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What To Do About Thinning Hair

So you’ve got thinning hair, a cause for worry and concern. Perhaps you have a father, grandfather or uncle that also complained about thinning hair. In that case, you know it’s hereditary. Otherwise, you can owe the condition of your hair to various factors like stress and possible disease. So where does thinning hair come from and how do we stop it? This is a question that most men with thinning hair ask and it’s a good one too, since thinning hair might be the predecessor of balding

Well, the answer in most cases for thinning hair is a medical one. You see, the primary difference between someone with a thick voluminous bush of hair and someone with thinning hair is sensitivity to a chemical called 5a-dihydrotestosterone or abbreviated to 5a-DHT, which is created by an enzyme, 5a-reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into DHT in places like the prostate glands, adrenal glands, testes and, you guessed it, hair follicles. DHT is also three times the potency of testosterone.

Now, this in itself doesn’t mean much. In the case of thinning hair, DHT starts attacking the hair follicles, basically treating it as a foreign body, which is similar to cases of auto-immune response. And in case you were wondering why certain hair seem to be thinning faster than others, well, the answer is that certain follicles are programmed to be more susceptible to DHT, which would explain the initial thinning along the frontal hairline, the back of the head as well as the sides.

Now, seeing as there is a medical explanation for thinning hair, there also exists a couple of ways to treat it. Naturally, be cautious of products that are advertised to remedy this condition instantly. They usually don’t and will only alleviate the weight in your wallet. So, that being said, let’s look at some solutions:

  1. Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine or Regaine, is a vasodilatory drug that was first developed to dilate smooth muscle. This meant a reduction in blood pressure and was prescribed to those suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure. One of the interesting side effects of minoxidil was that it stopped, and in some cases reversed the thinning hair among the patients who suffered from both conditions.
  2. Finasteride is an antiandrogen which basically acts as an inhibitor of 5a-reductase, the enzyme responsible for the production of DHT. The medical application of this drug has a number of other uses aside from the reduction of thinning hair, including the treatment of prostate cancer. One note of caution associated with this drug is that it must at all times be kept away from pregnant women. Even the smallest amount of crumbs or dust from one of the tablets can cause severe birth defects in developing male foetuses.
  3. Saw Palmetto is an herbal variation of the drugs mentioned above and inhibits DHT to combat thinning hair. Unlike the pharmaceutical versions, Saw Palmetto only inhibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT and does not otherwise affect cellular processes.

Thinning hair is something that affects almost 40% of men, but if treated in time, hair loss and baldness can be avoided.

Useful Resources

Thinning Hair - Learn the causes of thinning hair, and how to work towards preventing thin hair, at Hair Loss Advance.com