For many men, hair loss can be a sensitive subject. But, if you’ve noticed that your hairline seems to be moving backwards, or that your hair looks thinner than before, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that two-thirds of American men will experience some kind of hair loss by the time they are 35.
Despite this, you may still be wondering exactly what it is that’s having an effect on your thinning hair. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this, as a variety of factors can play a role. Below, we’ve outlined seven of the most common and important things that can affect hair loss in men, as well as some steps you can take to try and slow down the process.
The first, and probably most obvious, factor that can affect male hair loss is age. We associate hair loss with age for a reason, as the likelihood of experiencing it increases as you get older. A recent study showed that 16% of men aged between 18 and 29 experienced moderate to extensive hair loss. This figure increased to 53% for men aged 40-49. This trend continues, with around 80% of men experiencing hair loss by the time they are 80.
However, while the general pattern shows that an increase in hair loss corresponds to an increase in age, this may not always be the case. For some men, rapid hair loss may already occur at a very young age, while others may experience very little, even as they get older.
Unfortunately, as with age, some factors that affect hair loss are simply out of our control. Genetics is one of these, and is something that plays one of the biggest roles in men losing their hair. Hair loss genetics are determined by a combination of genes from both sides of your family tree, so if there’s a history of baldness there then the chances are high that you will start to experience it at some point too.
Similarly to age though, this isn’t a 100% determining factor. Patterns can be broken, so even if your family has a history of baldness, it’s not a guarantee that the gene will affect you.
This may be a surprising one, but studies have shown that smoking can be an accelerating factor in male hair loss. In fact, frontal hair loss has been shown to be more common in men who smoke.
Researchers have argued that this is due to the fact that blood flow to hair follicles is restricted by smoking, causing the follicles to die and fall out. Cutting down smoking, or stopping altogether, could help to slow down the rate of your hair loss.
4. Existing Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions and illnesses can have an effect on hair loss in men. Conditions such as diabetes for example, often damage the immune system which can then have the knock-on effect of causing spot baldness.
Known medically as alopecia areata, this type of hair loss causes partial baldness in some or all areas of the body.
5. Stress Levels
Stress can affect your health in a variety of different ways. Experiencing hair loss is one of the main signs that you might be overly-stressed.
This stress-induced hair loss can stem for work or personal life worries, or following trauma after an accident or injury. High stress levels can accelerate hair loss in men, or even directly cause it in those who haven’t experienced it before.
6. Proper Hair Care
This may sound obvious, but ensuring that you’re taking care of your hair properly can play an important role in slowing down or preventing hair loss. Firstly, try to avoid hairstyles that pull at the roots of your hair, like ponytails for example.
You can also try specialist hair loss shampoos that can help to slow down the rate at which your hair falls out. If none of these temporary hair care solutions work, then more permanent options like a hair transplant may also be worth considering.
7. Diet and Alcohol
A well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, vitamins, and protein can really help to keep your hair healthy and slow down the rate of hair loss. Alongside this, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to cut down your alcohol and caffeine intake.
Increased caffeine consumption has been linked with frontal hair loss, while reducing alcohol consumption can help to slow down hair loss on the sides and top of your head.