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Testosterone and Male Pattern Baldness

Testosterone and Male Pattern Baldness

Testosterone and Male Pattern Baldness

Hair loss is one of the most potent fears for men as they grow older. In fact, men with greater hair loss are more bothered, more concerned about looking older due to their hair loss, and less satisfied with their appearance, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

This is primarily because we’ve come to associate a full head of hair with masculinity. Going bald is often felt as a loss of power, a deficit that can usher in depression or even male menopause. But for a fear that is so common, the actual science of hair loss remains lacking. Many men have been left to believe that washing their hair daily will inherently cause balding or that standing on their head will slow the hair-loss process.

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Part of this confusion is due to the sheer number of triggers that can cause hair loss and thinning. There are, of course, genetic factors to consider, but other offenders include reduced blood circulation and inflammation of the hair follicle. There are also studies citing lifestyle choices such as fatigue, stress, and drastic changes in diet as contributing to hair loss. External factors include silicone-based shampoos and heavy waxes, which literally suffocate the scalp. Needless to say, heavy smoking and drinking have threatening effects too.

For some guys, balding can be a deceptively subtle shift that takes place over several decades. For others, it can happen in a couple of years to a man still in his 20s or 30s. The bad news is that the state of your shower floor might be a sign of male pattern baldness, a hereditary hormone imbalance that causes hair follicles to start shutting down. In these cases, testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is your follicles’ enemy, as it slows down hair production and sometimes stops it completely. By about age 70, the decrease in a man’s testosterone level can be as much as 50 percent.

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Run-of-the-mill anti-hair-loss products are unlikely to have any real impact in cases of male pattern baldness. The solution involves either a) graciously accepting the hand you were dealt, b) opting for medication or c) surgery. Surgery is a laborious and rather expensive process (about $4.50 a hair) so, unless you happen to be on a soccer player’s salary, it might be worth employing the services of a doctor who can recommend the best therapy.

Failing that, there’s always the option of a good buzz cut.

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