Ultimate Men's Hair Loss Playbook: How To Fight Pattern Baldness and Restore Hair Growth

The Ultimate Men's Hair Loss Playbook

  • Androgenetic Alopecia
  • Hair Growth
  • Hair Loss
  • Male Pattern Baldness
Ben's Lab Customer Testimonial - Andrew By Andrew Campbell 12 minute read

There are few things that strike fear into the hearts of men, like the prospect of losing their hair. Despite advancements in modern hair regrowth treatments, men's hair loss is still a very misunderstood topic, and many men are still buying into hair loss myths that have long been debunked by science.

That's why Ben's Lab is here to set the record straight with a comprehensive men's hair loss playbook to help you understand why hair falls out, what causes hair loss, and how you can treat hair loss without going under the knife.

 

Why Does Hair Fall Out Anyway?

    Now, let’s answer the most important question: Why does hair fall out? 

    In most cases, hair loss doesn't happen overnight. Instead, men experience gradually thinning hair that slowly leads to a receding hairline, bald spot, or worse. Typically, this happens during specific stages of the hair growth cycle, and understanding your natural growth patterns is crucial to reversing the signs of visible hair loss.

    Inside The Hair Growth Cycle:

    You see, hair grows in four unique stages, each one acting as an essential component for healthy hair. 

    Ben's Lab Hair Growth Cycle - Anagen, Catagen, Telogen, Exogen

    During the growth cycle, you'll experience:

    Anagen Phase (Growing Phase)

    First, new hair follicles emerge from the scalp during the initial growing phase. Afterward, they continue to grow until they've been cut or otherwise removed, and most people experience new hair growth that lasts anywhere from 2 – 8 years, making this the longest phase of the process. This duration of this phase is also the most susceptible to change, which is something we’ll expand more on in a bit.

    Catagen Phase (Transition Phase)

    Once the hair grows out completely, the transition phase begins. This happens when hair follicles begin to shrink, detaching the hair root from the dermal papilla, making room for new growth to take over. On average, this phase lasts around 10 days.

    Telogen Phase (Resting Phase)

    Next, hair follicles enter the resting phase, which accounts for around 9% of the hair on your head. Simply put, hair in this stage may not be growing, but it shouldn't be falling out either. This stage usually lasts between 2 – 3 months, new hair begins to develop as the old hair is resting. 

    When hair does fall out during this phase, telogen effluvium is usually to blame. Environmental and hormonal stress can cause hair to shed before it's ready, resulting in larger amounts of hair loss than normal.

    Exogen Phase (Shedding Phase)

    Yes, you read that right.

    Not only is losing hair completely normal, it's actually a crucial part of the hair growth cycle. During the hair-shedding stage, dead hair follicles fall out from the scalp, leaving room for regrowth to occur. While hair can fall out on its own, most of us experience shedding hair while washing, brushing, or styling our hair.

    In other words, if you see clumps of hair in your shower drain, it doesn't necessarily mean that serious hair loss is at play.

    Permanent Hair Loss: Fact Vs. Fiction

    Now, here's the thing about hair loss: Permanent hair loss is very real. Unfortunately, many men don't understand what this actually means for them and their ability to regrow healthy hair.

    For instance, extreme cases of male pattern baldness are incredibly difficult to overcome without invasive medical treatments. However, that doesn't mean you can't slow down the process and prevent further hair loss.

    Most of the time, early onset androgenetic alopecia can be addressed using preventative treatments that stimulate hair growth and keep existing hair healthy. If you want to avoid the serious side effects of a hair transplant, you'll need to be vigilant in taking action as soon as you notice hair loss.

    So, What Causes Male Pattern Hair Loss Exactly?

    First, it's important to know that there are different types of hair loss in men, but pattern hair loss remains the prime culprit. Treating hair loss starts with understanding these conditions and knowing how to identify the risk factors associated with losing hair.

    On average, most men suffer from androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Despite other conditions that can contribute to hair loss, the reality is that pattern baldness accounts for nearly 95% of hair loss cases in men

    Hair Loss Factors Out Of Your Control:

    Male pattern hair loss is linked to two key factors that are beyond our control: genetics and age.

    If you thought your dad going bald was a clear indication that you'd lose hair too, think again. Currently, there are more than 63 genetic markers that can potentially cause androgenetic alopecia, which makes identifying the exact cause a bit of a challenge. 

    In fact, it’s the ”X" chromosome, which is inherited from your mother, where you'll find the AR (androgen receptor) gene, which is one of the stronger genetic hair loss markers closely associated with an increased risk of androgenetic alopecia. In other words, if you inherit male pattern baldness, you more likely got it from your mom, not your dad.

    The next factor to consider is a person’s age. Although androgenetic alopecia can start in the teen years, the risk increases with age. This can be linked to several factors, including changes in hormones, environmental exposure, and a slowing of the hair growth cycle that makes it more challenging to restore hair that’s been lost.

    The bad news: These are factors that can not be controlled.

    The good news? There are factors you can control to keep your hair fuller and ticker for longer.

    Hair Loss Factors You Can Control:

    Now that you have a better understanding of how age and genetic factors can cause male pattern hair loss, it's important to remember that there are other factors at play, regardless of your genetics.

    A few key factors that can negatively influence the hair growth cycle include hormones, inflammation, chronic stress, and poor nutrition. These factors can severely shorten the anagen (growth) phase of your hair which eventually leads to hair thinning and balding.

    Ben's Lab Hair Loss Factors - Hormones, Inflammation, Stress, Nutrition

    Hormonal Changes

    As our bodies get older, our hormone levels change, disrupting the natural cycle of growth for your hair. For men, the primary hormonal change that can cause hair loss is the increase in DHT production

    DHT is a derivative of testosterone, converted by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, that increases as one ages. From there, DHT binds to androgen receptors on the scalp, leading to miniaturization and eventual loss of hair. Although testosterone also binds to these receptors, DHT is much more potent and can bind with five times the affinity, making it difficult to restore healthy hair growth.

    Inflammation

    Inflammation plays a critical role in the body’s ability to grow and maintain healthy hair. Numerous studies have found strong correlations between pattern hair loss patients and perifollicular inflammation. When this occurs, hairs transition from the anagen (growth) to the telogen (resting) phase more quickly, eventually leading to noticeable hair loss. 

    Additionally, Ben's Lab has found that 5-alpha reductase activity, when converting testosterone to DHT, increases the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 near dermal papilla cells in the scalp, further contributing to miniaturization.

    Chronic Stress

    Another key component in hair loss is stress. Even if you don't suffer from a hair-pulling disorder like traction alopecia, chronic stress disrupts the body's hormones, leaving you susceptible to a weakened immune system, hair loss, and other serious medical conditions. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and it has been shown to affect the cyclic nature of healthy hair growth. Elevated cortisol levels have been observed in both men and women suffering from androgenetic alopecia. 

    Poor Nutrition

    Lastly, don't overlook the role nutrition plays in your hair growth. There are vitamins and minerals that are essential in strengthening hair and supporting growth. The prominent ones being iron, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin D. 

    Ultimately, inhibiting DHT activity, suppressing inflammation, reducing stress, and eating a balanced diet are all ways you can decrease your likelihood of developing a severe case of male pattern hair loss.

    How To Detect And Identify Types of Hair Loss Early

    With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the signs that may indicate that your hair loss is part of a bigger issue.

    Step 1: Watch For Hair Shedding

    As we've said, hair shedding is a completely normal part of growing healthy hair. So, how do you know how much is too much?

    On a normal day, most adults lose around 50 to 100 hair strands. Most of the time, these strands come out in the shower or other places where you might brush or style your hair. Additionally, you might also notice hair shedding on your pillow, especially if you like to toss and turn at night.

    If you notice that more hair is falling out than usual, or you start seeing large amounts of lost hair at your hairline or crown, it might be time to talk with a specialist about the potential cause.

    Step 2: Identify Your Hair Loss Stage

    Of course, hair loss is more of a spectrum than a blanket term. Men experience male pattern baldness in varying degrees and stages, and being able to identify the stage based on your hair density is crucial. Today, hair loss professionals rely on the Norwood scale to determine the stage of hair loss progression in a client.

    The Norwood scale is a unique classification system that identifies hair loss stages based on the pattern, density, and visibility of the client's bald spots. 

    Here's a quick look at some of the stages in this scale:

    Ben's Lab Norwood Scale - Stages Of Men's Hair Loss

     

     

    Stage 1: Normal hair loss that doesn't leave visible signs.

    Stage 2: Slight hair thinning along the hair line, which may or may not be obvious to an untrained eye.

    Stage 3A: The hairline begins receding, creating visible bald areas that often appear in an M, V, or U shape.

    Stage 3B (vertex): The hairline begins slightly receding, but there is noticeable hair loss at the crown (vertex) of the scalp.

    Stage 4: Receding hairline continues to grow, leaving a large bald spot that is typically connected by patches of hair on each side of the head.

    Stage 5: Bald patches grow and expand, but connecting patches of healthy hair remain.

    Stage 6: Balding begins to extend to the temples, significantly reducing the amount of hair on the center and sides of the head.

    Stage 7: Severe hair loss occurs, leaving only a thin band of hair that surrounds the back and side of the head.

      Step 3: Seek Preventative Treatments

      If you want to get a handle on your hair loss before it reaches beyond the initial stages, taking preventative measures is your best course of action. While it is possible to stimulate hair growth after balding has started, the reality is that preventing hair loss is far more effective than reversing it.

      Make sure you raise these concerns to your medical provider before beginning a hair loss treatment regimen so they can advise you on the best options based on your unique health and wellness needs.

      So, What Can You Do To Treat Hair Loss?

      No matter what the root cause of your hair loss may be, it's never too late to seek treatment. Today, there are more options for treating male pattern baldness than ever before, and many of them can be delivered directly to your home.

      Most importantly, preventative hair loss treatment can help you avoid costly and risky surgical procedures, so you can experience natural hair regrowth on your terms.

      Preventative Treatments (Ben's Lab)

      One of the best ways to defy hair loss is to use clinically proven, natural remedies to address the hair loss factors mentioned earlier. To remind you, these include inhibiting DHT activity, suppressing perifollicular inflammation, reducing stress, and providing essential nutrients. 

      At Ben's Lab, we specialize in creating products that are safe and effective, resulting in a healthy scalp and thicker, fuller hair. Backed by clinical trials, our products have proven to be especially beneficial for patients suffering from male pattern hair loss. On average, 75% of users in this category saw a noticeable improvement in hair density and thickness.

      Best of all, our products are all-natural, backed by science, and made without harsh chemicals, giving you the freedom to restore your hair without any uncomfortable side effects.

      OTC Applications (Minoxidil, LLL Therapy, Microneedling)

      In some cases, over-the-counter medications may be a good addition to your treatment. One of the most popular choices for OTC hair loss medication is Minoxidil. Originally developed as a high blood pressure medication, Minoxidil can help increase blood flow to the hair follicles on the scalp.

      Keep in mind, like most medications, Minoxidil does come with some side effects. Some of the most common complaints from users include:

      • Initial hair shedding 
      • Scalp irritation
      • Lightheadedness or dizziness
      • Mild to moderate headaches
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Fluid retention
      • Shortness of breath
      • Chest pain or discomfort (less common) 

      Beyond hair loss medication, non-invasive procedures like low-level laser therapy or microneedling can also be used to support the growth of new hair follicles. Even though there isn't as much research to support these practices, many patients have reported promising results.

      Prescription Medication (Finasteride)

      If your medical provider recommends it, you can also try getting a prescription for established hair loss medications like Finasteride. Originating as a treatment for hyperplasia, Finasteride has become renowned for its ability to combat hair loss in its early stages, making it a good choice for men who have just begun to experience the impact of pattern hair loss. 

      To be effective, Finasteride blocks the body's production of male sex hormones, like DHT, that are linked to hair loss. Of course, like most prescription medications, Finasteride comes with some side effects. Patients who used this product for a prolonged period of time reported experiencing things like:

      • Decreased sex drive
      • Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
      • Decreased ejaculate volume or difficulty with ejaculation
      • Pain or discomfort in the testicles
      • Changes in breast tissue, such as tenderness or swelling
      • Lightheadedness or dizziness
      • Mild to moderate headaches
      • Increased tiredness or weakness
      • Depression, anxiety, or other changes in mood 

      Surgical Intervention

      As a last resort, invasive medical procedures like hair transplants can be used to reverse permanent hair loss. Used since the early 1950s, a hair transplant is a surgical procedure that removes damaged hair follicles from the scalp, replacing them with healthy ones.

      Like most elective surgeries, hair transplants are often expensive, ranging between $4,000 - $15,000 in the United States. Along with the cost, patients can also expect a lengthy recovery time and results that may not be visible for up to a year, even if the transplant has been successful. Some of the most common side effects of a hair transplant include:

      • Scalp irritation
      • Scalp infections
      • Scarring at the treatment site
      • Nerve damage in the head and neck

      Which Treatment Option Is Right For You?

      From a topical treatment to experimental procedures, choosing the right option can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there's an easy way to determine which path is the best for you and your hair, and it all starts with knowing your hair loss stage. With the help of a hair loss specialist, you can find the right treatment path for you. 

      Using the Norwood scale, male pattern baldness patients can identify their stage, and make an informed choice about restoring their hairline.

      Stages 1 - 4:

      If you notice signs of hair loss, but you haven't experienced major areas of baldness yet, preventative treatments and over-the-counter or prescription medications will be your best choice. These treatments are most effective in preventing further hair fallout and restoring dormant hair follicles.

      Plus, you can use these treatments from the comfort of your own home with minimal side effects. Now, that's what we call a win-win situation.

      Stages 5 - 8:

      Alternatively, patients who are in the later stages of male pattern baldness may need to take more extreme measures to regrow hair.  Individuals in this stage have already lost a large number of hair follicles. It's important to understand that once a hair follicle is dead, it cannot be restored. In these stages, surgical procedures can be a viable option, even with the added risks.

      When Should You Start Treating Hair Loss?

      Before you rush to your doctor's office to schedule a procedure, you should note that starting a hair loss treatment plan depends largely on the treatment path you choose. Taking preventative, treatments like products from Ben's Lab should always be the first line of defense against male pattern baldness, followed by more advanced options.

      Here are three signs you should never ignore when it's time to treat hair loss:

      A) You Notice In Increase In Hair Shedding

      Sure, this may seem obvious, but many of us fail to realize the severity of our hair loss before it's too late. If you are losing more than 100 hairs per day, it’s time to seek out preventative treatments or OTC medications.

      For about 75% of patients, this alone will be enough to stop hair loss in its tracks and support new hair follicle growth.

      B) You’ve Entered Your Mid-20s

      Did you know that almost 25% of men begin experiencing the signs of hair loss at the age of 21?  This number only increases with age as 65% of men will experience hair loss of various degrees by age 35. That means that by the time you’ve entered your mid-20s, you should be seriously considering taking proactive measures to prevent significant hair loss, regardless of whether other signs of aging are present.

      C) You've Been Diagnosed With Other Conditions

      If you've consulted with a professional and been diagnosed with a more advanced stage of hair loss, taking more serious action might be necessary. In these scenarios, it’s best to understand all of the options available to you and work with a medical professional who can help you determine the best path for your needs. 

       

      Ben’s Lab Mission

      Hair loss is something that no one wants to face, especially men. We believe that no one should have to settle for hair loss, regardless of their age or genetics. At Ben’s Labs, we’re committed to demystifying hair loss, giving you the power to make informed decisions about your hair goals.

      To learn more about our approach to preventing hair loss in men, visit our online store today.