Male pattern baldness and natural aging may cause hair to thin. Some treatment options may help restore hair, depending on the underlying cause.
Thinning hair is a natural part of getting older. And men tend to lose their hair more quickly and more noticeably than do people of other genders.
Male hair loss is so common and normal that we ever refer to this as androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.
Below, we’ll talk about how you can cover thin areas of your hair, if you wish to do so. We’ll also discuss how to treat thinning hair naturally, and how to enhance the look of your hair and build your confidence as your hair changes over time.
If you’re looking to cover up thinning areas of hair, here are some tips:
1. Wear a wig or toupee
A wig or toupee can cover large areas of thinning hair. It can be made of natural hair that matches your hair color.
2. Use scalp sprays
You can use a spray or colorants that match your hair and scalp color to fill in thinning areas of your scalp and reduce the appearance of thinning.
3. Try a crown weave
Ask your barber or hairstylist for a crown weave for thinning on the top of your head.
4. Play with your hairstyle
Try a hairstyle like a comb-over, slick-back, or pompadour to add volume and cover thinning areas in the back.
Here are some treatment tips to make your hair thicker or help follicles grow hair back more consistently.
5. Minoxidil (Rogaine)
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical hair loss treatment that you apply to your scalp two times a day to help promote hair growth in thinning or balding areas.
Rogaine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use at home, and there are plenty of
Talk to your doctor first to make sure it will work for you, and to go over any diet or lifestyle changes you may need to make to help Rogaine work more effectively.
6. Scalp massage
Gently put pressure around your scalp with your fingertips. This helps blood flow more easily to the follicles and promotes hair growth.
Try using castor oil to moisturize your hair and get your blood flowing at the same time. Both may help you grow more and thicker hair.
7. Essential oils
Try applying an essential oil, such as rosemary, to your scalp and hair to promote hair growth. Lavender oil has been shown to be somewhat successful in helping treat thinning hair.
Before applying the oil to your scalp, make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil and do a patch test to make sure you’re not allergic. You can do this by putting a small drop on your skin first and waiting 24 hours.
If your skin turns red and itchy with hives, you may be allergic. Don’t use the oil if you see this reaction. Also do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin.
Try an anti-thinning shampoo that can add volume to your hair and nourish it and its follicles with vitamins and amino acids.
This can help bring nutrients and moisture to your scalp that can promote hair growth and follicle health.
Try a multivitamin rich with iron, folic acid, and zinc to ensure that hair grows back consistently thick and healthy.
Some other supplements that may help include:
Talk to your doctor before you take any new vitamins. There isn’t a lot of evidence that vitamin supplements will cause hair regrowth, and having too much of a specific vitamin can lead to other health issues.
10. Prescription medications and treatments
Here are some medications for hair thinning and loss that your doctor may be able to prescribe:
- Oral or injected medications: May help reduce hormones or inflammation that leads to hair loss.
- Laser therapy: Your doctor or a dermatologist may be able to treat hair follicles with laser technology that sends light particles called photons into your follicles to help them grow. Talk to your doctor first to see if this will help you.
11. Hair transplant
Talk to your doctor about a surgical hair transplant to graft new, healthy follicles onto your scalp.
This procedure should be a last resort if you want to completely refresh your hair growth. A hair transplant may not help everyone and can lead to scars or unnatural hair patterns if done incorrectly.
It’s not entirely clear what causes thinning hair in men.
We do know that male pattern baldness has something to do with androgens. These are hormones responsible for controlling bodily processes that happen during and after puberty, including hair growth.
Testosterone (T) is the most well-known androgen. An androgen called DHT is most involved in hair growth. High levels of T and DHT may influence the speed of your hair cycle, which can lead to thinning hair.
First, here’s a quick refresher on hair growth:
- Your hair grows out of little capsules in your skin called follicles.
- Each follicle supports the growth of a single hair by a little under half an inch per month for about 2 to 6 years — this is called the anagen phase.
- The follicle eventually shrivels up and cuts the hair off from the blood supply underneath, pushing the hair out permanently — this is called the catagen phase.
- The follicle spends a few months resting and eventually generates a brand-new hair — this is called the telogen phase.
- The process restarts back at the anagen phase and goes through the same phases again.
- These phases go on for many years until a follicle eventually can’t produce any more hairs.
It’s believed that the androgen receptor gene may increase T and DHT levels and speed up this cycle.
A 2001 study found that men who experienced male pattern baldness tended to have a specific genetic variant of a receptor called the StuI restriction site that shortens the genetic code responsible for hair growth.
But a 2017 study found that at least 200 other possible genes may contribute to your chance of male pattern baldness.
Some environmental and lifestyle factors can also affect hair loss, including:
- not sleeping enough
- chronic stress or short episodes of intense stress
- excessive exposure to heat, sunlight, or ultraviolet rays
- exposure to air pollution
- deficiency in vitamins like iron, folic acid, and B vitamins
- use of hair products with chemicals in them, especially hair sprays and gels
- wearing hats, beanies, helmets, or other headwear
- wearing tight hairstyles like ponytails or buns
- losing a lot of weight, such as 20 or more pounds, in a short time
Losing your hair can be an emotional experience. Hair is often thought to be a central part of our identity as individuals, so it’s completely normal to have strong feelings about thinning or lost hair.
Here are some tips for how to cope with thinning hair:
- Try a new hairstyle. Try moving your hair around different parts of your head to minimize the appearance of areas that have thinned.
- Shave it off. Buzz your hair short or go completely hair-free. You may be surprised by how much you like how you look with no hair. And you’ll never have to worry about styling your hair again.
- Experiment with different looks. Some fashion statements may complement thin hair. Try combinations of glasses, facial hair, tattoos, or piercings to accentuate your look.
- Own it. Make your new hair a part of who you are by being confident and proud of it. If a friend, coworker, or family member makes a derogatory comment, focus on how much you love it or how much less time you have to spend taking care of it.
See your doctor if you don’t see any progress with the use of home or over-the-counter treatments for thinning hair, especially if your hair loss is causing you stress or disrupting your daily life.
Seek medical help as soon as possible if you notice any of the following along with thinning hair:
- losing large amounts of hair elsewhere on your body
- losing hair in large patches or chunks
- losing or gaining an abnormal amount of weight without any major diet or lifestyle changes
- unusual symptoms like fever, chills, or fatigue
Thinning hair and hair loss are natural. But losing your hair can still be a distressing experience.
That’s why it’s important to learn what works best for you to minimize how much thinning hair disrupts your life, whether it’s a new style, a new look, or just making your new appearance a part of who you are.