“I’ve noticed my hairline starting to recede and I want to delay any further hair loss. How can I stop it?”Ben, 32, Derby
It’s common for a receding hairline to be the first type of hair loss you notice, and it can start at any time during your adult life. Hair loss affects millions of men of all ages worldwide, but it can easily be stopped before it progresses with the help of clinically proven treatments.
In 95% of early hair loss cases, the cause is male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. This is hereditary and caused by a sensitivity to DHT, a hormone made from testosterone. It causes your hair follicles to shrink, which stops them creating new hairs. As I’ve mentioned, a receding hairline is often the first sign of male pattern baldness — here’s what you should look out for to catch hair loss as early as possible:
Your hairline typically begins receding just above your temples, and this can start any time after puberty. It usually forms a rounded ‘M’ shape at first, leaving a V-shaped area of hair on the forehead that’s known as a ‘widow’s peak’.
Thinning on the crown
Another area to look at is your crown, or the top part of the back of your head. You may start forming a bald spot there as your hair begins to thin.
All-over hair loss
Shedding is a natural part of your hair’s life cycle, but if you notice more hair than usual on your pillow or clothes, it may be a sign that you’re starting to experience hair loss.
Genetics, age and hormonal factors can all contribute to the development of male pattern baldness. Fortunately, there are several proven prescription treatments that can help you stop hair loss, and even promote regrowth. The earlier you start treating it, the more hair you’ll save. These medications are popular, easy to use and widely successful at preventing further hair loss.
Finasteride is an oral medication that can help prevent hair loss and even aid regrowth. It works by inhibiting the production of DHT, the hormone that causes your follicles to shrink, so you can keep growing healthy hair. You just need to take one tablet daily to see results, and it’s effective for as long as you take it. However, if you stop, you may start noticing further hair loss.
Minoxidil is a topical foam treatment that’s applied directly to your scalp to help stop hair loss. When your old hairs have naturally shed, it stimulates your hair follicles to grow new ones to replace them. It also helps increase blood flow to your scalp. More blood means more oxygen and nutrients, which are essential for healthy hair growth. You need to apply it twice daily, but it’s easy to include in your grooming routine because the formula is unscented and dissolves quickly.
How quickly will you see results?
With finasteride, you could notice a reduction in hair loss within three to six months. After six months, your hair should continue to grow and get thicker, improving your scalp coverage. 99% of men report a visible improvement when taking finasteride. Minoxidil needs to be used for at least six weeks for it to be effective, and you should start noticing results within 8–16 weeks. Consistency and regular treatment is key — you’ll only see results for as long as you’re using either finasteride or minoxidil, and you’ll start noticing hair loss again if you stop.
Some lifestyle changes can also help you maintain your hair and scalp health, including quitting smoking, getting enough iron and looking after your scalp. For more information about habits that can affect your hair health, check out this blog post.
Dr Tim Jollyman is a General Medical Practitioner and Clinical Lead at MedExpress.
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