Male pattern baldness is pretty common among men ages 21 and up. Up to 85% of men will experience some degree of a receding hairline or hair loss during their lifetime. While hair loss is usually a deal-breaker, it is a natural part of life and typically permanent for many.
All too often, men find it difficult to differentiate normal shedding from long-term hair loss. This post will go over 8 signs of balding that may determine if you are indeed losing hair.
Why Do Men Go Bald?
The majority of men who go bald do so due to a genetic condition called androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness.
This trait that tends to lead men toward a thinning crown or receding hairline is produced by a hereditary sensitivity to a byproduct of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT tend to shrink with time. As the affected hair follicles shrink, so does their lifespan. Eventually, the impaired follicles cease to produce hair, or in some cases, the type of hair you once rocked with pride. The two most common patterns of balding include the following:
- Thinning of the hair on top of the head and around the temples.
- Hair begins to recede, pushing the hairline further back of the head.
8 Signs of Balding in Men
A Noticeable M or V shape
If your family has a history of pattern baldness, pay close attention to your hairline to distinguish any differences in the shape. For most men, the first part of the hair to change is the front hairline. If you used to have a straight hairline, but now an “M” or “V” shape is starting to emerge, a receding hairline may be underway.
Pictures Tell The Truth
To tell if hair loss is indeed occurring, compare pictures of you with hair from the past to see if there are any notable changes. To keep track of further changes, take photos in the mirror with your hair now to identify any future changes. Try to take these pictures with your hair dry and from the same angle.
Hair in the Drain or Hairbrush
Humans lose between 50-100 hairs a day, and that loss is usually evened out by new hairs regrowing every day. While this sounds like a lot, it’s not. The average human has about 100,000 hairs on their head, so a day’s loss of 0.1% is usually not detectable. If you think you are experiencing hair loss, hit the shower, and keep an eye on the drain or hairbrush to assess if the shedding is more than usual.
If you used to style your beautiful mane quickly with a couple of brushes, and now you find yourself spending more time and product to get your usual style, you may be losing some hair. To determine if hair loss is behind the change, ask your barber if they have noticed any difference in your hair.
Grab a hand-held mirror and dip your head to see if more scalp is showing through than usual. More scalp showing through at the top of your head may indicate the beginning of a bald spot, and a visible scalp could mean more persistent thinning.
If you live in warmer areas and find yourself getting sunburns…on the top of your head, you may be experiencing hair loss. Your initial burn on the scalp could be a caution sign that the hair on top of your head isn’t as thick as it was.
If you used to hit the barbershop every 2-3 weeks, but you can now wait much longer, you may be experiencing some degree of hair loss. Keep track of your haircuts on a calendar to detect any trend of increased time between cuts.
Thinner Hair Strands
As men age, the new growing hairs tend to be thinner than those from our childhood. One study discovered that this progressive thinning of hair strands originates from the hair follicle stem cells accumulating DNA damage with time, causing the follicle to shrink and ultimately drop out. If you see your strands not quite as strong as they once were, you may be experiencing hair loss.
At What Age Do Men Start Losing Hair?
If you notice that your hair is thinner than it once was, you are not alone. Male pattern baldness is a major concern for the majority of men at some point in their lives.
- Approximately 25% of men who have hereditary male pattern baldness begin to lose their hair at the age of 21.
- By the age of 35, nearly 66% of men will have undergone some degree of hair loss.
- By the age of 50, about 85% of men will have visibly thinner hair.
If you notice a bald spot or a thinning crown, the chances are that it is due to your genes. Although male pattern baldness is not preventable, there are effective ways to slow down the persisting loss. Some treatments include medications such as Finasteride(Propecia, Proscar) and minoxidil (Rogaine, Ioniten), hair transplant surgery, and laser therapy.
If you are worried about going bald, do not take any drastic measures on your own. Try the tips above to determine if you are indeed experiencing hair loss. If you are, be sure to talk to a doctor or dermatologist. They will work with you to come up with the ideal treatment that is right for you.