Male pattern baldness can result in immense psychosocial effects. That is because, for most men, hair is a critical aspect of their appearance, hence the significant impact on their perceived self-esteem and appearance. Furthermore, while male pattern baldness itself does not necessarily signal a serious medical problem, research has linked it with various conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate, and coronary heart disease.
So, at what age does male pattern baldness start? Male pattern baldness, in rare instances, can start at 15 or 16 years old. Age 20, however, is the more common time for hair loss to become visible. Nevertheless, the majority of men will begin to notice the phenomenon when they hit their mid to late twenties.
Genetics is a significant determinant for when the hair loss begins as well as how much hair you lose. Research shows that the likelihood of male pattern baldness increases as you age. For instance, 20 percent of men will experience visible hair loss by age 20, 25 percent of men will notice balding by age 30, 50 percent of men will exhibit noticeable hair loss by age 50, two-thirds of men will notice the phenomenon by age 60, and 80 percent of men will experience the effects of male pattern baldness by age 70.
Actual signs that indicate you are really experiencing male pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenic alopecia, is a phenomenon that does not occur overnight. Rather, for the majority of men, it is a slow and lengthy process that can stretch over a few years or a number of decades.
Identifying the actual signs of male pattern baldness is essential because it means you can take action as soon as possible to increase the chances of saving more hair. That is because even proven treatments will not do you much good if you have lost all the hair in a particular area. But the identification process is not always as easy as it seems, especially if you go by the misleading signs you might hear from friends or read online. Taking this route makes it easy for normal hair loss — resulting from hair follicles that are not severely damaged, and are likely to grow back —to be misconstrued as male pattern baldness.
Signs that are not cause for alarm
There are numerous myths when it comes to hair loss indicators: beginning to lose hair in clumps, discovering hair on the pillow when you wake up, and Identifying over 20 hairs left on your brush after brushing your hair.
The last two are not necessarily signs of male pattern baldness because the condition is more about whether or not the lost hair is being replaced than the amount of hair that has been lost. Nevertheless, be sure to seek immediate help if you experience persistent excessive loss of hair.
Also, losing hair in clumps is unlikely to be a sign of male pattern baldness. It may stem from a different reason.
Signs you should look out for
Just like the name suggests, male pattern baldness takes place in a gradual (and relatively consistent) manner. The first real sign is a receding hairline, which is where hair gradually retreats away from the temples (in the forehead region) in a noticeable “M” shape. A good indication that you are suffering from male pattern baldness is when the hair at your fringe’s base begins to thin or is shed without regrowth. After that, you begin to lose hair from the crown as well. Eventually, the hair loss spreads to create a “horseshoe” configuration of hair on the sides as well as back your head. The condition can also take up various other patterns.
An excellent way to tell whether or not the hair loss is genetic is to observe if it has occurred all over the scalp or only on top of the head. Hair loss due to male pattern baldness does not usually affect the sides or back; hence you can almost be sure of the cause if the thinning is only on top.
The best ways to cope with male pattern baldness
As with anything else, there comes a time when it is better to embrace baldness rather than fight it. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Play around with hairstyles
The right hairstyle or haircut could do wonders to hide hair loss. The next time you visit your hair stylist, make sure to inquire about a creative cut to help make thinning hair appear fuller. Examples of the most suitable hairstyles for balding include:
- Slick back
- Short pomp
- Textured crop with forward fringe
- High and tight
- Comb over style
- Going completely bald (and even rocking a sleek beard if it feels right)
2. Try out wigs or hairpieces
Wigs are great at covering up complete baldness, receding hairlines, and thinning hair. They are available in a wide range of textures, colors, and styles. It is recommended that to maintain a natural look, go for wig textures, styles, and colors that closely resemble your original hair. Professional wig stylists know how to style and fit wigs to achieve a convincingly natural look. We recommend MelodySusie Men’s Wig (click for pricing on Amazon).
3. Wear hair weaves
Hair weaves refer to wigs that are attached to your natural hair through sewing. You must, however, have sufficient hair for the weaves to be sewn into your natural hair. The best thing about hair weaves is that they always remain on, including when performing activities such as showering, swimming, and even sleeping. Nonetheless, the drawbacks are that there is a possibility for the sewing process to damage natural hair, and whenever there is new hair growth, you must sew the weaves again.
4. Give hair illusions a try
Hair illusions are becoming increasingly popular. While they are a temporary fix, they help to get the job done well. We recommend Hair Ilusion – Natural Hair (click to view current pricing on Amazon).
5. Seek counseling
Going bald is a tremendous change that is sure to have a massive impact on your life. Most people find it hard to accept their new appearance. Do not hesitate to seek counseling if you happen to experience depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, or any other emotional issues that result from male pattern baldness.
Treatment options to address the hair loss
Usually, medical treatment is not required if the hair loss is not due to other health conditions. That said, there are treatment options available for those who are dissatisfied with their appearance. A few examples are;
Minoxidil is one of the topical medications you can apply to your scalp to slow hair loss and stimulate hair follicles to bring about the growth of new hair. It usually takes four months to a whole year for the treatment to yield visible results. You can easily purchase Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam (click to view pricing on Amazon) online.
Hair loss may recur when you stop the medication.
The possible side effects of the medication include scaling, burning, irritation, and dryness of the scalp. Make sure to rush to the doctor if you notice any of these side effects;
- Labored respiration
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling of the abdomen, ankles, hands, or face
- Trouble breathing when lying down
Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
Finasteride is another medication that helps to slow down hair loss. It functions by inhibiting the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for causing hair loss. But just like minoxidil, hair loss recurs when you terminate intake of finasteride. It, however, boasts of a higher success rate compared to minoxidil.
You have to take the medication for three months to a whole year before any results can be visible. But if you do not see any results after one year, it is recommended that you stop intake altogether. Side effects include:
- Breast growth
- Breast tenderness
- Painful ejaculation
Though rare, the medication may also cause breast cancer.
Hair transplantation is the most expensive and invasive treatment for male pattern baldness. The procedure involves removing hair from active hair growth regions in the scalp and transplanting to balding or thinning areas. It is usually necessary to undergo multiple treatments. Also, the procedure is often characterized by the risk of infection or scarring. The advantages of the process are that it is permanent, and it also looks natural.
Can male pattern baldness begin at age 16?
Yes. Research shows that 16 percent of boys aged 15 to 17 years old experience male pattern baldness. It is, however, a rare occurrence. The phenomenon is more common from age 20 onwards. By age 50, 50 percent of males will be affected.
Does one inherit baldness from the dad or mom?
The hereditary factor is relatively more dominant on the mother’s side, though other factors also come into play. In fact, men whose fathers are bald are more likely to experience male pattern baldness than men whose fathers are not bald.