I have always had a thick head of hair so when my mates started losing theirs in their thirties and forties, I patted myself on the back and thought I was safe. I’ve still got my hairline but in the last couple of years I’ve noticed it getting thinner on the top of my scalp. Are there any non-surgical hair loss options that will work at my age?
It is certainly true that seeking help for hair loss early on gives you the best chance of effective treatment – but the key is not how old you are, but how old your male pattern hair loss is…
What stage of shedding am I at?
While most men tend to start losing hair in their thirties, it can begin much later in life – and if you have only recently become aware of thinning the chances are you are in an early stage of shedding which, crucially, is more treatable.
By examining your scalp, a hair loss specialist can assess where you sit on the Norwood scale. This scale is a set of images that illustrate the extent of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) and is the standard hair loss classification system. It measures an individual’s stage of baldness from type 1 (no discernable hair loss) to type 7 (hairline has receded to the back of the head and there is very little hair left).
Hair follicles stay alive for up to two years after they have stopped growing new hair, so tackling the problem in this window can produce some pleasing results. The higher up the scale you sit, the fewer effective regrowth options are open to you.
What are my hair loss options?
If you still have some hair on top then it means the follicles in that area are still alive and potentially active, and should therefore respond to stimulation. Minoxidil, a topical solution, is one of just two hair loss medications that are available in the UK (although it is available only on private prescription) and it has been shown to be very effective, slowing hair loss and promoting regrowth in 70 per cent of men. By combining minoxidil with other approaches such as hair growth boosters, an experienced trichologist can help you hang on for longer to the thick head of hair for which you’ve felt so grateful.
If hair loss is more pronounced, then you may not respond to medications. Hair transplant surgery is never far away from the news headlines as sporting stars and celebrities show off a new luxuriant crop of hair. However, apart from concerns about scarring and it actually working, the extent of your hair loss will also affect whether you are a suitable candidate for hair transplant surgery.
During hair transplant surgery, hair follicles are taken from a donor site and then grafted into the area of hair loss. The donor area is usually the back or sides of the head which are not suffering from signs of androgenic alopecia. However, you may not be suitable for hair transplant surgery if the donor area is not sufficient to guarantee enough hair follicles to adequately cover the recipient area.
If you are not suitable for hair transplant surgery or do not wish to risk the possible complications, then an increasingly popular procedure is scalp micropigmentation or SMP. This procedure is particularly effective for disguising a receding hairline and loss or hair on the scalp – pigments are inserted into the scalp, mimicking the appearance of a closely shaved head.
The experts at HisHair Clinic have an extensive gallery (click here to see the gallery) of satisfied clients who have successfully undergone a SMP procedure and can show you the results they have achieved for other men with similar hair loss to yours.