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There are actually many possible reasons that your hair is beginning to change. You could be showing some signs of balding from male pattern baldness or it could be from something else.

Or, maybe you aren’t even going bald but you’re nervous about how your hair is starting to look.

There is no reason to worry about going bald. It isn’t the end of the world and there are lots of ways to look good bald, but it is beneficial to know since it may be the sign of a problem if you have a balding crown.

This article will give you all the information you need to know when it is time to worry about your signs of balding.

Male Pattern Baldness | What Does That Mean?

There are two general types of baldness. Preventable and unpreventable.

Male pattern baldness is hereditary, so it falls squarely in the unpreventable category. There is literally nothing you can do to reverse your hair loss if your baldness is coming from your genes.

There are some things you can do to try to stop the hair loss or at least make the hair that you have look thicker and fuller so you don’t look so bald.

And there are two drugs that can actually help but they won’t grow all of your hair back. Not only that, but they don’t work for everybody. Those drugs are Minoxidil, which works topically and Finasteride, which comes in pill form called Propecia.

I tried Minoxidil as Propecia needs a prescription and one of the side effects is loss of libido, so I was not going there. I used Minoxidil for about 6 months and it literally had no effect at all for me. There are plenty of guys that get decent results but I was not one of them. Good results can be up to 25% of your hair coming back. Hardly earth shattering but enough for many guys to be happy as it is better than nothing.

One area that it doesn’t work on is your forehead. It really only grows hair back on the balding crown area.

Preventable balding can be any number of things that happen that can be dealt with. For instance, you may be losing your hair because of a skin condition. If you treat the condition then you will see your hair return.

You can also have a hormonal imbalance which is affecting your hair growth. Getting your hormones back on track may help you stop or even reverse the signs of balding.

When Does Male Pattern Baldness Start?

There is no set age, unfortunately, but generally, the signs start early. For example, you could be balding at 20 or even younger, but it could also start when you are hitting your 40’s.

Because it is genetic and hereditary we can look at some of our relatives and try to deduce when we may start losing hair ourselves.

If both of your grandfathers and your father had balding crowns and were balding at 20 then chances are that once you are in college you will likely start seeing some signs of balding. Look through some old pictures of them and look for the warning signs. Even similar hair patterns may be an indication that you are going to end up with the same hair, or lack of it, by the same age as you see in the pictures.

Balding at 20 is not unusual but it is also quite young generally. But, since your hormones are changing considerably around that age it can have an effect on your hair growth, or lack thereof.

If you are balding at 20 or younger then you should definitely try to determine if it is from male pattern baldness or if it is a preventable hair loss. The next section should help you determine what kind of hair loss you are experiencing.

How to know if it is male pattern baldness or not?

Before I get into all the signs of balding, I will go over some things that don’t indicate that you have male pattern baldness.

The following factors may actually indicate that you do have some balding issues but just are not related to male pattern baldness.

  • Itchy or irritated scalp – This could be caused by any number of things, but you don’t feel an itchy scalp when you start losing your hair due to genetics like male pattern baldness.
  • Widow’s Peak – This could be a sign of male pattern baldness, but it may not. Especially an early sign as usually there is a balding crown first when you start losing your hair. A Widow’s Peak could be a sign of balding, but not necessarily from MPB.
  • Hair on your pillow or in the shower – If you are noticing a lot of hair strands on your pillow or in the drain when you take a shower, but don’t see any balding areas, it could just be a bit of shedding. We lose hundreds of hairs everyday as new hair grows in. Since your hair goes through growth phases, you could be in the beginning of a growth phase in which older hairs are shed to make way for new. Don’t be concerned unless you also see some balding crown signs.
  • Coin sized bald spots – If you have lost some hair in clumps and have circular spots that are now totally bald, or even several spots that are, then you are likely dealing with alopecia areata. This has many different causes ranging from hormone changes, to stress to skin conditions. In many cases this type of hair loss is reversible.

Signs it is male pattern baldness

There are a few patterns of balding, hence the name, that are due to genetics and just about everybody will experience similar signs.

Shortly before I noticed any balding areas or thinning hair, I noticed that the texture of my hair around the crown started to change. First it got brittle and dry. I had recently started driving a motorcycle and chalked it up to the helmet. It was that noticeable a difference from the rest of the hair.

Not long after, it began to get nappy in texture with the ends often very tight and curly. Finally, I started to see some balding crown signs where you could start to see some skin shining through the strands.

Around the same time I noticed that a scar that I had had right at the hairline on my forehead was becoming more visible. I had it since I was a kid and it was always partially covered by my hair. Now, I was starting to see it more and more.

My shower drain was often getting clogged from the hair. So it wasn’t just some light shedding it was clear that I was losing it quickly now.

How long does it take to go bald? It’s hard to say as you don’t know how much of your hair you will lose. In my case I went from the first signs to shaving my head because it was so pronounced in less than three years.

I started balding at 20 something, I think I was around 26 or so and by 30 I had started shaving.

Signs of preventable balding

As I mentioned, your hair loss could be from hormones, stress or a skin condition. Any of which will show different signs than what you would normally relate to male pattern baldness. If it doesn’t start with a thinning or balding crown then you likely don’t have hair loss due to genetics.

Circular bald spots

When your hair falls out in small spots similar in size to a coin then you probably have alopecia areata and that could be stopped and reversed.

The most common cause of alopecia in any form is that the immune system starts attacking your hair follicles. It is very similar to people who have organ transplants and the immune system rejects the new organ. Obviously this is a much less serious condition, but the reason for it happening is the same.

If you have a family history of autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis or Hashimoto disease among others, then you are at a higher risk of getting alopecia than somebody without a family history.

Stress can be one of the reasons the immune system begins attacking the hair like that. Since stress can often cause your gut health to become unstable, it can lead to an imbalance in your immune system that takes it out on your hair.

Then there are skin conditions like psoriasis that can cause alopecia. This is also an autoimmune problem where the sudden build up of skin cells in one area cause the body to flood the spot with new cell growth. This leads to hard, scaly skin that snuffs out your hair follicles.

Uneven hair loss

Besides alopecia which manifests itself in small circular bald spots, you may see balding over different areas not associated with male pattern baldness. For instance, the hair on the sides of your head may show some thinning which indicates that you have a condition. Most likely you have some form of rashes like seborrheic dermatitis or folliculitis.

If you are seeing your hair falling out without much of a pattern and is also followed by discomfort then you likely have a skin condition that can be treated.

Your uneven hair loss can also be attributed to changes in hormones. The leading cause of this in men who lose their hair is a loss of weight. If you have had surgery to lose weight fast or just dropped a lot of weight quickly for any reason then your hormones haven’t had a chance to adjust and catch up. This can lead to a loss of hair.

How to reverse balding

Before you get too deep into the remedies to grow your hair back, remember, the only way to grow a portion of your hair back if you have male pattern baldness is with Minoxidil or Finasteride. And results will vary wildly.

This list is more for the people that have other conditions that are leading to the hair loss because there is more that can be done.

Admittedly, only a small portion of the guys reading this will be able to grow their hair back as it is more likely than not to be male pattern baldness. Sorry, guys.

For skin conditions

If you have a rash or something like seborrheic dermatitis then you can treat the condition topically and that should start your hair growing back once the condition is cleared up.

For instance, castor oil is very good at clearing up a lot of skin conditions and then stimulating the scalp.

The key is to disinfect the area to get rid of the bacteria or fungus causing the problem so the skin can heal. Once the blood flow is increased to the scalp, it will bring the nutrients the roots need for the hair to grow back.

From stress

The first thing to do to bring your hair back after losing it due to stress is to stop being stressed. Easier said than done, I know. But if you start to develop some habits to move past the cause of your stress, you will be able to stop the loss of your hair.

Try meditating to clear your mind so you can think rationally about the problems you are having and find some solutions. Using aromatherapy to calm your mind while meditating is also a great idea.

Travel more and take vacations to take a break from your daily reality is a great way to destress.   

In some cases, you may want to seek therapy to find some tools to deal with your stress.

Once you have stopped the loss of your hair from stress, then you can use a peppermint oil based hair product to stimulate the scalp and get your hair growing back.  Peppermint oil has been found in recent studies to be as effective, and in some cases more effective, than Minoxidil in regrowing hair.

This hair serum from has peppermint oil and castor to really give a boost to your hair regrowth.

When to see your doctor about your signs of balding

If you feel like your hair loss is a symptom of a real problem then don’t hesitate to seek some help from your doctor.

If your hair loss is sudden and coming out in clumps than that is a sure sign that this is related to a health issue and should be taken to your doctor in case it is a sign of something serious.

If you have signs of alopecia, then it wouldn’t hurt to see a doctor. It may not mean that you have any serious health concerns, but alopecia caused by an autoimmune disease can’t really be cured with anything over the counter. You’ll likely need a prescription for a steroid so the sooner you see your doctor the sooner you’ll get your hair back on track.

Also if you have a skin condition that is leading to your hair loss and it is uncomfortable or painful then you should go see your doctor. Try some home remedies first, but if they don’t work you might need a visit to a dermatologist.

When to let it go

After reading this or after having seen your doctor and you have determined that your hair loss can be chalked up to male pattern baldness, then what now?

Your first step is to try some Minoxidil from Give it a few months to see if it works and if you are happy with the results.

But, you may come to a point when you just have to say it’s over. This is when I recommend getting a haircut to suit your baldness. The shorter the better as it actually makes you look less bald. Or at least if not less bald, that you’re not looking to hide the fact that you’ve got a balding crown. If you are balding at 20 or younger then I definitely recommend just buzzing it down. Actually I recommend that to just about anybody, but especially if you are young. There is nothing that kills your attractiveness more than trying to hide the fact that you are bald when you are young.

You don’t necessarily need to shave it with a razor, but at least go with a number 2 clipper blade all over. Or shorter if you feel comfortable.

Final Thoughts

Luckily we live in a time when the first signs of balding shouldn’t cause you too much anxiety. Sure, nobody likes to realize they are losing their hair, but back in the 70’s you would have considered wearing a rug. Besides Kojak, you really didn’t see too many bald guys like you do now. It is universally accepted to have a shaved head, or just have a balding look. Nobody cares really.

You’re only going to look bad if you try to hide it because you aren’t fooling anybody. Which is why a combover is never a viable option.

The topic that gets me the most messages definitely has to do with losing your hair. So if you have any questions or comments about your hair loss then make sure you leave a comment in the box below!