Functional Causes of Hair Loss in Men
With Father’s Day around the corner, many fathers might love to receive a full head of hair! While we can’t gift that, we can talk about why hair loss is on the rise in men of all ages. The proportion of men with moderate to extensive hair loss increases with age, ranging from 16% for men 18-29 years of age to 53% of men 40-49.1 Although hair loss can occur in anyone, it is more common in men.
Leaving out genetics, here are some of the top reversible causes of hair loss (in no particular order):
A systematic review of 47 studies published between 2007 and 2017 revealed that toxic agents found to be associated with alopecia included: thallium, mercury, selenium, colchicine, boric acid, arsenic, and certain synthetic opioids.2
Nutrients are the building blocks to our cells, so it makes sense that poor nutrition is closely linked with poor hair quantity and quality. Hair is also physiologically optional, so it won’t flourish unless you’re in good health. Critical micronutrients for hair health include iron, zinc, niacin, selenium, biotin, vitamin A and vitamin D.3 Meanwhile, low protein diets can lead to hair loss as hair is made up of 95% of the protein keratin.
It’s not just heavy chemical treatments that cause us to lose hair. Even seemingly innocuous medications like antibiotics, birth control pills and even ibuprofen have been shown to cause short-term hair loss.4
Imbalances in hormones can impact the growth, strength and shine of your hair. Thyroid hormone imbalances can cause thin and brittle hair while high levels of testosterone, especially Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), can shrink hair follicles and decrease the length of their growth cycle.5 Many of the common hair loss medications function by blocking DHT receptors.6
Fungus thrives in warm and humid environments. Candida is a type of fungus that can easily get out of hand, especially with sugary foods and chronic stress. With too much candida in your system, your scalp can become red, inflamed, itchy and flakey. The result can be patchy hair loss.7
Thankfully, hair loss is often reversible, especially the earlier you act on it. Stay tuned for our next article on ways to reduce hair loss or contact us for immediate solution options.
- Rhodes, T., Girman, C. J., Savin, R. C., Kaufman, K. D., Guo, S., Lilly, F. R., Siervogel, R. M., & Chumlea, W. C. (1998). Prevalence of male pattern hair loss in 18-49 year old men. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 24(12), 1330–1332. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1524-4725.1998.tb00009.x
- Yu V, Juhász M, Chiang A, Atanaskova Mesinkovska N. Alopecia and Associated Toxic Agents: A Systematic Review. Skin Appendage Disord. 2018;4(4):245-260. doi:10.1159/000485749
- Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017;7(1):1-10. Published 2017 Jan 31. doi:10.5826/dpc.0701a01
- Grymowicz, Monika et al. “Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles.” International journal of molecular sciences 21,15 5342. 28 Jul. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms21155342