Signs of Balding
Balding is one of the dreaded signs of ageing, of losing the youth and vitality that societies and cultures glorify. Like it or not, hair is a fashion statement and when your hair starts fading, even receding like the tide at the temples, you start to feel a little self-conscious.
Hair loss is extremely common. According to the American Hair Loss Association, two-thirds of men suffer from some form of hair loss by the time they turn thirty-five. Where male baldness is a simple fact of life, female pattern baldness is less well-known even though female cases make up forty percent of hair loss cases in America. Worse yet, three percent of visits to a pediatrician are because of children’s hair loss.
If hair loss is universal and affects all ages, then balding is more than just a symptom of ageing. So, what things can cause balding, and what are the signs? Let’s find out.
The Causes of Balding
Simplifying things a lot, the causes of baldness can fall into a few categories: medical, natural or emotional. On top of the aforementioned statistics, the American Association of Dermatologists says that eighty million people in America suffer specifically from one specific form of balding: hereditary hair loss.
A well-known fact is that if your parents show signs of balding, then you’re likely to also go bald when you get older as well. It all comes down to a type of keratin called KRT37; all hair on the human body contains KRT37 except for the hair on the human scalp. Then androgens come into play. Androgens are the key cause in making head hair become thinner or fall out.
Carriers of KRT37 will inevitably end up showing signs of balding to some degree, but fortunately, it can be managed easily through a variety of methods. Men can show signs of pattern baldness as well as their twenties, and women usually don’t show signs of balding until their forties.
Autoimmune Related Hair Loss
Something in your immune system malfunctions and attacks the root of the hair follicle, causing it to fall out. Autoimmune relation hair loss is better known as alopecia areata, and five percent of hair loss cases are as a result of alopecia areata. More extreme cases can become alopecia areata totalis (total loss of head hair) or alopecia areata universalis (complete loss of all body hair).
Another case where an autoimmune illness can cause hair loss is psoriasis. Psoriasis is caused when a certain signal of the body is faulty, leading to new skin cells developing too quickly. The skin cells don’t flake off quickly and they tend to pile up on the skin causing silver-white ‘scaly’ patches. The build-up of scales on the scalp can lead to hair loss in places where the psoriasis flare up occurs.
One of the more serious diseases that comes under the category of causing autoimmune related hair loss is lupus. One of the side effects of lupus is skin lesions that can cause permanent scarring. If the scars happen on the scalp, then hair loss will happen. Unfortunately, this type of hair loss is permanent.
Given how many potentially serious illnesses present with hair loss as an early sign of autoimmune illnesses, we urge people who experience hair loss with sudden rapidity to seek out their doctor first just to make sure that it’s nothing serious.
As we mentioned, the amount of hair on your head is ultimately controlled by androgens, specifically DHT. DHT is created when testosterone is broken down by specific reactors in in the body and tends to naturally collect at the scalp. Therefore, any situation that involves hormonal imbalances could potentially lead to hair loss.
Such situations could be pregnancy, breastfeeding, thyroid problems and the menopause amongst others.
Be it physical or emotional sudden, traumatic events can trigger hair loss for an as-of-yet unknown reason. Some shocks that can trigger hair loss are: child birth, the death of a friend or family member, high fevers or anything that causes extreme weight loss.
Sadly, some medications that need to be taken long-term or indefinitely can cause hair loss. Naturally, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments spring to mind, but medication used to treat high blood pressure, arthritis, depression and heart problems amongst others can also have this side effect. In these cases, it may be difficult to treat your hair loss.
Traction or Heat Damage
Certain hair styles, such as very tight ponytails, pigtails, weaves and cornrows place a lot of pressure on the hair and scalp. Other hair treatments, such as hot oil or anything designed to have a permanent effect may cause inflammation of the hair follicle. If this occurs the hair could fall out or, in worst case scenarios lead to scarring and permanent hair loss.
These aren’t the only causes of balding, but they are a good selection of the varying causes of balding. Now that we know more about the reasons people might go bald, let’s finally get to the signs of balding.
What Are the Signs of Balding?
With the exception of balding caused by illness, the signs of balding tend to follow two patterns depending on your sex.
Men tend to present with hair loss in a few stages. Initially, it will look as if a little more hair than normal is falling out; a little extra hair in the brush, the bath or shower drain, or on the pillow.
This may continue for some months or perhaps years until the next stage begins. The hair at the temples begins to recede and thin. This sort of hair loss may appear symmetrical, but one study found that hair loss is "significantly larger" in the right frontal region. The same study also says that hair regression may be asymmetrical in general in people suffering from male pattern hair loss.
The next stage of male pattern hair loss begins on the top of the head (the vertex or crown). The hair thins and recedes from a central point. At this stage, men may start trying to disguise their thinning hair through new hair styles such as comb overs.
In the most advanced cases of male-pattern baldness, the final result will end in the sufferer having just a rim of hair around the side of the head or experiencing total baldness.
Male pattern baldness can present at any stage of life and famously, Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men fame started to lose his hair at the age of nineteen.
Most women who develop female pattern baldness tend to develop it in their forties or fifties, around the time they start the menopause, but it can present earlier.
Unlike men, women tend to keep their hair at the crowns and hairline in initial stages. Instead something called the ‘Christmas tree’ pattern occurs. To picture this, imagine parting your hair down the centre of your head in a straight line. Over time the hair will get thinner spreading out from them parting and down the sides of the head and widening as it reaches the front hairline. Regardless of your natural parting, female pattern baldness will tend be more obvious around that pattern.
Female pattern balding progresses through three stages, then it reaches the advanced stage. The picture we have inserted below is an example of the Ludwig classification, but we should make it know that there are other ways that female pattern balding can be classified.
Irregular Hair Loss
If your hair falls out in small clumps or in unusual places, you should be aware that this isn’t typical for male or female pattern baldness. For example, hair falling out in circular patches in different places around your scalp may be a sign of alopecia or something else. Rapid, unexplained hair loss is another thing you should consider as a symptom of something that could be worse.
How Do I Treat Signs of Balding?
There are a range of treatments depending on your budget, the severity of your hair loss, the type of hair loss and how far you are willing to do to address your hair loss. We can’t go over all of them in a single article because the hair loss industry is very healthy and growing faster, but we can mention a few ways of treating your hair loss.
The most expensive method, this road is one that many actors choose to go down because, if performed correctly, then the transplanted hair will start to grow as if it had been growing there all along. That said, hair regrowth can happen in between ten to eighty percent of cases, meaning that the success of your transplant is not as certain as you’d like it to be after spending thousands of dollars on your surgery.
Laser Combs and Helmets
Laser combs and helmets are an old technology re-purposed for a new industry. Low-level light technology has been around since the 1960s and used to help accelerate soft tissue healing. When used on the scalp, the low-level lasers are believed to stimulate the hair growth, encouraging them out of dormancy and into their growing stage.
Readers should be aware that this way of treatment isn’t approved by the FDA, and it hasn’t been studied as fully as other methods have.
Finasteride and Dutasteride
These two medications are only approved by the FDA for use on male pattern hair loss, but some doctors will prescribe them for women as well, depending on the situation. These two medicines are to be taken orally. Finasteride is one of only two treatments approved by the FDA for treatment of male pattern hair loss, and after six months of use most users will see a thirty percent improvement in hair growth. While this seems a good result, these medications are only available by prescription.
Considered the first effective hair fall treatment in the world, Minoxidil is widely available and provides significant hair regrowth after three to four months of twice daily use. It can come wide side effects, as we have mentioned in other places on this site.
Wigs, Toupees and Hair Pieces
Some sufferers of hair loss, particularly those who lose the majority of their hair will opt to disguise their baldness through buying wigs and wearing them. Wigs and similar products are a long-established way to hide hair loss. Wigs made of human hair are generally considered better than synthetic hair, but they are also more expensive.
This may seem a good idea, and actually is for quite a number of people, but they’re not the best option for people who have the majority of their hair as they could be uncomfortable to wear.
This is by far and away the most common way of disguising your thinning areas. Whether it be getting your hair cut shorter, using new hair products like styling creams or finding a new way to brush and style your hair. It is also one of the cheapest ways of addressing hair loss, though it may take a while to find the combination of things that work for you.
We think that the first port of call with thinning hair should be to treat it as soon as possible. While you could choose to go with Minoxidil, Redensyl has a similar price point and comes with no known side effects. It helps block hair thinning DHT and encourages the growth of hair at the same time. One major study found it twice as effective as Minoxidil in short-term uses.
Why not opt for a styling product like our hair pomade? It’s main ingredients are designed to increase hair thickness, reduce hair loss and improve the visual thickness and volume of your hair without the worries of cost or negative repercussions. Start using it now to reduce the amount of hair loss you will suffer in the future.