The time it takes to go bald varies from person to person. You may have friends or colleagues who went bald at twenty or one that still has a full head of hair, only to lose it in their old age. You can never tell when you might start to lose the hair on your head. Usually, unless there is a severely unique case, it takes about fifteen to twenty years to go completely bald from when you started to recede. If your hair started to recede at the age of twenty, you can expect complete baldness at the age of thirty-five to forty-five. But again, this time could be different for each person. Some people experience complete baldness only five years after starting to recede.
Table of Contents
Things that can affect Baldness
Surprisingly the main cause of baldness is a chemical called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is related to testosterone. This chemical has a huge impact on hair follicles. This is because of some people over-produce DHT which can lead to follicular miniaturization. Those follicles which are affected by DHT make short shafts of hair which are also much thinner, and over time will disappear altogether. The end result is that you may appear to be bald on top but there is, in fact, still hair there, it is just thin and small which makes it appear shiny and bald. Once too much DHT is being produced it might only take a few years until the top of your head is completely bald.
Other reasons that you might be experiencing baldness is that you are suffering from stress, over-combing, and wearing hats a lot. These things can break off the shafts and will speed up the process of balding. Using hair gel or wax can also make baldness appear quicker on your head.
How to tell if you are going bald
This is an important question that does need to be addressed because going bald and losing your hair are two completely different things. Once you know whether you are naturally going bald, or you are losing your hair because of a condition, then you will be better equipped to handle and manage your hair loss. For example, if you are losing your hair in patches on your head then you may have a condition called alopecia where the body attacks itself by mistake. This is not the same as male pattern baldness which occurs in a more regular pattern such as receding from your hairline. Remember that despite these particular conditions, going bald is natural and happens to mostly everyone. You should not be embarrassed by it.
Male Pattern Baldness Explained
Male pattern baldness occurs because your body is becoming more sensitive to androgens which is the male sex hormone. It is hereditary as is the rate at which you lose the hair on your head. So, if your father lost his hair at a young age, and at a fast rate, it is likely that the same might happen to you.
What can you do?
No one expects to find their hairline beginning to recede, especially if it occurs earlier than expected. There are treatments to stop DHT over-producing but these can cause some serious side-effects. Here are some reasons to help you stop worrying about baldness and to embrace your hair.
- It is important to try to remain calm once you realize you might be going bald. Worrying and stress can only cause more health problems along with increasing the rate of the baldness. It is a natural thing that happens to everyone. Try not to let it lower your confidence or make you paranoid about the rate to which you are losing your hair.
- Remember that you are not the only one experiencing this situation. Others are going through the exact same thing. Some might have even gone through it earlier than you. Most people tend to experience baldness in their forties, but it is not uncommon for it to happen much earlier than that.
- There is always the option of shaving your head, so you are not going around with patches of baldness. It might be difficult to get used to it once you have shaved your head, but it can relieve the tension, stress, and worry that you might have been going through as you slowly become balder. Shaving is a great style choice, as it remains fashionable to this day.
If you are still not convinced that a balding head is natural and something that you should not be afraid of, then there are some treatments to help combat it. You need to consider whether you really want to ‘treat’ something that is happening to your body naturally, rather than learning to live with it.
- Minoxidil lotion — This lotion is applied twice a day to the scalp and can be purchased over-the-counter. It has been found to be beneficial to most people who buy this drug, but this comes in varying degrees. The effects of this drug come to an end as soon as it is no longer applied. So, if you want to keep the effects of this lotion, you will have to continuously use it.
- Finasteride — This tablet partially blocks the male hormones effects. It acts as an ‘anti-androgen’. It helps to promote re-growth of the hair and stops further hair loss. This was found to be the case in 80% of patients after a period of three to six months. The effects of this treatment also stop when the tablet is no longer taken. It is also only available by prescription rather than over-the-counter.
- Cosmetic surgery — This replaces the lost hair on your head with transplants, flap surgery, or scalp reductions. These do work but tend to very expensive. They are, however, longer-term solutions than the drugs you can use.