Fact checking – What causes Baldness?

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So what’s the problem?

If you’re anything like us, you have this vague, nagging memory of your good old Grandpa saying the immortal words – “one day this will happen to you” – as he struggled to comb those few remaining hairs over the barren dome atop his head. The dreaded baldness gene.

And now, you find yourself researching miracle cures and supplements to help that thinning hairline stand strong in the face of what you always thought was a bad combination of genetics. Sound familiar?

Well, we figured its high-time someone put a stop to this vicious cause of family dispute and delivered the facts to the age old question – is baldness hereditary or is it something else? So here we go;

What is baldness?

First up, lets define ‘baldness’. And yes it’s as clear cut as you might think – put simply, it refers to ‘a loss of hair typically from the head, but sometimes the body’. If you’ve experienced a few stray hairs on your pillow, or noticed a change in your hairline in photographs then chances are, you’re one of the 60% of the male population who suffers from ‘baldness’ to some extent. You’re not alone.

Beyond the definition, the cause of baldness is somewhat more complicated. It helps if you try to understand the basics of what’s actually going on:

  • the average head has somewhere between 100,000 to 150,000 follicles of hair
  • your hair typically goes through 3 phases in its lifecycle; growth, rest and shedding
  • typically, the average healthy head will lose up to 150 follicles per day
  • in order to maintain normal hair thickness, these strands must be replaced by the body at the same rate
  • when the body slows production down, that’s when you might notice that wider part, bigger forehead or thinner crown

  • What causes baldness?

    But what caused this slow down, we hear you ask. Well it’s complicated. There’s a whole myriad of things going on that might be contributing to that growing sense of insecurity you’re feeling. And yes, you’re right to be questioning your genetics.

    One of the most common contributing reasons behind baldness is stress. So, if you’ve been through the ringer in recent months, chances are you’ve seen a few extra hairs in the basin. Stress hormones released during hard-times have many effects on your body, including impacting the life cycle of your follicles. Stress can shorten the growth and rest phases, resulting in an early shedding phase. This has the effect of your hair ‘thinning’ and your scalp shining through.

    Next up, diet. If you’re predisposed to the burger lifestyle, its safe to say you perhaps don’t have an abundant supply of those essential vitamins and amino acids in your system. This in itself doesn’t cause baldness. But it can cause your hair to become dry, weak and brittle. Combine that with slow growth phases and hey presto, your hair starts to look thin.

    On the flip side, too much of a healthy lifestyle can also cause issues. If you’ve just adjusted onto a new diet and begun to lose a few kilo’s, chances are your body is starting to react to your new routine. Low calorie diets are great for losing weight and keeping it off. But while your body adjusts, its constantly re-directing energy around your body focusing your depleted energy reserves to the most essential tasks, such as keeping your heart beating and brain functioning. Sadly, your hair growth is a low priority on the scale of essential bodily functions and the growth phase of your follicles is impacted.

    There are lots of other known causes that your doctor can tell you about (like autoimmune disease, drugs, and trauma), but the last on our list is affectionately known as Male Pattern Baldness – or the genetic affect.

    Male Pattern Baldness (MPB)

    ‘MPB’ as its known in medical circles, accounts for nearly 95% of all diagnosed cases of hair loss in men. Its incredibly difficult to diagnose and no two cases are alike! It can start in your teens or your sixties and can affect your fringe, your crown or your back. MPB shortens the follicle cycle, causing hair to grow slower before eventually stopping altogether.

    MPB is genetic. And its linked to the production of the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – a distant cousin of testosterone. Those men affected all have an abundance of DHT, which is the ‘root’ cause of your follicles slowing down their phases. The speed of your follicular retreat is also affected by your age, health and other hormones. The good news is, in some cases you can delay the inevitable.

    Having bald parents and grandparents may be an indicator that you will also suffer from MPB one day. But its not definitive. The primary influencer in your genes for MPB is carried on your X chromosome – meaning you need to pay close attention to your mum’s lineage. That said, unfortunately having well covered men on your maternal side isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be in the clear. If your dad’s bald, the likelihood of you being bald increases.

    What’s the prognosis?

    Even in 2018, no miracle cures exist for baldness. Yes, you can do a Wayne Rooney or a Gordon Ramsey and have follicles transplanted, but this isn’t a solution for mere mortals. And importantly it also doesn’t stop the genetic process. The best thing you can do is act quickly and do as much as possible to slow the process down. A good regimen of diet, exercise, low stress and topical solutions is your best friend here. You need to do everything possible to ensure follicles have the best chances possible of maintaining their critical lifecycle. If you’re fortunate to not be receding just yet, remember the mantra, prevention is better than cure.

    We’re not going to give you a shameless plug about Mr Hawke Flex Pomade and how it can work for you, but rest assured it has been designed with guys like you in mind. Our Rescue Formula contains a complex of Arginine and Caffeine; two ingredients scientifically proven to assist with creating a healthy environment for hair growth. L-Arginine is an essential Amino Acid in the production of the protein Keratin (which your follicles are made of), while Caffeine acts as a stimulant to your scalp and also thickens those finer follicles. Stronger follicles and a healthier scalp mean you’re giving yourself every chance possible to slow down mother natures crusade to make the world more bald.

    Main image – shutterstock.com

    Written by TW. Article first published on May 14, 2018. Return to the Hawke Guide ›

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