What Causes Hair Loss?
What are the most common types of hair loss in men?
On average men lose 50 – 100 hairs a day, which are replaced by new ones. When you lose more than you gain, this imbalance leads to thinning and patchy hair loss (or bald spots). There are different types of hair loss of which the most common are androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium.
Androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common types of hair loss experienced by both men and women. When men have this condition, it is referred to as male pattern baldness. This is a permanent type of hair loss, which is characterized by the thinning of hair at the temples and crown, and a receding hairline.
Male pattern baldness is a very real problem that affects a vast majority of men at some point in their lives. A receding hairline in most cases is more than just hair falling out as it has also been linked to low self-esteem and confidence.
Permanent hair loss can affect everyone but is more common in men. Studies show that 20 percent of men have experienced noticeable hair loss in their 20s, 30 percent in their 30s, 40 percent in their 40s, and the probability increases proportionally with age.
Telogen effluvium (TE)
Another common type of hair loss is telogen effluvium (TE), which is a temporary loss of hair typically caused by a stressful event. Men with TE lose scalp hairs as a growing number of hair follicles are in a resting state (also known as telogen) and stop producing new hair.
What causes hair loss in men?
Men lose hair based on a number of factors like genes, hormonal imbalances, smoking, medications, or skin conditions.
Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) depends on the production and sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone.
DHT is produced naturally in the body. It plays a significant role during puberty to form male characteristics like the jawline, changes in the voice, and hair growth in different parts of the body. When DHT binds to hair follicles, it causes them to lose their strength and reduces hair growth. This eventually leads to a steep drop in the production of new hair.
However, not all men respond to DHT the same way. Some are more sensitive resulting in an accelerated amount of hair loss, while others have DHT flowing in their bodies without having any damage to their hair growth. The more sensitive the hair follicles are to DHT, the more noticeable the hair loss is.
The genetic makeup of a man could also play a role in male pattern baldness. The androgen receptor (AR) gene codes for androgen receptor protein. This protein assists hair follicles detect testosterone circulating in the body. So this gene is responsible to determine the sensitivity to DHT. The genes responsible for MPHL can be inherited from either side of one’s family.
- Skin disorders
There are many skin conditions that could lead to hair loss. Some of them are temporary while others might cause permanent damage to the hair follicles. Some of the examples include:
- Dandruff is caused by overactive oil glands on the scalp. An itchy scalp could cause excessive scratching and this could in turn damage the hair follicles.
- Allergic reactions to hair dyes could cause some permanent damage to the follicles resulting in hair loss.
- Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles. It’s usually caused by staph bacteria or fungi.
- Lichen planopilaris is an inflammatory scalp condition thought to be due to a faulty immune system.
- Other factors
Hair loss is also seen after major surgery. Other common causes of hair loss include smoking and Trichotillomania.
There is help. In addition to toupes, wigs, hair loss treatments are more effective than ever before and are only getting better with more research. Learn more about the various treatments for hair loss or talk to our medical team to discuss the best plan for you.