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If you’re starting to experience some hair loss, you’re definitely not alone.
According to the American Hair Loss association, it’s estimated that two-thirdsof guys will experience some form of hair loss—whether it’s thinning hair or actual hair loss—before they’re 35. By the age of 50, 85% of guys could see significantly thinning hair.
“Although hair loss happens as the result of many health reasons, over 95 percent of men have hair loss from androgenetic alopecia, better known as male baldness,” says William C. Blatter, trichologist and president of the Hair Loss Control Clinic. “Stressful lifestyles and hormones can hugely impact hair loss and are contributing factors.”
With guys, he says, it typically starts in the temples of the hair line, in the front, and in the center of the back of their head.
If you’re starting to see some of your hair begin to thin, there are some steps you can take right now to get ahead of it. The first thing you should always do is speak with a trichologist or dermatologist if it’s noticeable.
“Since genetics play a role in androgenetic alopecia, it isn’t possible for AGA to be ‘prevented’ per se—however it can most certainly be managed, especially if treated early,” says Kristen Lo Sicco, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health.
Not ready to see a pro just yet? Check out these tips, tricks, and product recs to get started on your own.
Pick your products
If you’re seeing thinning hair, proper hair care is more important than ever. “While we unfortunately cannot make hair grow faster, we can optimize hair care practices to protect our hair,” says Lo Sicco.
Full, comprehensive hair care systems like Old Spice’s Thickening System is one such option that’s specifically designed for thinning hair. The shampoo is infused with biotin, adding volume and lift to your hair. The conditioner includes vitamin C to help moisturize and build stronger hair. And finally, the thickening treatment with castor oil can increase the diameter of your strands.
The Thickening System won a Men’s Health Grooming Award in 2020 because the testers felt that the products made their hair look and feel thicker. So don’t underestimate the right haircare routine—it can make all the difference.
Skip zero steps
You may be tempted to just jump into the shower and jump out—especially if you’re a busy guy—but hold on. Skipping steps in your shower could lead to further damage down the line.
“Hair breakage can contribute to frizzy, less full-appearing hair,” says Lo Sisso. “Shampooing is important for cleansing the hair. However it also makes it more vulnerable to damage as it strips the hair’s sebum. We should use conditioner after shampooing to help replace the hair’s natural moisturizer and protectant.”
So while you might think you’re good to go after a quick shampoo, give your hair a little extra love. “A variable that we can help to control is the appearance of fuller hair,” says Lo Sisso. “This is done with proper hair care practices to minimize breakage.”
Wash in cooler water—and blow dry gently
Look, we all love a hot shower. The problem is excess heat can damage hair.
“Regular use of excess heat… can also make hair, especially curlier hair, more fragile and vulnerable to breakage,” says Lo Sisso.
Hot water (and hot air) can rid your hair of its proteins, resulting in a drier, duller-looking head of hair—and when the breakage occurs, your hair will start thinning. Opt to wash in cool or lukewarm water and blow dry on a low heat setting.
Get the right cut
Most guys opt to grow their hair long in order for their hair to look thicker—but it won’t. It’ll just get stringier and stringier. A good, close cut can actually make your hair look noticeably thicker.
“If your hair’s not as thick as it used to be ask your stylist about slicing and brick cutting,” Jen Deighton, Art Director of Toni & Guy in Sunderland, told Men’s Health UK. “If done finely, these cutting techniques can create a more textured finish which will, in turn, make hair appear thicker.”
If you’re in dire straits with your thinning strands, you may qualify for a next-level therapy that includes–you guessed it—lasers. Yep, beams of light.
Paired with proper hair care, FDA-approved laser treatments “block DHT [Dihydrotestosterone, the sex hormone that can cause hair loss]… either in a clinic or in a home laser cap,” says Blatter. “You will see significant differences in your hair within a few short months.”
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