hair loss.

As many as 85% of men will have some sort of hair loss in their lifetime and this happens for different reasons.

What is male pattern hair loss?

Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men.

A study has shown that over 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 will be affected by male pattern baldness to some extent.

What causes male pattern hair loss?

1) Genetics

The most common causes of hair loss in men are genetics or having a family history of baldness.

Research has found that male pattern baldness is associated with male hormones called androgens.

The androgens have many functions with one of its most important functions including regulating hair growth.

With male pattern hair loss, this growth cycle begins to weaken and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands of hair.

Eventually, the cycle will stunt hair growth, and no new hair will grow in its place.

2) Nutritional deficiency

Sometimes hair loss can be a sign of nutrient deficiency in the body.

Crash dieting can be one of the causes of hair loss and thinning of the hair.

Like the skin, hair health can be used as a sign of how healthy a person’s body is.

Certain medical conditions can also cause hair loss and this includes certain cancers, side effects of medications, thyroid conditions, and anabolic steroids.

3) Scalp diseases

Fungal conditions of the scalp can cause inflammation which leads to hair loss.

If the scalp is infected, it may cause permanent hair loss when a rash, redness, pain, peeling of the scalp, hair breakage, patchy hair loss, or an unusual pattern of hair loss accompanies the hair loss.

A skin biopsy and blood tests also may be necessary to diagnose disorders responsible for hair loss.

Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss.

In most cases, hair falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter.

There may be only a few patches, but alopecia areata can affect wider areas of the scalp.

Sometimes it can even affect body hair follicles as well.

If there is a complete loss of hair on the scalp, doctors diagnose alopecia totalis.

If there is hair loss throughout the entire body, the condition is called alopecia universalis.

4) Hairstyles

In this modern era, it is common to find more men having longer hairstyles.

However, keeping hairstyles like tight ponytails, cornrows, or braids for many years can lead to hair thinning which may lead to permanent hair loss.

It is important for men to take proper care of their scalp as well as their hair to avoid suffering from male pattern hair loss.

Other causes of hair loss

Hair loss can also indicate a health condition, such as lupus, a fungal infection, or a thyroid problem.

It has also been linked to prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or hypertension.

Stress or post-surgery patients may also suffer from male hair loss.

Side effects of some medications, such as anticoagulants, or blood thinners, and vitamin A supplements can be a cause of hair loss as well.

A number of genetic changes have been linked to male pattern baldness, but only one has been confirmed by research, the androgen receptor (AR) gene.

Other research has suggested that an abnormal quantity of a protein called prostaglandin D2 in the scalps of some men to hair loss.

Hair loss treatments

Many men see hair loss as a natural part of growing older, and they do not perceive the need for treatment.

However, this can cause emotional stress which will affect the mental health of the men losing hair.

When the right treatment is done, especially at an early stage, it is possible to manage hair loss and find a permanent solution to end the hair loss problem once and for all.

Here are some treatments that may help reduce hair loss:

1) Medical treatment

There are two types of medication that can be used as a hair loss treatment:

a) Minoxidil

Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical treatment that is directly applied to the affected areas on the scalp.

Minoxidil was originally tested to treat blood pressure, but some people noticed additional hair growth as a side effect while using it.

It may take 3 to 6 months for results to appear, and the medication must be used indefinitely to preserve effects.

b) Finasteride and Dutasteride

Finasteride, or Propecia, is an oral treatment available only on prescription.

Finasteride is a 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitor.

It prevents dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that plays a role in shrinking the scalp hair follicles.

It works by blocking the formation of DHT in the scalp that causes hair fall.

The effects can take more than 6 months to appear.

The 1 milligram (mg) tablet must usually be taken once a day for at least 3 months and if the pill is stopped, the effects will be reversed.

In rare cases, finasteride can cause sexual dysfunction.

This may include reduced libido, difficulty achieving an erection, and ejaculation disorders.

Other side effects include:

  • breast tissue tenderness or enlargement
  • skin rash
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or face
  • abdominal pain
  • back pain
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache

Dutasteride is similar to Finasteride.

It is also a 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitor.

3) Shampoo treatments

The shampoo treatment is another form of hair loss treatment that can help to strengthen hair follicles, and hair strands and get rid of any scalp inflammation.

There are two popular products and they include:

  • Ketoconazole 2 percent, also known as Nizoral
  • Pyrithione zinc 1 percent, or Head and Shoulders

These are likely to be less effective than finasteride and minoxidil and cannot be used if the hair loss is severe.

When to see a Doctor?

Anyone who is concerned that hair loss may be a symptom of a health problem should see a doctor.

If at-home hair loss treatments are no longer working then hair transplant surgery can be an option for anyone suffering from male pattern hair loss.