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The dos and don’ts of male-pattern balding

The dos and don’ts of male-pattern balding

The inevitable day is here: you’ve started to lose your hair. Maybe your once luscious locks have started to thin overall. Or maybe a penny-sized bald spot has appeared on your crown. Regardless, now is the time to sit back and embrace your smoother head or spring into action to preserve your hair. And whichever path you take, there are a few key pieces of information you should keep in mind.

We spoke to trichologist Lisa Gilbey of the Northants Hair & Scalp Clinic to get her dos and don’ts of male-pattern balding – from the right shampoos to key dietary tips. Because unfortunately, an unbalanced diet isn’t just bad for your waistline, it’s bad for your hairline too. 

Do continue washing your hair regularly 

You may be afraid of washing your hair away, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the shower. “Dihydrotestosterone, the hormone responsible for thinning the hair on the top of the head, can also be excreted via sebum (or grease), so if it sits on the scalp surface for longer periods, it can give the follicles a double whammy,” Lisa says. So keep lathering, rinsing, and repeating. 

Don’t ditch your styling products

No need to purge your bathroom cabinets just because your hair is thinning. “Styling products don’t have a negative effect on hair thinning unless you are damaging your hair by overuse with the heat or pulling too harsh with straightening irons,” Lisa says. 

Do pick your shampoos wisely

Go ahead and judge the bottle by its label. “There have been studies to show that anti-dandruff shampoos containing ketoconazole and the anti-itch ingredient piroctone olamine can help stimulate growth and have a positive effect in androgenetic loss (i.e., male-pattern balding),” Lisa says. 

Don’t throw away your hats

Don’t believe the myth that wearing hats contributes to balding. “This isn’t the case for genetic balding,” Lisa says. “If you wear restrictive head wear and it rubs on one area constantly, this can cause traction alopecia, but does not stimulate the area for the onset of male-pattern balding.”

Do invest in the right products

“No products can prevent a condition commencing, but you can help put the brakes on a progressing male-patterned balding by using the aforementioned shampoos and using a licensed product that is proven to slow hair loss, like topical Regaine,” Lisa says. “There are other methods a trichologist could recommend depending on your medical history and lifestyle.”

Don’t overlook your diet

Yes, what you’re eating can wreak havoc on your hairline. “Balding is partly age and genetically determined, but external factors such as faddy diets (think not eating all food groups) and an unbalanced diet (even if you’re eating healthy foods but are restricting carbs/fats and increasing protein), can all have a negative effect on the hair cycle ratios,” Lisa says. “Essentially, if you don’t cover all food groups, this could cause a disruption to the usual hair cycle ratios and either progress a condition that is already there or be the onset for male-patterned balding to commence.”

Words: Allison Pavlick
Illustration: Elliot Kruszynsk