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Warning: Hair Loss–Prone Man

This seems to be the unwritten word of caution on a man with a lifestyle that involves a lot of stress, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. The same sign could be blinking brightly on men who are genetically susceptible to the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Lifestyle and genetics are the main answers why some men are more prone to hair loss or baldness.

A receding hairline and a balding crown are predominately observed in ageing men; however, this baldness pattern can also be developed by teenage or young adult males. In their case, genes and how they go about their daily activities are major factors that cause them to experience male pattern baldness earlier.

Dihydrotestosterone is an androgen (male hormone) by-product of testosterone (principal male hormone) acted upon by 5-alpha reductase enzymes. The one harmful effect of this androgen is damaging the hair follicles in the scalp; it renders the follicles useless and incapable of growing hair by blocking their nutrient absorption. By inheriting the ‘bad’ genes — that is, genetic susceptibility to DHT — guys tend to develop male pattern hair loss in their teenage years or twenties.

With the lifestyle factor, we know of young guys who already took the habit of smoking and all-night partying and we know of male yuppies whose stress levels almost always skyrocket. Smoking disrupts the normal blood circulation, through which nutrients travel towards the hair follicles; hence, disrupted blood flow equates to eventual baldness due to the scalp follicles lacking nourishment. Stress, on the other hand, prematurely pushes the hair follicles into their resting stage (the hair-shedding phase of the hair growth cycle).

These two causal factors explain why hair loss or baldness is no longer limited to ageing men. Now, it’s no mystery why men fret getting bald, and that is because hair loss is always associated with ageing. There’s also no denying that an M-shaped hairline adds years to a supposed youthful face.

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