Other than erectile dysfunction, what do many men fear most? You’re probably right if you answered, “hair loss’. While it is a bit of a mystery why that is so, the likely reason is perhaps the assumed synonymous relationship between hair loss and old age. Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with aging. We all age and there’s nothing inherently wrong or shameful about growing older. However, when we view aging through a superficial lens, it is commonly equated to fragility, powerlessness and a lack of virility. While much progress has been made in perception of gender norms, most men are still shackled to the notion that a strong man is a good man. Therefore, nothing hits a man more between the legs than to be seen as less virile than his peers. And, nothing is more visible externally as a sign of perceived age than the hair on our heads.
There’s also nothing wrong with being bald or having less hair on the top of our head than we used to have. Many men rock the shiny pate look with pizzazz and style. Among them are celebrities such as Vin Diesel, Jason Statnam and Patrick Stewart. They chose to take control of the hirsute situation by embracing the shaved look and there’s no doubt that in doing so, they emanate strong confidence. We all know that is the key ingredient in exuding sexiness.
Not every man will go bald, but age does generally reduce the density of hair. So, for those who prefer to hold on to their locks longer, fret not. Here are four areas to zoom into to maintain your mane.
Testosterone is important to men and it’s essentially the key hormone that makes a man a man. It’s also being attributed to the development of muscles in men. That said, it produces a by-product called DHT, dihydrotestosterone. This androgen can bind to receptors in our hair follicles and weaken them. In time, the follicles start to shrink (miniaturise) and then eventually die. As DHT is one of the primary hormones responsible for causing hair loss in men, one way to combat it is to use products that block DHT. One such product to consider would be a DHT-blocking shampoo.
Minoxidil is a medication that is created to promote hair growth. It does so by widening the blood vessels which therefore increases the blood flow to the area of application. In doing so, increased blood flow brings with it the necessary nutrients and oxygen to reach your hair follicles and nourish them. The way Minoxidil works is by encouraging the transition of your hair from the telogen phase (shedding) to the anagen phase (growing). This is the reason why the common initial side effect of using Minoxidil is increased hair fall. However, this is usually temporary and with continued use, the final result is a fuller head of hair. This medication comes in different concentration levels and application formats (spray, topical foam and liquid) and as such, even though it’s available over the counter, your pharmacist or doctor will be able to better advise you on which combination works best for your condition.
Finasteride is a drug that that was originally created as a treatment for prostate growth. During the medical study period, it was discovered by Merck, the drug maker, that one of the side-effects was the halting of male pattern baldness. Since then, doctors started prescribing it to combat hair loss caused by the production of DHT. As this is a drug that’s ingested into the body, it’s been rated as one of the more effective solutions to stop most hair loss, and in some cases, even reverse the shrinking effect DHT has caused on existing follicles. There are side effects of this drug which are a potential loss of sex drive and weaker erections. However, these side effects affect only a small percentage of men and are usually reversible once you stop taking the drug. The best way to find out if this treatment option is for you is to speak to your doctor.
Biotin is a type of B-complex vitamin and is naturally found in small amounts in foods such as nuts, soybeans, fish, bananas, milk and eggs. It is also well-known in the grooming and beauty industry in the supplement form as it has been claimed to be beneficial in strengthening hair and nails. Biotin is linked to the production of protein and is accredited with improving the health of hair and nails since they are essentially made up of the protein, keratin. Given the natural occurrence of biotin in foods, most of us would not be deficient in it if our daily diet is reasonably well-balanced. While biotin has been known to improve hair health in individuals with biotin deficiency (study conducted by Lifes2good, Inc., maker of the supplement being studied), there have yet to be major studies supporting the same benefit for those without the same deficiency. Biotin is readily available over the counter. However, as with any supplements you plan to introduce into your diet, do check in with your doctor to ensure that you’re well suited to consume it.