Man hair loss? Transplant or cosmetic treatment?
What to do if men lose hair? Options include a surgical procedure, a hair transplant or cosmetic treatment without surgery. Which should you choose? Which treatment should be selected in the individual stage of hair loss?
The truth is that what we see on top of the head and what we commonly call “hair” is only the hair shaft, meaning only one part of the entire hair. What we cannot see – as it is located underneath the skin – is the hair follicle, the hair root.
The Hair Cycle: Growing, Rest Period, Hair Loss
In a cycle that is renewed on a daily basis, we grow new hair while other hairs have reached the end of the cycle and fall out. This cycle that each individual hair goes through at its own pace, is comprised of several stages: There are times during which the hair does not grow (it rests, so to speak), and there are other times during which the hair actively grows. Between these two stages, there are times that lead into them and during which the hair recedes. This means that it is normal if there are times when hair loss is stronger than usual.
What is Normal Hair Loss?
As a rule, a healthy individual loses between 60 and 100 hairs per day. This hair loss does not pose a problem as we have between 70 000 and 100 000 hairs. Hairs that fall out are in the so-called telogen phase – meaning the period during which the hair does not grow. They are replaced by hairs that are in the anagen phase, the growth phase of the hair. 85% of all hairs are always in this anagen phase. These hairs can fall out because of normal mechanical strain (i.e. washing, towel-drying and combing hair). Another reason is a push of the next cycle.
According to a Study, Hair Loss can be Influenced by the Seasons
Stronger hair loss can occur at certain times, which can lead to concern and uncertainty.
In 1996, a task force in France examined this problem within the framework of a small study in which ten men participated over a period of 8 to 14 years.
In order to measure the progression of the test persons’ hair loss, the task force created phototrichograms. This is a specialized test method that determines in regular intervals how many hairs are in the same place on the head. It was shown that most hairs fall out during late summer and in fall. In some cases, this occurred again in spring, whereby the number of hairs that fell out varied from participant to participant.
The scientists came to the conclusion that the extended sun the hair is exposed to during summer is responsible for the larger number of hairs that fall out in fall. Sinking temperatures, on the other hand, do not seem to lead to increased hair loss with the exception of freezing conditions. The researchers suggested that this should be called “increased hair change” rather than “increased hair loss” as the hairs will re-grow. It was not the hair root that was damaged but only the hair shaft – this is how this form of hair loss is different from other forms that may potentially occur.
Permanent Hair Loss
There are many reasons for hair loss that cannot always be pinpointed exactly.
During hair consultations, it was determined that in 75% of all cases of hair loss, the reason was genetic or hormonal. This hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia – it is called androgenetic because the hair root reacts sensitively toward male hormones (androgenes). Aside from this hormonal cause, infections at the hair root or immune disorders may lead to hair loss as well. The circular hair loss (alopecia areata) should be mentioned here, which, in most cases, leads to baldness. In only approximately 30% of affected individuals hair regenerates.
Furthermore, there is diffuse alopecia that occurs if too many hair follicles are in the regression phase at the same time. This leads to hair loss that diffusely spreads across the entire head. The underlying causes for this are often diseases like chronic inflammatory diseases, diseases of the pituitary gland or the thyroid, iron deficiency, stress or even a radical diet. Some medications such as chemotherapy can have these consequences as well.
Can Something be Done About Hair Loss?
For a long time, there were no remedies that worked efficiently against hair loss: The problem and its consequences had to be accepted. The only solution was to cover bald heads or bald spots with a wig or a hairpiece.
By now, there are different treatment options that have proven themselves in the last decades. The first necessary step is to define the type of hair loss, based on which an individualized treatment plan will be compiled. If diffuse hair loss occurs, the causes must be researched in order to eliminate them. In case of a disease, for instance, it must be systematically treated – subsequently, the hairs grow back again in most cases, as the hair roots are rarely affected. If the hair roots were destroyed, the hairs will not grow back.
The biggest problem is circular hair loss: In these cases, it is frequently difficult to determine what the exact cause is, and the problem can usually only be solved with a hair transplant.