Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/23/2021
Coming to terms with hair loss can be the source of a lot of unwanted stress and frustration. After all, we're quite attached to our hair. Even though a lot of men may pull off the bald look extremely well, saying goodbye to a thick head of hair can be difficult.
But what if we told you that experiencing hair loss doesn't mean that you have to go bald? In fact, with the right hair loss treatment program, you might be able to stop the dreaded receding hairline.
If you're not ready to do the comb-over or go completely buzzed and have been wondering how to reverse hair loss, keep reading. Because that’s exactly what we're going to talk about — how you can stop male pattern baldness and, in some cases, even reverse it.
You’re not going to be able to preserve your head of hair if you don’t take action. The sooner you spot the problem and start a treatment program, the better your chances are to stop hair loss. The challenge that a lot of people face is spotting the signs of balding before losing a significant portion of hair.
Here are the most common reversible signs of balding.
The most obvious signs of balding are, well, bald spots. There was hair there once, and now there isn’t.
You’ll typically notice bald spots on the crown or vertex of your head, but different types of hair loss, like telogen effluvium, can result in bald spots on random places on the scalp and sides of your head.
Believe it or not, it’s perfectly normal to lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day. It sounds like a lot, but when you take into consideration the fact that the average human has 100,000 hairs on their head, losing a hundred of them doesn’t sound that devastating.
But when you start noticing a drastic amount of hairs on your pillow cases, at the bottom of your shower or even on your clothing at the end of the day, it may be time to speak with a healthcare professional.
This one is a little harder to actually identify, because a lot of the time, we tend to convince ourselves that we’re “just imagining it.” Right?
But it’s important to understand that thinning hair — either looking in the mirror and physically noticing what appear to be thinner areas of your scalp, being able to see your scalp skin, or noticing outright that your hair is growing slower and coming in thinner — is a major sign that you’re losing the hair that you have.
Next time you look in the mirror, rather than say, “I’m just imagining it,” make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider. There are plenty of tests they can administer in order to help determine if what you’re seeing in the mirror is real.
Ah yes, the sneakiest sign of hair loss. That’s probably not an official designation, but in our experiences, noticing your hairline actually receding gradually over time sneaks up on a lot of guys out there.
Your hairline typically recedes around your temples and in an area called your frontal scalp.
You’ll eventually start noticing your forehead looking just a little “longer,” or you’ll typically start noticing the infamous “M”-shape hair growth pattern on the front of your scalp.
Subtle changes in our hair growth can actually physically alter the way our hair lays or styles.
For instance, in male pattern baldness specifically, a sensitivity to a male sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes the hair follicles to physically shrink, which then produces smaller, thinner hairs.
If you’ve been used to combing long, healthy, luscious strands of hair your entire life, you’ll likely notice a difference in the way thinner hair combs and styles.
When you notice one or more of these problems, you might be experiencing hair loss. For more information on the different stages of balding, have a look at the Norwood Scale.
There, you can see some of the common types of male pattern baldness. As hair loss progresses it becomes more difficult to keep your hair and potentially regrow lost hair.
Did you know that approximately 85% of American men will experience some level of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) by age 50? Perhaps knowing you’re not alone isn’t enough to make you feel better, but understand that advancements in medical science have made it more likely to stop the signs of balding from progressing.
A study in 1998 examining male pattern hair loss in men aged 18 - 49 found that 42% experienced moderate to extensive hair loss, and this got worse with age (16% for ages 18-29 to 53% for ages 40-49).
Understanding how to fix thinning hair is a process, fellas. It takes time, patience, routine, dedication and, in many cases, medications.
Luckily, no matter what, hair loss isn’t something you have to live with.
You may not know it, but stress affects your health in a number of different ways. It can zap your energy, make you feel physically ill, and even cause your hair to fall out.
That’s right, stress can play a role in contributing to thinning hair. On its own, stress-related hair loss is usually temporary and may grow back over time.
You always hear these stories about people who take a homeopathic approach to fighting baldness.
It’s usually some off-the-wall remedy like smearing a paste of ginger and cayenne pepper on your scalp three times a day or eating a special type of ginseng farmed only in a rural village in Tibet. We'll go on the record to say that it's highly unlikely that these remedies work at any level.
There’s a lot of misinformation, half-truths, and pseudoscience regarding hair loss, and there are also treatment programs that have been well-researched and tested in clinical settings. So, how do you find the difference? For starters, talk to the experts in the industry like dermatologists and general physicians about treatment programs.
Avoid people advertising secret cures, all-natural remedies, and permanent fixes. If there was a way to stop baldness from happening, we’d all know about it already.
It never hurts to do a little bit of research when exploring treatment options for hair loss. But at some point, you'll probably want to talk with a healthcare professional so that you can get a professional opinion about how to combat hair loss.
We don't recommend cutting corners by exploring cheaper homeopathic and all-natural remedies as an alternative.
As great as hair loss medicine is, there’s still a catch: you have to be committed. That means using the products exactly as directed and sticking to a treatment regimen for the long-term.
You might be surprised to know that some of those shampoos, conditioners, and styling agents have harsh chemicals that do a number on your hair.
You may want to consider switching to softer hair care products that are designed to slow down hair thinning in men.
DHT-blocking shampoos and conditioners containing ingredients such as ketoconazole and pyrithione zinc have shown some promise in helping reverse hair loss by potentially disrupting the production of DHT, the hormone linked to male pattern baldness.
In fact, research posted in the Journal of Dermatology found that ketoconazole was effective in treating mice for dermatitis and hair loss. In clinical trials, researchers found that 15 men who used a unique hair lotion composed of, among other ingredient, finasteride, minoxidil, and ketoconazole for a 90-day period benefitted from hair growth, getting a noticeably thicker head of hair than what they had at the beginning of the studies. It is important to note that this was a classic pilot study and not a standard double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
There have also been studies on the effects of 1% pyrithione zinc shampoo and a 5% minoxidil solution. In one study, 200 men between the ages of 18 to 49 who experienced baldness between type III and type IV on the Norwood scale were given this treatment for a six-month period.
They found that minoxidil, when used on its own, was approximately twice as effective as pyrithione zinc at stimulating hair growth, but that both products were successful at increasing the amount of visible hair when used over a 26-week period.
Going through male pattern baldness is frustrating and stressful. Fortunately, advancements in medicine make treatment easier and more effective than they were a couple of decades ago. Take advantage of products backed by science and research to stop hair loss.
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