It is human nature to deflect and avoid topics that makes us feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Such is the case with balding. There are millions of men around the world today who are suffering from hair loss, but most of them are not eager to openly discuss their problems. If the problem of hair loss, hair thinning or hair shedding is not addressed properly, then balding becomes inevitable. Some have accepted balding as a natural process of aging. Others blame their loss of hair on unfavourable genetics. The mystery behind hair loss can only be unveiled when one takes an in-depth look at baldness. The more you learn about baldness, the easier it will be for you to prevent hair loss and hair thinning.
What is Alopecia?
The proper name for baldness is alopecia. This term is used to refer to the process of hair loss from the body, especially the loss of hair on the head. It is important to not mistake hair loss for hair shedding. When you shed hair, the bald patches are eventually covered up by a volume of newly grown hair. However, in the case of hair loss, the strands of hair that fall off your scalp never return. This means that the hair growth on your head is stunted and your hair ends up thinning out consistently.
Male Pattern Baldness and its Implications
Although you will see a lot of women fretting about hair loss, it is the men in general who are usually the most affected by balding or alopecia. As a result of that, alopecia is often sometimes labelled as male pattern baldness. Most people who suffer from hair loss usually look for one or two causes for their baldness. However, there are several factors which individually or collectively influence male pattern baldness. There are some forms of balding which can be attributed to autoimmune disorders. Examples of these include alopecia areata and alopecia totalis. Alopecia totalis is the most extreme form of hair loss, where the person suffering from the disorder loses all his hair on the head as well as the hair on the body.
What Results in Balding?
As mentioned before, balding or hair loss cannot be attributed to one single cause. There are a number of factors which are responsible for millions of men losing their hair every single day. Some of the most common factors among them include aging, traumatic damage, fungal infections on the scalp, deficiencies in nutrition and chemotherapy. In addition to these, there are other factors which can enhance the rate of hair loss such as stress and mental trauma. Usually, it takes about 15 to 25 years for a person who is suffering from male pattern baldness to become completely bald. If you find this news unsettling, then you will be horrified to know that some victims of male pattern baldness can lose all of their hair in a period as short as 5 years. In other words, you may lose all your hair in the time between two Soccer World Cups.
The Effect of Male Pattern Baldness on Hair Follicles
Hair follicles are responsible for the generation and growth of hair strands. It takes about 3 years for a follicle to produce and grow a hair. Once the 3 years are complete, the natural process of hair shedding takes place and the hair is removed from the scalp without any outside or internal interventions. Since this hair is shed (and not lost), the part of the scalp that has been left barren by the 3 year old hair is replaced by a new hair grown on the follicle. When a person suffers from male pattern baldness, the development of the scalp follicles is adversely affected. As a result, the follicle grows smaller and begins to shrink. The shrinking follicle produces thinner hair, which sheds much faster than thick, healthy hair. Eventually, the follicle shrinks to the extent where the new hair that is produced is too thin and too feeble to even make it out to the surface.
Is Male Pattern Baldness Treatable?
As horrendous as male pattern baldness sounds, the good news is that it can actually be treated. There are a number of approaches that you can take to slow down or stop hair loss. As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure. Therefore, by making certain lifestyle changes, you can drastically reduce the effects of male pattern baldness. For instance, stress is known to intensify male pattern baldness. Thus, if you are leading a stressful life, it is time to curb down your work rate and relax more.
If your condition has worsened to the degree where prevention is no longer an option, then you can resort to herbal remedies for hair loss or herbal medications that promote hair growth and regeneration.