Best treatment for hair thinning
July 27, 2007 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Best treatment for hair thinning

I’m in a male my mid 20's and notice my hair is thinning and falling out more over the past 6 months to the point where it is becoming visible.

I’m looking for some sort of treatment to minimise or even rewind the effects is this possible ?

There is no history of male pattern baldness in my family
posted by toocan to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Step 1: See a doctor in case there is a medical explanation behind this.

Step 2: If the results of Step 1 aren't conclusive, I'd wait for 2 to 3 months, and see if the condition resolves itself. Sometimes stress or other environmental factors tip a person into hair loss, and changes in life reverse it.

Step 3: The only medically significant hair restorative that is FDA approved is Minoxidil.
posted by paulsc at 2:43 AM on July 27, 2007

....and Propecia, which has better, but still middling results.
posted by roofus at 5:02 AM on July 27, 2007

Shave your head.
posted by underdetermined at 5:07 AM on July 27, 2007

or if you don't want to shave (i didn't) just keep your hair much shorter than you have in the past.
posted by noloveforned at 5:18 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, see a doctor. But as a word of encouragement, my hair started thinning in my 30s, which I guess is pretty normal. But looking at the rate of hair loss, I got very worried, because I figured I would be totally bald within a year or 2. But then it slowed dramatically. I'm 46, and I have a receding hairline, and my hair is definitely thin, but not to the point where anyone sees me as "the bald guy." (Recent photo.) So, don't over-stress yourself, as that can actually accelerate hair loss. Good luck!

There is no history of male pattern boldness in my family

That is one of the most excellently funny typos I've seen. :) I paste it here for posterity in case it gets corrected.
posted by The Deej at 5:29 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

There is no history of male pattern boldness in my family

I guess there is now! Just cause there's no family history of baldness doesn't mean you won't go bald.

Anyways, you're in the UK, so the most common treatment is Regaine. Personally, and from experience, you're better off either shaving your head or getting it cut short. Trying to fight baldness is a battle you cannot win.

I know that's not what you want to hear, but no matter how much you spend or try to fight nature, you will go bald. Companies that promote 'cures' that prevent, slow, or reverse baldness are only using your vanity to get your money.

And have a search through previous threads - there's been plenty of discussion on here about the topic over the years.
posted by Nugget at 5:37 AM on July 27, 2007

And just because you're losing some hair at 20 doesn't mean you're going bald, or even going combover. 20 is when that sort of thing starts. In short, you're normal.

What exactly are you seeing? Receding in the front, a bald spot in the back, just a lot of hair in the shower drain? How long is your hair now?
posted by mendel at 5:58 AM on July 27, 2007

I'm in the same boat as you--same age, same situation. Everyone says to embrace your baldness. Well, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem doing so if I were a bit older, but it's very embarrassing to be so young and losing my hair. Lots of guys in their 30s have a receding hairline, but there are very few in their 20s, and that's what makes it especially stressful. Hair is a symbol of virility and sexiness, and it's hard to find young people (i.e. in their 20s) who are willing to date a guy with little hair. Let's be honest, people are shallow and looks really matter at our age. That's the reality. It sucks, but it's true. So I say FIGHT IT! Get the Rogaine minoxidil and Propecia. When we're older and settled, then we can let ourselves go.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:21 AM on July 27, 2007

Data point: I have a similar story (and hairline!) to The Deej, except my big thinning period was from ages 18 to 22. I'm now 30, and there has been very little change in the last 8 years.

(Let's not talk about the hairs that are left are rapidly graying, okay?)

If you don't go with the shaved or short-short looks, make sure to tell your barber not to try to cover up your thinning spots. Some assume that you want the mini-combover look that, unless you style it, gives you little poofy beacons highlighting your baldness.
posted by backupjesus at 6:35 AM on July 27, 2007

I had a similar freak-out period a couple years ago, when I was about 27. I saw abnormally large amounts of hair being shed in the shower. It lasted a couple months, but it stopped, and my hairline didn't actually recede much, if at all. IANAD, but from what I read, hair follicles have cycles of growth and dormancy. I guess it just so happened that many of my follicles were going dormant at the same time.

But, assuming you are going bald...

1. Don't fight it--medicine just isn't there yet. Just shave your head. But I'd bet a large sum of money that, in our life times, the problem of baldness will be solved using stem cells (if not by some other technology).

2. It's absolutely wrong to say that girls will not be attracted to a "bald" guy (in quotes, cuz I think having a shaved head is not quite the same as what most people think of as bald). Girls are not attracted to looks the way guys are! This is something guys have to have pounded into their heads: girls are attracted to confidence.
posted by mpls2 at 7:05 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

but there are very few in their 20s,

Sorry HotPatatta, but there are plenty of guys in their 20's who are going bald and I was one of them. It's incredibly common.

If you try fighting baldness then all you do is spend time and money worrying and obsessing over something that's inevitable.

Toocan, here's what to do: shave your head or get it cropped really short (a number 1 or 2 all over), and see how it feels. If you don't feel comfortable with it then your hair will grow back in a couple of weeks and you can start looking at ways of hiding/preventing/delaying baldness. Chances are you're not as bald as you think you are.

And if you like being shaved, then take the money you'd spend on hair loss products (like Regaine), and use it for other purposes. You've absolutely nothing to lose and unless you try it then you'll never know.

Oh, and I second the comments from mpls2 that girls are attracted to confidence and not perfectly coiffured hair!
posted by Nugget at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2007

Girls are attracted to confidence.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but women and men are more alike than different when it comes to attraction, regardless of what we tell ourselves and each other about ourselves and each other. Girls convince themselves this is true about guys, too. "It doesn't matter if I'm not a supermodel, guys are attracted to confidence!" True to an extent, depending on the individual.

The automatic bark of "Shave your head!" that has sounded in recent years as a response to mens' worries about baldness is way too impulsive a reaction, especially without knowing the extent of one's problem (or whether one has an incredibly Charlie Brown-shaped head). First of all, the extent to which your hair-thinning is noticeable may be completely exaggerated by your self-consciousness. Rather than diving for the clippers, you just need to make an appointment at a decent salon and explain your situation very clearly to the stylist. An experienced hair expert will be able to give you a haircut that is flattering and maximizes what you have. I know several guys who are losing their hair in their 20's (crown, hairline) who have really flattering haircuts and look totally sexy.

The bald thing is a last resort. It can be a really good last resort, but try to enjoy and make the best of what you have, for as long as you can.
posted by hermitosis at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2007

How "visible" are we talking about? Are you noticing it? If you took a photograph of you heard, could be see thinning?

I've been losing my hair since 17 (I'm 25 now) and I do the "buzz cut" thing. I also wear a hat but I was able to diminish the rate at my hair loss by following a couple of steps (non medical).

1) Get a nice brush - not a comb - and brush you hair thoroughly at least once a day.
2) If you're wearing a hat, stop.
3) When you shampoo your hair, massage your scalp.

I followed those 3 steps and my hair loss, although completely noticeable, is not as bad as it could be (I know this because I have an identical twin who has a lot less hair than I do).

I'm going to second hermitosis about "shave your head!" outcries - girls are just as shallow as guys. You might be able to cover up your hair loss but girls are going to notice and it's going to be a tad bit harder for you to move pass "oh. he's bald" to "here's my number". You really should go to a nice salon and see what options you have.

I buzz my head because I'm cheap and the buzzcut head fits the rest of my look. It might not work for you.
posted by Stynxno at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2007

Seriously, worry less about it.
Go to the docs and find out it's not something bad.
Get hair cut in a way that bothers you less.
It won't all be gone in a month. (I started noticing hair loss at age 16 and now aged, ahem, late 30's, sometimes shave, sometimes let it grow out a little, currently sporting odd self clippered Mohawk. Hair amount hasn't changed much since my late 20's)
Get on with life and enjoy it.
Hairloss will affect you in no discernable way whatsoever (unless you let it by wandering around thnking "woe is me for I have become unattractive and mopy because a few follicles have stopped producing strings of proteins" yeah because people are attractted to mopy, self-obsessed people.)
Some girls go for it in the way that some girls go for long hair, medium hair, dyed hair etc. etc.

I know it feels terrible to begin with but it ain't. Have a great time.
posted by merocet at 8:23 AM on July 27, 2007

I agree, hermitosis, men and women are attracted to confidence.
posted by mpls2 at 8:40 AM on July 27, 2007

My hair started thinning in my 20s, and the only problem it has caused has been getting sunburned on top of my head. I have never had any negative reaction from a woman (yes, I know, they could all be laughing behind my back), and have had lots of girlfriends (and am now married) post-balding. I've had gay men flirt with me, too, so I really don't think a little bit of balding will kill your love life, whichever team you play for.

But whatever you do, please do not do the combover thing -- it screams "lack of confidence" and just doesn't look very good. Be very cautious about the suggestion of going to the salon and asking for a haircut to "maximize what you have" -- the results are not always very flattering. I'm always seeing guys who do this funny brush-forward and fluff-it-up style, and it just makes them look like a guy who is trying to hide the bald spot (as compared to "a guy with lots of hair," which is how they are trying to look). Whether you shave, clip the hair short, or get a styled look, make sure you can wear it with confidence -- confidence really does trump the specifics of the haircut (unless it is as ridiculous as Donald Trump's...).
posted by Forktine at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2007




And sorta
posted by ORthey at 9:00 AM on July 27, 2007

PS - I'm going through this too and recently spent a bunch of time poring through old AskMe questions. For the record, when I saw the dermatologist, he said "Propecia." And I said, what do you think of all those other products?" and he said, very firmly, "there ARE no other products." And he wrote me a prescription.

I've recently found that the haircut is really the most important thing. I got a slightly different haircut and it's no longer noticeable (for now).
posted by ORthey at 9:02 AM on July 27, 2007

My best friend went completely bald at 18, so rapid hair loss certainly can happen.

First, go to a doctor, to rule out the possiblity of a serious medical condition.

Ask the doctor for a prescription for Finasteride. Depending on the cost, you might not want to fill the prescription in the UK --Here in the US, it's ridiculously expensive. You can find many international pharmacies (of dubious legality) that will be happy to sell to you for a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, the one I use is in the UK, so they won't sell to you there.

A few years back, I was worried my hair was thinning, so I followed the steps above. It's now as full as ever. Don't listen to the people telling you to just deal with the balding, or even worse, just shave your head.
posted by Gamblor at 9:04 AM on July 27, 2007

Oh, and to clear up what I said about the haircut - I don't mean a combover or some other obvious form of "coverup." But there are subtle differences in a haircut that can reduce the visibleness of the thinning.
posted by ORthey at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2007

posted by ORthey at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2007


It can be a really good last resort

I assume you were talking about me.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2007

I have to say, allkindsoftime, that you've got the kind of head that a close shave really flatters. I don't know if it was inspired by hair loss, but you've definitely definitely tapped into something nice there regardless.

When I shave my head, I get really mixed reviews. My ears happen to stick out a little, otherwise I think I look like a total superhero.
posted by hermitosis at 9:47 AM on July 27, 2007

Don't assume that your hair loss will stagnate. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. If you want to hang on to what you've got, start using products now.

Lots of people just look goofy with shaved heads. You have to have a nicely shaped noggin for it to look decent. You can try shaving your head just to see what type of reception you get. Get some sun on top so you don't look like you're wearing a swimming cap.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:21 AM on July 27, 2007

You might look into Saw Palmetto.
posted by Nabubrush at 2:48 PM on July 27, 2007

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