- Hair loss is a common concern among young men, according to dermatologist Dr. Susan Massick.
- She described catching male pattern baldness early as the best way to prevent further hair loss.
- She says hair growth shampoos aren’t worth your money, but medications like minoxidil can help.
Although there is no cure for male pattern baldness, certain treatments can help slow hair loss and even regrow hair if detected early, according to Dr. Susan Massick, Associate Clinical Professor of dermatology at Ohio State University.
Massick said she frequently sees patients for hair loss, and young men are particularly concerned about prevention. The most important thing about keeping as much hair as possible, she said, is catching hair loss early.
Massick told Insider that a balanced diet and topical minoxidil were two methods she would recommend to patients to help treat hair loss and male pattern baldness.
A balanced diet rich in protein and iron can help
Massick said while the hair loss could stem from stress and an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, the majority of his patients suffer from androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an estimated 25% of men will notice hair loss before the age of 21 and 70% will experience hair loss as they age.
Male pattern baldness is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, Massick said, which shrinks hair follicles, causing hair to thin and fall out more easily.
Massick said male pattern baldness primarily occurs on the hairline, temples, and top of the head. This hair loss can happen slowly, and she said it’s important to catch it as soon as possible to keep as much hair as possible.
A balanced diet high in protein and iron can help keep your hair healthy and strong, Massick said. Foods like chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt, and beef contain high amounts of protein, which makes up most of what makes up hair follicles. Protein also contains iron, which helps the body deliver oxygen to cells associated with hair growth, according to Healthline.
Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine Dermatology, previously told Insider that when the body doesn’t get enough protein, the protein consumed is allocated to the body. essential. functions, which does not include hair growth.
Put as little stress as possible on your hair
Massick said to avoid putting stress on your hair as much as possible; Hair styles like perms, extensions, and hair straightening can put pressure on your hair, which can make it more likely to fall out.
She said reducing the amount of styling and product you use is also a good idea.
Massick says shampoos that advertise hair growth aren’t usually worth your money because they don’t stay in your hair long enough to penetrate your follicles. She said shampoos intended to treat conditions such as dandruff and eczema, which can cause hair loss, may be effective in treating those conditions, but not the hair loss itself.
Topical minoxidil may help prevent hair loss when used regularly
Minoxidil, commonly known by the brand name Rogaine, is an over-the-counter medication that Massick says helps prevent hair loss and, in some cases, restore lost hair. Although it’s unclear exactly how minoxidil works, it is thought to enlarge hair follicles and increase the growth phase of body hair, according to Healthline.
She said the most important part of using the drug was consistency.
“It’s not how often you do it,” she said. “It’s more about the consistency of its use over time. So whatever benefit it may give you, you’re going to lose if you stop.”
Ask your doctor about oral medications
Massick said if you’re concerned about hair loss, you should talk to your doctor about a drug called finasteride, which is typically prescribed to treat both an enlarged prostate and hair loss in men. . She said the drug works by reducing levels of DHT in the body.
Although finasteride may help prevent hair loss, there is a risk of side effects such as erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm production. Massick said while it could be an effective drug, people should be sure to discuss side effects with their doctor.
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