Starting to notice the early signs of balding can be gut a wrenching discovery for just about any man.
To be quite honest, I don’t think I ever heard a man ever exclaim in a non-sarcastic tone:
Sweet, I’m going bald, I have been waiting for this moment my entire life!
Especially if they just went through puberty…
…yes, you read that right.
Some men can actually start to show the early signs of balding BEFORE they can even legally buy a beer…
So, what are these classic signs of balding?
And more importantly, if you skew a fair bit more on the younger side of the spectrum, is there ANYTHING you can do to try and prevent it from getting worse?
So, here’s a few things you need to know in order to learn early signs of balding:
It Starts With Your Family
While research has shown that balding normally comes from the X chromosome which is from your mother’s side of the family, there is also some links to the father’s side as well.
So basically this:
If both of your grandfathers are bald, uncles, and yes even your father, unless you pulled some recessive miracle gene, you likely are heading that way too…
BUT, check this out:
Unlike your grandparents, you ACTUALLY have some solutions at your disposal (which we will get to in just a minute).
Here’s Where You Will Often See Balding Develop First
More often than not, men will exhibit thinning or balding of their scalp in either the widows peak (the area on the front of your head near your temples) or at the crown (back/top center area).
Well to get a bit more in detail, you have this powerful endogenous androgen sex steroid and hormone in your body called DHT or dihydrotestosterone (source).
As you get older (starting after puberty), the hairs on the top your head become more sensitive to DHT.
After time, DHT will begin to target the hairs on the top of your scalp and kill them off. During this phenomenon, the hairs on the side of your head are largely spared as they don’t carry the receptors for DHT (this is why men may opt for costly hair transplants).
A good way to monitor your hair loss is to simply take pictures of the areas of concern and notate the date.
Try to keep the lighting the same throughout all the pictures for easy comparison (as flashes or a highly-concentrated light source will make you appear to have much thinner hair).
Is An Itchy Scalp And Dandruff Early Signs Of Baldness?
In short, no.
A mild case of dandruff or repeated itching doesn’t mean necessarily that you are going bald…
…but here’s the deal:
If you have a severely dry scalp and are itching incessantly (to the point that you are causing bleeding), this may in fact cause some patches of your hair to fall out.
Instead of trying to self-diagnose, we would recommend that you book an appointment with your family physician or dermatologist to have a closer look. They may be able to prescribe you with a solution that will alleviate this discomfort.
Thinner Hairs Growing In Place Of What Was Once Thicker
Here’s the deal:
If you look back at old childhood pics, you may have noticed that you once had a rich thick head of hair.
But as we age, it’s important not to compare what your hair was like then to what it is now.
If you notice that your hair has progressively gotten thinner, especially within the past year, it may be a precursor to going bald.
Again, as we mentioned earlier, be sure to document your scalp progression with regular pictures.
When you compare the first picture to the latest one, you will be able to easily see if indeed you are suffering hair loss or if you are pulling the alarm a bit pre-maturely.
Longer Time Between Haircuts
If you find yourself extending the time between your barbershop visits due to the length of your hair not growing nearly as quick as it once did can be one of the most obvious signs of going bald.
This will ring especially true if you notice that the hair on the top of your head just simply isn’t keeping pace with those that are on the side of your scalp.
Solutions To Ward Off Early Signs Of Baldness
Luckily for men today compared to those a few generations ago, there are some solutions that exist when it comes to warding off the signs of male pattern baldness.
When you look at the overly crowded marketplace, you will largely see three main options:
- Fortifying Shampoos
Here’s a quick run down on each of these popular options:
What was once developed as a medicine to treat an enlarged prostate, researchers found that a common side effect was hair growth…
…and not just any sort of hair growth, but one that can reverse balding.
Effectively acting as a DHT blocker (i.e. it prevents DHT from targeting the hairs on the top of your head), Finasteride is the perfect solution for men looking to regain volume.
So, if you still have a relatively full head of hair but find that the follicles are thinner in say the crown or front area of your scalp, Finasteride will likely be the best solution.
But there’s a sticking point:
Instead of being able to buy Finasteride discretely from an online retailer, you do need to have a prescription written by your physician in order to get your hands on this stuff.
Secondly, Finasteride doesn’t work on a particular area of concern as its not applied topically.
Instead, Finasteride is taken in pill form.
Therefore, with repeated consumption, you may notice all the hair on your head becoming a bit thicker with time (likely not a bad problem to have).
This can not only help curb any pre-mature balding, but it will generally make for a much thicker hairline that can potentially ‘hide’ any other spots.
Minoxidil has been around for years and is typically going to be the first approach that many men will try.
Found as the active ingredient in Rogaine, minoxidil has been approved by the FDA as a solution that can regrow hair (source).
Applied either as a foam or dropper, minoxidil offers a targeted application process that can be great for men who just want to get back some hair that shed from their crown.
According to Rogaine, minoxidil is the only topical hair loss treatment that can regrow up to 25% more hair within 3 months (source).
While not a full 100% regrowth of hair, even at 25% regrowth can be more than acceptable for most men.
Especially if you couple that with some great hair styling choices.
As we recently reviewed some of the best hair loss shampoos, one of the common ingredients found in these products will be the following:
- Saw Palmetto
For the men who want to go with all natural solutions, then biotin, caffeine, and saw palmetto will be interest to you.
These ingredients have been used for years as natural remedies for hair loss. Specifically, biotin is favored for both men and women as it’s a vitamin that is required for the hair to grow.
Saw palmetto on the other hand can play a key role in blocking DHT from latching onto your hair (as we discussed earlier).
Lastly, Ketoconazole is very similar to minoxidil in that it’s a chemical compound formulated for hair regrowth.
According to some research studies, ketoconazole (when mixed with other solutions including minoxidil) had a pronounced effect on hair regrowth.
Therefore, if you were to double up a hair regrowth shampoo with minoxidil, you may experience some surprising results.
No One Likes To Go Bald Early
While going bald can be absolutely confidence crushing for some men, just take solace in the fact that it’s completely normal.
Sure, you could apply a chemical cocktail to your head daily, but if you take the plunge to fully shave your head bald (or even have a close trim), you will likely never want to go back.