19 Jul Hormones and Hair Loss in Men
Male pattern baldness – also known as androgenic alopecia – is something that can affect upwards of 50% of all men1 over the age of 50. Typically, if you experience any hair loss because of male pattern baldness it will be down to your genetics. What’s more, if there’s male pattern baldness on both sides of your family, there’s around an 80% chance2 you’ll experience hair loss at some point in your life.
However, if we look closer at some of the root causes of this form of hair loss, our hormones also have a major part to play.3 Moreover, the way our hormones impact on our potential hair loss can also be tied back to our genetics.4
Here we’ve explained more about how hormones and hair loss in men are connected, the science behind it and what you can do to help combat any hormone-related excessive shedding.
Can hormones cause hair loss?
The main hormone involved in facilitating hair loss is testosterone – but more specifically it’s the androgen (which is a sex hormone) dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is derived from testosterone with the aid of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.5
Around 10% of a man’s testosterone gets converted into DHT on a daily basis and it contributes to the development of ‘male’ sex characteristics, like our armpit hair, deeper voice and muscle mass. However, what it can also do is cause us to lose the hair on our heads – and this is where the mechanisms of male pattern baldness are involved.
DHT can connect to receptors found in our hair follicles – a process called ‘miniaturisation’ – which makes them shrink and become weaker, producing progressively finer and shorter strands of hair. Gradually, the growth cycles for these follicles will end completely and the hair doesn’t grow back.
However, just having higher levels of DHT doesn’t automatically mean this binding will occur and you’ll experience hair loss.6 Instead, this is where your genes come into play, as some men’s hair follicles are genetically more sensitive to the effects of DHT than others. In turn this means there’s an increased likelihood of experiencing male pattern baldness sooner and more significantly.
Signs of hormone-related hair loss
With all of the above in mind, the signs of hormone-related hair loss in men are the same as the telltale signs of male pattern baldness. The most obvious one to look out for is your hairline beginning to recede and forming an ‘M’ shape, as this is the common pattern seen with male pattern baldness. Other than this, you may also notice a gradual thinning of your hair on the top of your head and in particular around your crown.7
Another way to check for hair loss is to simply feel the thickness of your hair to physically feel where it is finer. Also, you can try looking at pictures of yourself when you were younger to see if there’s any visible difference, as the gradual process can be hard to spot by yourself.
Options for stopping hormone-related hair loss
A popular hair loss treatment which directly acts as a ‘DHT blocker’ is Finasteride.8 This is something you can get prescribed and all you need to do is take one tablet a day. As the description suggests, this then acts to stop DHT from affecting your hair follicles and helps prevent the effects of male pattern baldness.9
While it doesn’t recover the follicles you’ve already lost, it does allow your remaining ones to recover and start regrowing stronger and thicker hair again. Then typically after six months or longer you’ll start to notice you have a fuller-looking head of hair.
If you stop taking the treatment though your hair loss will return. In addition, it’s important to note that Finasteride doesn’t completely stop the effects of male pattern baldness, it can just dramatically reduce them. As such, you may still see some hair loss over time, even when using the treatment.
Further help with hormones and hair loss
Another option you have is to speak with a hair loss expert or trichologist who can advise you on the connection between your hormones and your hair loss. This can be useful because it might be that there are some other underlying circumstances that are causing you to lose your hair.
What’s more, you could also look to take the Fagron TrichoTest™, as this scientifically validated test can indicate which elements from your genetic coding and your lifestyle may be contributing to your hair loss before recommending effective hair loss treatment options for you.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, you can find out more about the test here and how you can make a booking.