Hair loss affects 8 million men in the UK and while it is often seen as a cosmetic problem, it can cause significant emotional distress. Male pattern baldness is the commonest form, affecting 6.5 million men in the UK. The first sign is usually a receding hairline, which is followed by losing hair around the crown.
“Hair loss can affect men of all ages, from their 20s upwards,” says Dr Raghu Reddy, a hair transplant specialist in Harley Street. “If a man is concerned that his hair might be thinning or receding, it’s best to take action as early as possible. This way, they might well be able to slow the process of hair loss down or, better still, get to the root of what is causing it and find a solution.”
Topical minoxidil is the only clinically proven OTC product for male pattern baldness but it isn’t suitable for everyone and customers should be warned that it takes a few months to work. GPs can also prescribe finasteride on private prescription.
Some hair care strategies may limit further hair loss. “Washing the hair regularly in lukewarm water is very important,” says Dr Reddy. “This will help to avoid a build-up of sweat, which can block the pores and prevent the hair from growing at a healthy rate. For men who have longer hair and choose to use hair dryers or electrical equipment to style it, this should be kept to a minimum.
“A lot of men use hair styling products every day; this is fine, as long as they avoid putting gel or wax directly onto the scalp, as this can clog the pores. Maintaining a diet that is high in protein is also a good way of keeping hair healthy.”