Hereditary Hair Loss: Is There a Solution for Hereditary Hair Loss?
One of the most common types of hair loss is hereditary-pattern baldness. It affects both men and women and can be noticeable at any age. Hereditary hair loss is naturally occurring and is caused by a mix of genetics, hormones, and aging. Hair goes through cycles of falling out and regrowing. On average we lose up to 100 hairs per day. Balding occurs when the hair falls out,but a thinner strand replaces the previous hair.
Hereditary hair loss in men typically begins around age 30 but can begin any time after going through puberty. According to the American Hair Loss Association, two-thirds of men around 35 years of age will have noticeable hair loss. 25% of men who have hereditary hair loss will start to see symptoms at the age of 21, and this can be a significant cause of low-self-esteem. While some men will let nature run its course, others want to take action to preserve and regrow their hair.
Symptoms of Hair Loss
Hereditary hair loss is typically a gradual process. The first symptom is the thinning of hair. Some men may not notice their hair thinning until it progresses to the next stage when bald spots are forming on the scalp from complete hair loss. The areas first affected by hair loss are typically the temples and crown.
The hair loss will then progress in an M-shape until only the sides and back of the scalp remain with hair. This is why many men first notice they are losing hair when a bald spot forms on the top of the head. It is important to note that complete hair loss in one spot on the scalp is likely due to another condition and should be seen by a doctor.
Is it Preventable?
Hair loss can occur for many different reasons. Some of the causes are preventable such as stress, poor diet, overstyling, and poor lifestyle. Most reasons behind hair loss, however, are not preventable.
Hereditary hair loss, lupus, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disorders, a side effect from prescribed medications, and aging are all causes that are inevitable and cannot be stopped from the beginning. Fortunately, further progression of unpreventable hair loss can be halted.
Hair Loss Treatments
There are various types of treatments available to prevent further hair loss from occurring. It is up to you and your doctor to determine which is the best course of action for you. Not all medications and treatments will produce the same results for every person.
The first method of treatment is minoxidil, popularly known as Rogaine. Rogaine is available over-the-counter and is approved by the FDA. It has been proven to stimulate new hair growth and stop further hair loss from occurring. There are different types of Rogaine on the market for both men and women; determining which formula is right for you should be discussed with a doctor, as well as any current medications.
Rogaine works best if it is used in the beginning stages of hair loss. It is also a product that requires consistency over a long period of time. Once the product is not being usedanymore, the regrown hair will fall out. It is recommended to use it twice a day.
Finasteride is another available treatment for hereditary hair loss. It is an FDA approved drug that requires a prescription to obtain. The pill works to inhibit the formation of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the byproduct of testosterone that is responsible for damaging hair follicles and thinning hair.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, researchers have found that up to 99% of men using finasteride have prevented hair loss and that two-thirds of the men had new hair growth. The medication needs to be used consistently to have beneficial results.
Minoxidil and finasteride are the top proven medications to help with hair loss. If this is not the right choice for you or the hair loss is significant, then surgical procedures may be the next treatment option.
A common surgery is a hair transplant. This is a timely process that involves removing individual hair follicles from an area with no or little hair loss to the site of the bald spot. It can take a couple of years for the full benefits of a hair transplant to be experienced.
A lesser-known surgical procedure is a scalp reduction. This is when portions of the bald scalp are removedto reduce the size of a bald spot. Similarly, another procedure known as hair flaps involves stretching a piece of scalp with healthy hair growth to an area that has hair loss.
Of course, if medication or surgery is not something you want wigs and toupees can offer increased self-esteem without a long-term commitment.
If you are concerned about hair loss, then consulting a doctor is the best route. Any treatment plan must be followed through for several months to see if it is beneficial to you. This is because the hair cycle is not a fast process and it can take several months to grow new hair.
Surgical procedures are not without their risks. While each treatment has its fair share of success stories, there are always chances of complications. It is not uncommon to get an infection, numbness, folliculitis (infected or inflamed hair follicles), loss of transplanted hair, headaches, and more.
It should also be expected that the use of a medication may be necessary to prevent hair loss in the areas where surgery did not take place.
If you want to determine if you will have hereditary hair loss all it takes is a look at the family tree. It is a popular myth that it is the mother’s side of the family that determines hereditary hair loss,but this is untrue.
Take a look at both the men and women on the maternal and paternal sides of your family. Did your grandfather’s experience hair loss? What about your parents? This can help you determine if you will experience hair loss before it begins.