If you’re struggling with hair loss, you know how difficult it can be to endure. While women tend to spend more time on their hair, many men still associate their personalities with theirs. Whether you’re known for your curls or bright red color, your hair is a prominent feature. So as you lose more and more of yours, you may feel like you’re losing a part of yourself.
But don’t lose hope because there’s good news. These days, there are numerous ways to cope with hair loss. You can use medications to prevent loss and potentially even regrow your hair. You can also make changes to your lifestyle that promote hair growth or pursue therapeutic paths that make the process more bearable. Read on to learn about four resources you can draw on to cope with hair loss.
Right off the bat, you should know that hair medications can be incredibly effective. Modern treatments have come leaps and bounds compared to those from the decades before. No longer is using a hair treatment just a flip of a coin. These days, thousands of men have used medication to restore their hair.
One of the main reasons men start to lose their hair is when their follicles don’t function properly. There are two reasons that follicles stop working, so there are two primary medications for hair loss. The oral, and sometimes topical, medication finasteride and the topical solution minoxidil are both FDA-approved to treat hair loss.
Finasteride works to prevent your body from converting the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. DHT binds to your follicles causing them to shrink and wither away, meaning they can’t grow hair. Minoxidil also combats follicle miniaturization. Additionally, it ensures healthy blood flow to your scalp. Your blood is full of vital nutrients that are essential for maintaining hair health. Many men choose to combine these treatments. Talk to a medical professional about your treatment options.
As amazing as modern hair medications are, they don’t work for everyone. They only work if your hair follicles are still healthy enough to regenerate. If areas of your scalp have been bald for a decent amount of time, a hair transplant may be a better restoration option.
A curious thing about your follicles is that the ones on the top of your head are surprisingly sensitive. The follicles on the back and sides of your head are much more resistant to miniaturization. So the goal of surgery is to take stronger follicles and transplant them to the balding areas of your head. If this sounds like an interesting solution you’d consider, there are two main procedures to consider.
Follicular unit transplantation is the older transplant method. It’s been around since the early 1990s. During the procedure, a strip of skin from the back of the head is removed and divided into individual follicular units. A surgeon then transplants those units in balding areas. Follicular unit extraction, on the other hand, is a newer procedure, developed in the 2000s. It involves extracting and implanting individual follicular units. Both methods provide permanent results. However, there are some differences when considering recovery time and scarring.
Addressing hair loss isn’t only about taking advantage of external resources. It’s also about leveraging your internal resources to the best of your ability. In addition to hormonal imbalances, hair loss can also be caused by malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. To combat these causes, it’s important to develop and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. That way you’ll increase the likelihood your hair will be healthy too.
Maintaining a balanced diet is a big part of keeping your body, and thus your hair, healthy. In particular, you’ll want to incorporate certain foods that actively support hair health. Chia seeds, walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3s that encourage hair growth. Additionally, vitamins A through E affect your hair in numerous ways from increasing sebum production to protecting follicles from environmental damage. Research which hair-healthy foods you’re lacking and do your best to incorporate them into your diet.
Beyond diet, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise. Blood flow is crucial for supplying follicles with essential nutrients, and exercise keeps your blood moving. Likewise, be diligent about getting the recommended six to eight hours of sleep per night. Good sleep does wonders for keeping your body’s hormone balance in check. It can also reduce stress, which largely contributes to shedding.
Finally, be honest with yourself about your emotions. As mentioned, many men identify with their hair. So, as their hair loss progresses, their self-esteem and confidence tend to go with it. If you’re struggling emotionally with your hair loss, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of those feelings. And, if possible, seek support for them.
Keep in mind that you’re not alone. According to the American Hair Loss Association, around two out of three men worldwide will experience hair loss in their lifetime by the age of 35. The good news about this is that numerous support groups exist for men just like you. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation, the American Hair Loss Association, and Alopecia World are just a few of the many names out there. Connecting with others going through a similar situation can do wonders to lighten your mental burden.
Similarly, it’s worthwhile to pursue therapy, particularly if you’re noticing symptoms of depression. A good therapist will act as a mirror, giving you a better look at your internal state. They’ll also provide a road map for addressing your emotions and improving your relationship with them. Don’t let the stigma surrounding therapy stop you from seeking support. You’re only human, and there’s no shame in asking for help from time to time.
As you can see, there are many avenues to explore when it comes to addressing and coping with hair loss. You can pursue treatments like medication or surgery. Or you can explore internal paths, like developing healthy habits or processing your emotions. Every man’s journey is different. What’s important is finding the path that works for you and taking it one step at a time.