Why Some Men Lose Hair

In our daily life, every person tends to lose hair up to 100 strands of hair a day which is considered normal as these hair strands grow back, and this alternating cycle goes on. However, sometimes, this hair fall tends to increase and an individual start noticing that the frequency of hair fall is increasing with no re-growth, which leads to baldness.

Regarding the prevalence of hair loss, about 85 per cent of the men face issues related to hair thinning, hair loss, and baldness in their life.

There are different reasons related to hair loss which will be discussed in this article.

Male Pattern Baldness:

Male pattern baldness is the most common culprit for hair loss. This type of baldness is caused by genetic information transferred from parents.

  • Male pattern baldness is the hair loss in a tell-tale shape, with receding hairline and thinning of hair strands around the head crown. With time, the receding hair area goes bald from the centre, but hair are still present over ears and lower part of the head at the back (occiput).
  • Alopecia areata or also known as spot baldness is another form of hair fall in which a person loses hair smoothly in round patches which tend to re-grow, usually. Alopecia areata is caused by diseases known as auto-immune diseases in which the body perceives its cells as the enemy and starts fighting against them.
  • Scarring alopecia Another type of alopecia is Scarring alopecia which is an irreversible hair loss caused due to the destruction of hair follicles and replacement of hair follicles with scar tissues.

Male hormones:

The primary cause of baldness in men is DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is a steroid hormone present in males which tends to bind with receptors present in the scalp and can cause hair loss in genetically vulnerable men.

DHT (androgen) is a by-product of testosterone. During pregnancy, this hormone is responsible for form development of male organs and genitalia due to its potency as a male hormone.

DHT is comparatively different from other hormones in various ways as DHT is a by-product of testosterone via the action of an enzyme (5α-Reductase) which converts testosterone to DHT in hair follicles, prostate, liver, and tissues in the skin.

If a person is genetically on high-risk of baldness, dihydrotestosterone hormone can bind to the receptors present in hair follicles, and this process is called miniaturisation. This process of receptor binding causes hair follicles to weaken, shrink and gradually die. Miniaturisation causes a complete and irreversible end to hair growth in hair follicles which have been affected by DHT.

DHT is interestingly a vital hormone which is responsible for MPB (male pattern baldness) but at the same time accountable for hair growth in different other parts of the body as back and chest.

Testosterone is another male hormone which is essential for features as body hair and facial hair development in adult males. Testosterone acts differently on different organs, as prostate cells, and hair follicles. Changes in hormonal levels and activity of testosterone hormone can alternate its effects. The vulnerable genetic makeup of an individual in combination with testosterone hormone makes the hair follicles more prone to hair thinning and increase their sensitivity to testosterone.

According to different researches, DHT is proved to be the primary cause of hair loss in men and the most effective method to prevent and slow down hair-loss is blockage of DHT to keep DHT away from hair follicle receptors.

Infections:

Different organisms such as ringworm which develop infections can cause hair loss in the pattern of bald spots, and scaly patches. Hair loss caused by the infections is usually reversible as the follicles are capable of regenerating hair strands. Ringworm infection starts with a simple pimple on the scalp, which gradually increases in its size and leaves scaly patches of hair loss which is mostly temporary baldness.

This fungus when gets into the hair follicle or hair fibre, the hair in that area become brittle and are easily prone to breaking off, while, leaving bald patches on the skin. The most common cause for the fungal infections, globally, are Microsporum audouinii, Trichophyton megninii, Trichophyton schoenleinii, and Trichophyton tonsurans.

Trichotillomania:

Trichotillomania is a disorder in which people feel urged to pull out hair from their own body as from the area of scalp, face, eyebrows, or any other body part. It is a chronic condition related to an abnormality of pathways present in the brain and can affect one to two per cent of teenagers and adults. This impulse control disorder is more prevalent in patients with depression and anxiety, leading them towards hair loss and baldness.

Shock and stress:

Different factors as severe emotional or physical shock, excessive and sudden weight loss, recent surgery, flu, and even fever can cause hair loss which can also last for some months. Stress is the most vital cause of baldness in men, as men are more prone to stress.

According to medical data research, stress can cause hair loss in three types:

  1. Telogen effluvium:

As a result of the body’s shock and stress, hair follicles present in scalp undergo resting phase. The hair does not start falling out right away, but the hair fall can begin within a few weeks as a result of increased stress hormones.

  1. Alopecia areata:

An autoimmune condition. The trigger of this condition can be prolonged exposure to stress from months and after months.

  1. Trichotillomania:

A hair-pulling disorder due to psychological and mental health issues.

Medication:

Different medicines and drugs which can enhance androgens production or increase stress hormones can significantly cause hair loss.

  • Retinoids as Isotretinoin which is used for different skin-related issues and acne can cause hair loss.
  • Anti-depressant drugs can cause hair shedding or telogen effluvium, induced as a result of stress.
  • Thyroid drugs can cause over activity of the thyroid, which can cause diffused hair-loss in some rare cases.
  • Steroids and testosterone derived steroids can initiate hair-loss by conversion of testosterone to other receptors blocking hormones.

Other reasons related to hair loss:

If the hair loss is sudden instead of gradual onset, then it is probably related to some other reasons related to medical and interventional causes.

  • Thyroid problems, anaemia or iron deficiency
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer treatment
  • Infections of scalp
  • Blood-thinning medications, higher vitamin A doses, and anabolic steroids
  • Diet-related issues as too much or too less of iron or vitamin A
  • Psychological and mental health issues
  • Grooming, and hair styling which involve intense styling with gels, heat, and cosmetics
  • Different disease like hypertension (high blood pressure), enlarged prostate, CHD (coronary heart disease), obesity, diabetes mellitus, and prostate cancer.

Summary:

Different causes associated with hair loss in men are genetic, changes in levels of testosterone hormone or its conversion to DHT, medical conditions, interventional drugs, and deficiency or excess of diet. Different forms of infections as ringworm infection or tinea capitis can be a significant cause of hair loss. Various psychological factors as anxiety, stress, depression, trichotillomania, and other impulsive disorders can cause hair loss in both males and females, but as males are more prone to stress, they go through significant hair loss.