The thought of losing your hair crosses everyone’s mind from time to time. But is it going to happen to you?
By age 50 as many as 50% of all men will report being totally bald or experiencing some form of visible hair loss. So it’s definitely likely you’re going to lose some hair, and while predicting exactly how much is impossible, there are some signs you can look for. And it’s worth looking, too:
early detection gives the best chance for hair regrowth by retaining the maximum number of repairable follicles. Here are five early warning signs to help you recognize if you’re going to have a problem:
1. It runs in your family
Most people have the incorrect assumption that it is your mother’s genetics that cause male pattern baldness. While there is some truth to the notion that the X chromosome on your mother’s side can play a determining factor in balding, that is only one piece of the genetic puzzle.
Heredity is definitely a factor. For example, alopecia areata is a condition caused at least in part by genetics, which can cause balding in spots and can progressively worsen over time. While scientists aren’t entirely clear on all of the causes, it is known that both a mother and a father contribute to the chances of their children being afflicted with this disease. Early intervention is a must.
A common piece of advice given to young men concerned about their hairline is to look at the men on your mother’s side of the family to roughly predict your chances of balding or thinning hair. Looking at one’s maternal grandfather in particular was seen as a way to see one’s future. This was due to the belief that it was the inherited X chromosome from one’s mother that determined hair loss. It is now recognized that there is not one single gene responsible for hair retention or loss. Both a mother and a father contribute to the genetic component of a person’s hair.
A more accurate way of looking at your hair’s future would be to look for signs of hair loss on both sides of your family.
2. Your hairline is receding
If your hair has already begun to recede, you are at a greater risk of experiencing additional hair loss. Although this seems obvious, it can be difficult to detect in yourself. After all, you see yourself every day and changes can be hard to notice. One strategy to see if you are truly experiencing a change to the hairline is to ask a trusted friend or family member to help you. A less awkward strategy is to look back at photos of yourself and see if there is a recognizable difference to the hairline.
Another sign can be a thinning of hair at the temples. Men and women alike can notice this thinning. Men may notice a thinning or loss of hair at the crown of the head.
A widow’s peak may be present from an early age. If you notice this you will want to be vigilant with the way you monitor your hairline. Men should be familiar with any changes to their hairline that resembles the letter “M.” This is an early indicator of one of the recognizable stages of balding associated with male pattern baldness.
3. Your job or schoolwork is insanely stressful
If you find yourself under constant stress, you’re not helping your hair. Work or school can cause enormous amounts of stress to your system.
Everyone responds to stress differently. You may not even feel pressure or any negative effects. Still, your body might be sending you different signs. During tough projects with looming deadlines, check for signs that your hair is thinning or even falling out.
If you realize that you are in a stressful time, keep tabs on how much hair you find on your comb or brush when grooming. This can give you a good idea of how your hair responds to stress. If you notice larger amounts falling out you need to work hard to reduce the amount of stress in your life. While this might at times seems impossible in our modern society, remember that early intervention can be a big factor in how well you will respond to treatment.
4. Your diet is terrible
If you’re eating a bunch of fast food with zero nutritional value, this is a lifestyle choice that supports losing your hair. Hair follicles are among the most metabolically active in the body. People think of hair as dead, but at its roots, your hair can actually be negatively impacted by too many or too few calories. Don’t mess with malnutrition if you’re trying to support hair your growth. Even if you’re getting enough calories, take a look at what’s actually in those calories.
A poor diet is can lead to micronutrient deficiencies. Iron deficiencies can directly lead to hair loss. We’re not going to lay out every single vitamin deficiency in this article. But in short, a varied diet that is rich in natural vitamins and minerals can go a long way to ensuring you are giving your hair its best chance for survival.
5. Your hormones are out of balance
If you already know your hormones are out of whack, you should take this as a warning about the future of your hair. Hormones are responsible for regulating many of the body’s functions. Hair growth is one of these functions. A variety of hormones contribute to the health of one’s hair follicles.
Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is a male sex hormone that is present in both males and females. Scientists now recognize that an overabundance of this hormone is a strong indicator of hair loss.
Self-assess while you still have hair to assess
You may see some or all of the early signs in yourself. Some of these signs can amplify the others. Take a moment to assess your situation and see if you recognize any of the above signs and figure out what you want to do about it before those follicles go into a resting phase.