Why do men lose their hair?

By Drum Digital
04 December 2015

By Vida Li Sik

Footballer Wayne Rooney’s hair transplants are well chronicled and locally, former Protea cricketer Jacques Kallis’ head has undergone dramatic transformation.

But what is the cause of hair loss in men?

Hair loss among men and women are quite similar, says Dr Adolf Klenk, a German research expert on hair loss. “It’s only the time when they start to suffer from hair loss and the pattern it takes that is different.”

Dr Klenk says hair loss in men usually starts with a receding hairline in the front and at the temples. Then it continues with the vertex area, the so called “monk tonsure” or shaven crown. Finally, the complete upper head could become bald.

“The scalp area’s not completely affected by baldness. The area around the ears and the neck remains haired during Androgenetic hair loss,” Dr Klenk explains. He says testosterone has several negative impacts on the hair. “It reduces the speed of hair growth and shortens the growth period from normally 6-7 years down to less than one year in serious cases. It’s not uncommon that some men are nearly completely bald before they reach the age of 30,” he adds.

Huge emotional stress is a contributing factor, and keeping hair in a good condition is the best way to prevent hair loss, Dr Klenk says.

What about hair transplants?

When the hair is already gone, there is no more hope for natural re-growth. Hair transplants might be a costly way out of this dilemma but can’t substitute natural looking hair and hair density in total, Dr Klenk says.

“It’s very difficult to forecast the sustainability of transplanted hair. It needs to be protected from further attack by testosterone and stress, and the costly hair substitute must be kept in good condition,” he adds.

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