Here at London School of Barbering, we all now that hair loss is a hair condition that most men are all too familiar with, but may not know the explicit details of why hair loss causes actually occur. Hair loss has got to be probably one of those most dreaded fears that every man experiences. Most men would rather avoid hair loss, as it can have a big effect on their overall groomed appearance. Saying that, we can’t deny that some men rock the bald look; Bruce Willis, The Rock and Vin Diesel, just to name a few! Listen to our expert educator Yiannis Karageorgos answer all the common hair loss questions in his exclusive interview below:
Many men do tend to go down the avenues of finding options such as hair growth products, thinning hair treatment, hair regrowth and hair loss treatments to help the problematic issue of hair loss. Seeking such types of treatments like these can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much knowledge around this topic.
Forget about the myths and misconceptions on the saga of hair loss causes, we have got real answers from our barber expert Yiannis Karageorgos, who is our talented educator here at London School of Barbering. He has studied Trichology Science, so is very knowledgeable in this specialist field. Read his special interview below to find out the truth behind hair loss and discover things that you may never have known about this common problem of hair loss experienced by a high percentage of men.
LSB: What are the main causes of hair loss experienced by men?
YK: There are several myths surrounding what causes hair loss in men. In most of male hair loss cases, the cause is ‘androgenetic alopecia’, commonly known as ‘male pattern baldness’ or ‘male pattern hair loss’.
Androgenetic alopecia is non-reversible; it is a genetically determined hair loss condition that only affects the top of the scalp, never affects the back or the sides of the hair. Androgenetic alopecia affects almost all men to some extent, at some point in their lives. Over 90% of men suffer from male pattern hair loss. However, it affects different populations at different rates.
Men that suffer with androgenetic alopecia inherit hair follicles that are genetically susceptible to the effects of an androgen hormone called ‘dihydrotestosterone’ (DHT), or dihydrotestosterone in some areas of the scalp. Dihydrotestosterone hormone is a derivative of ‘testosterone’. Testosterone is turned into Dihydrotestosterone by specific enzymes. The conversion of testosterone to DHT is regulated by the ‘enzyme 5-alpha reductase’.
LSB: Which are the main factors for men to lose their hair?
YK: The 2 main factors that contribute to androgenetic alopecia are genetics and hormones, hence the name of the condition.
Androgenetic is a composite word. The first part of the word is ‘Andro’ and the second is ‘Genetic’. Andro which in Greek means male, refers to the ‘androgens’, and genetic refers to the inherited gene necessary for male androgenetic alopecia to occur.
The genes largely determine whether a man will show androgenetic alopecia, the age of its onset, the pattern and the degree of progress.
LSB: Does stress effect hair loss or is it a misconception?
YK: Stress itself cannot cause hair loss. However, severe psychological stress can lead to a temporary, fully reversible hair loss condition known as ‘Telogen effluvium’.
LSB: If there is baldness that runs in your family, do you have a higher risk of losing your hair or is it genetic?
YK: Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition that can be inherited from either a parent, or both. However, it is not certain how exactly these baldness genes are passed on. For example, an individual may suffer from baldness, while his father and his brother have a perfect, thick head of hair, and vice versa.
It is possible for a man to be a carrier of balding genes and not suffer from baldness. It is important to note that baldness genes on its own cannot make a man lose his hair. It is the presence of hormones and time that enable the genes to express themselves.
LSB: How can you detect early stages of going bald?
YK: Early stages or signs of going bald are noticeable thinning on the top, a receding hairline, excessive hair on the pillow, excessive hair in the bath plug or shower bed and on brushes, combs and hands when styling the hair in the morning. However, many men do not identify their hair loss until it has become advanced or until a close friend or family informs them about it.
LSB: Is there anything you can do to stop going bald, if you spot early stages of balding?
YK: Although, very rarely men spot their hair loss at an early stage, yes you can stop it! There are several treatments that can be prescribed, which can prevent further hair loss and even increase hair growth.
Please note that those treatments cannot cure the condition and only promote results for as long as they are used. Also, those treatments cannot promote hair in bald areas where the follicles are completely damaged.
LSB: At what age can hair loss begin?
YK: The age that hair loss begins is variable. In most patients, male pattern hair loss begins at any time after puberty, when the levels of androgens rise in the blood. The progression of the condition tends to be very slow, spanning several years to decades.
However, an earlier age of onset may predict a quicker rate of progression. Male pattern hair loss progresses rapidly between the ages of 20-30. After the age of 30-35, shedding starts slowing down, as the levels of androgens in the blood start reducing. In older men with androgenetic alopecia, the hair loss slows down even more. Hair loss stabilizes together with the gradual decline of androgen levels in the blood.
LSB: How long does it take for a guy to go completely bald?
YK: The levels of DHT present, a person’s genes and their age contribute to how quickly hair loss happens. Men with excessive hair loss tend to lose a lot of their hair before the age of 30, while others won’t see any noticeable hair loss until they are in their late thirties and forties.
LSB: What treatment would you recommend for hair loss?
YK: There is no specific treatment to recommend, since every case is unique and several factors need to be considered before offering any advice.
Some of the current available treatments are hair transplantation/replacement, platelet rich plasma, micropigmentation to resemble shaven scalp, Dermaroller, hairpieces, cosmetics, Minoxidil solution, Finasteride tablets and Dutasteride. Low level laser therapy is also another safe alternative or additional treatment for androgenetic alopecia.
LSB: What are the possible side effects of treating hair loss?
YK: Side effects depend on the treatment used. Since there are various available treatments, the side effects vary too. For example, a topical solution may cause some local irritation, whilst a hair transplant may cause an infection.
LSB: Do hair-thickening shampoos for men actually work?
YK: Hair-thickening shampoos do work to an extent. They can fake the appearance of hair and make them appear thicker, but they don’t actually fix thinning hair, as they can’t promote the growth of new hairs or treat the follicles. Healthy hair starts from within the body.
LSB: What haircuts do you recommend for men who start experiencing a receding hairline?
YK: It is very common for men who start experiencing a receding hairline to seek advice from their barbers, since in many cases the barber is the first person that sees it. A barber’s creativity skills can help to make the hairline recession less visible, but this is only a temporary solution.
My personal advice is to visit a registered trichologist as soon as the receding hair becomes noticeable. A trichologist is a hair specialist, who can offer a lot more options to treat or stabilize the condition before it is too late.
Male pattern baldness is usually characterized by a receding hairline on the front of the head. Initially, the hair begins to recede above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape. Hair loss extends to the crown, the top of the head. Then, the thin area on the top of the head expands and in many cases ultimately unites with the front area, gradually developing a bald patch at the middle of the scalp.
However, the pattern and the development speed of hair loss in each person is different. The stages of progression of hair loss may or may not travel through each of all the stages and the development may stop at any time.
Also, as previously stated, after the age of 30-35, hair loss slows down and gradually stabilizes. Depending on the individual’s hair loss pattern and his hair density on the top, few haircuts could be recommended.
If hair loss does not extend to the crown and the top is still thick, there are few options such as messy one length all over with the hair on the sides covering the temples, French crop to cover the temples and recession hairline, short comb over to the side with high temple fade. If hair loss extends to the crown, the best option is to keep it short with clippers. High fades, particularly zero makes the top look thicker and the thin temples and crown less visible.
LSB: Have you got any insider tips or advice on avoiding hair loss for men?
YK: Male pattern baldness cannot be avoided, but seeking medical advice as soon as hair thinning becomes noticeable can help to prevent further hair loss. Also, following a healthy balanced diet, exercise regularly, wash the hair with a mild shampoo and avoid damaging them with chemicals and heat are beneficial measures for maintaining healthy hair.
It’s important to do your research before beginning any hair loss treatment, and if you’re in any doubt, then consult a professional first. Remember, hair loss doesn’t have to ruin your style, and clever barbering and a keen eye can keep your hair looking great! For more information on how to improve your own barbering skills, you can see our range of barbering courses here.