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IS IT MALE PATTERN BALDNESS, OR IS IT STRESS?

When you notice extra hairs on your pillow or hairbrush, you may be wondering if it’s stress-related or if you’re starting to see the effects of male pattern baldness. If you’re used to running your hand through a thick layer of locks, it may surprise you to find thinning hairlines or limp strands with less life and volume. Here are some ideas to help you find out the likely cause of your hair loss or thinning hair on the scalp.

Stages of Hair Growth

To understand more about hair that’s falling out, it’s helpful to learn the process of how hair grows. For both men and women, hair grows in three main stages. The first phase, called anagen, is the process where the hair actually grows from follicles on your head. This is the longest phase, lasting for years at a time. The next phase, catagen, is a brief period when hair transitions from its growth stage to the next part of the process called telogen. In the telogen or resting phase, hair stops growing and just rests on your head.   

When hair loss happens due to stress, it occurs during the last stage of hair growth, which is why the condition is referred to as telogen effluvium. Extended periods of stressful activity, such as a demanding job or traumatic events, such as an accident, can cause telogen effluvium or the thinning and loss of hair due to increased cortisol levels (stress hormone).

Stress causes a disruption in the hair growth cycle, when a higher percentage of your hairs enter the telogen phase at the same time, making more of your hair susceptible to falling out. Telltale signs of telogen effluvium (stress-related hair loss) include a noticeable difference in the amount of hair coming out when you comb your hair, more hairs in the shower drain or on the bathroom floor, and more hairs littering your pillow in the morning when you get out of bed. 

The best way to treat telogen effluvium is to make lifestyle improvements, develop strong coping mechanisms, and eliminate unnecessary stressors. And here’s the really good news: Your hair can grow back. Stress-related hair loss often resolves on its own after you manage the stress-causing elements in your life. Healing after major surgery or an accident takes time, and you may not even notice hair loss until a few months after the incident. Finding ways to de-stress on the job or, amid a challenging time in your life, are key to restoring your hair to its normal fullness. 

There are plenty of ways to deal with stress, including managing your diet and exercising. Talk to your health care provider about ideas to change your routine or manage how you internalize daily stressors. Find what works best for you, whether it’s a calming sunset walk, breathing exercises designed to refocus your attitude, or enjoying a hobby more often. 

Male Pattern Baldness

Unlike hair loss caused by stress, male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, happens slowly and appears in specific places on the scalp. If you notice your hair thinning at the temples or on the top of your head, it’s likely male pattern baldness affecting your hair growth. 

Androgenic alopecia can begin as early as your teenage years, with your chances of developing this condition increasing as you age. Male pattern baldness is also linked to genetics. When other family members have it, you’re more at risk for the hereditary condition. Androgenic alopecia is also affected by the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, a metabolite of testosterone. Men with higher levels of this hormone produce thinner and shorter hairs and the hair loses its signaling function. Once these hairs die off, they do not grow back. 

Ways To Treat Male Pattern Baldness

Hair restoration professionals offer a range of treatment options to deal with male pattern baldness. Both surgical and non-surgical procedures can help you regain lost hair or encourage your own hair production by stimulating key cellular responses. You can also combine methods, thus creating your own hybrid treatment plan for hair transplants and regenerative processes. Here are the main methods hair restoration professionals use:

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

The FUE treatment is a hair transplant that grafts a single follicular unit at a time from the donor area to a pre-arranged part of your scalp. The procedure lasts between six to eight hours and you can rest, talk, text, or watch something for entertainment while under local anesthesia for the FUE. 

Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)

A follicular unit transplant takes more follicles at a time than the FUE from a donor area on the back of the head. After removing the donor hair and tissue, your doctor separates the hairs into individual or small groups of follicles to complete your hair transplant to balding and thinning areas. 

Collagen Induction Therapy

This quick procedure involves using micro-needles to increase collagen production in the scalp. Using a topical anesthetic, your doctor then performs the micro-needling process on your scalp to encourage new hair growth through collagen and platelet response. Collagen induction therapy can result in fuller and more hair growth. 

MAXIM PDO Threading

This non-surgical procedure uses dissolving polydioxanone sutures to oxygenate the scalp, regenerating blood flow to reinvigorate hair production in balding and thinning areas. The PDO method encourages the body to form new blood vessels in the scalp, supports the regeneration of collagen, and helps trigger your body’s continual platelet response, resulting in six or more months of new hair growth.

3D Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)

An SMP procedure requires two sessions where doctors use micro-needles to implant pigmentation directly into the scalp. The micro-needling used in this process replicates hair follicles through a stroke method to give the appearance of hair through a relatively simple procedure. 

Stress-related hair loss and male pattern baldness differ in their effects and treatment. When hair loss is stress-related, you can often see a complete reversal after lowering stress levels or making lifestyle changes. Male pattern baldness typically leads to complete baldness after a slow thinning process. If you’re trying to determine the reason behind your hair loss, pay attention to little signs, such as the amount of hair you lose in a period of time or the area where your hair thins. Concerned about thinning hair and possible male pattern baldness? Talk to our team of experts at one of the many MAXIM Hair Restoration locations close to you. 

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