Be honest, have you begun to notice your hairline receding recently?
If so, you may be surprised to know that you're not alone.
After all, male pattern baldness is one of the most common conditions in the world, and an estimated 40% of all men will report noticeable hair loss by the relatively tender age of 35.
Beyond this, 65% of men have begun to lose their hair by the age of 60, while 80% of 80-year olds while have seen the hair around their crown and temples thin considerably.
Before you panic and start seeking out one of the many so-called 'miracle' treatments on the market, it's important to note that there's no way to halt a receding hairline or the curb the onset of male pattern baldness.
Instead, you need to gain some perspective and deal with your impending baldness in a positive manner, while taking proactive steps towards transforming your look for the better!
In this post, we'll go through the stages and causes of a receding hairline, while helping you to face your new reality and take charge of your destiny.
While there is typically a difference between an adolescent and an adult hairline, this is caused by marginal hair loss that is barely noticeable.
This may also be described as natural hair loss, with most people known to lose between 100 and 125 hairs per day on average thanks to proven shifts in hair growth cycles.
However, when experiencing male pattern baldness, hair loss is far more noticeable and this is likely to have a direct impact on your hairline. This tends to occur in stages too, and we've broken each of these down for your attention:
The first stage of male pattern baldness and a genuinely receding hairlines is a deep, symmetrical recession at the temples. These areas can become noticeably bear over time, while this may also overlap with the sustained thinning of hair at the crown of the head.
Stage two is defined by a deepening recession at the front of the head and in the temple areas. Not only this, but hair loss at the crown also becomes more evident and obvious to the human eye. At the same time, a bridge of moderately thick hair will separate balding areas at the front of the scalp and the vertex of the crown, although the sides of your head will remain well-populated with follicles.
In stage three, we see the beginning of severe hair loss, with the band of hair between the two balding areas on your scalp becoming increasingly narrow. Similarly, the rate of hair loss around the crown and temporal regions becomes incrementally worse.
By the time you reach the dreaded stage four, you'll notice that only a few strands of hair separate the balding regions at the front of the scalp and the crown. Any remaining hair will also form an iconic horseshoe shape around the centre of your scalp, while hair loss around the temples will accelerated considerably.
Unsurprisingly, we finish with the most advanced stage of hair loss, where only a thin wreath of hair remains one the sides and at the back of the scalp. At this stage, you'll be almost completely bald, spare a select few strands dotted around your head.
There are many potential triggers for temporary hair loss, including anxiety, thyroid disease and the iron deficiency anaemia. In these instances, the normal rate of hair growth will resume once the underlying ailments of been treated, while the loss of hair is not usually characterised by clearly defined stages or a receding hairline.
Instead, it will most likely fall out in clumps, creating random bald patches in different areas of the scalp. Hormonal changes can also have a similar, temporary effect, although in this instance the hairline may not change at all.
As we've already said, male pattern baldness (or androgenic alopecia) remains the primary trigger for hair loss in men, while this genetic condition is also permanent and will cause the adult hairline to recede over time.
While many have speculated about the potential causes of male pattern baldness, the most informed studies have revealed that the sex steroid and androgen DHT (dihydrotestosterone) plays a pivotal role.
Associated primarily with masculine attributes, this steroid is synthesised from testosterone in a number of different areas in the human body, including the hair follicles.
In simple terms, DHT is involved in the maintenance of sexual characteristic and metabolic activities, including the production of blood cells.
In instances where people experience hyper-sensitivity to DHT, the steroid can reduce the growth of hair follicles and trigger something known as miniaturisation.
This ultimately results in lighter, finer and more sparse hairs, as DHT attaches itself to each follicles' receptor cells and prevents the necessary nourishment from driving a regular rate of growth.
This results in the aforementioned stages of progressive hair loss, which eventually ends when individual follicles stop growing.
Given the genetic nature of male pattern baldness and the type of progressive hair loss that it triggers, it should come as no surprise that there is no known cure or treatment that can prevent this.
However, it's hard to reconcile this with the fact that the global hair loss treatment market was worth $2.8 billion in 2017, with customers throughout the world being encouraged to spend their cash on a raft of increasingly innovative (but ultimately ineffective) solutions.
From products such as Regaine to expensive hair replacement therapies, these treatments require a significant investment but do not offer genuine value for money.
So why are these products so popular?
Firstly, the negative emotions associated with losing your hair can be overwhelming, particularly for the 40% of men who begin to go bald before their 35th birthday.
After all, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding premature baldness, while the social stigma that was once associated with hair loss continues to weigh on the minds of sufferers (despite it no longer being relevant in the modern age).
With emotion and impulse a key driver of the retail market (and particularly hair restoration treatments), it's little wonder that we're willing to spend so much without any viable or scientifically proven chance of success.
Secondly, it's important to note that a number of treatment do have a short-term impact on the condition of your hair and the prevailing rate of hair loss.
Take the aforementioned Regaine, for example, which is scientifically known as Minoxidil and has the capacity to re-grow follicles while slowing down the rate at which hair is lost.
It achieves this by artificially extending the anagen hair-growing phase, while slightly thickening thinner hairs.
Not only are these relatively positive results only experienced by around 40% of the men who actually use Regaine, but they're also temporary and cannot be sustained over a period of time. So, rather than serving as a long-term solution for progressive hair loss, Regaine simply delays the inevitable while preventing the recession of your hairline.
The same can be said for hair transplants, which are costly and invasive procedures through which grafted hair follicles are transplanted onto a bald scalp. The type of follicles used are typically resistant to balding, helping to initially boost hair growth and counter the impact of premature balding.
If you're aware of the experiences of Wayne Rooney, you'll know that these expensive treatments do not offer a permanent solution to male pattern baldness. The Everton star, who underwent his first hair transplant surgery back in 2011, has now spent more than £30,000 to further rejuvenate his scalp and fund ongoing treatment.
Incredibly, his hair has begun to thin again recently, raising the prospect that the former England captain will require a third transplant before the year is out.
Treatments of this type share many of the same characteristics. They're all marketed as being innovative and effective hair loss solutions, despite the fact that they are completely incapable of preventing genetic hair loss or maintaining an adult hair loss in the face of progressive baldness.
Typically, the cost is also disproportionate to the actual value that they deliver, with ongoing treatment and surgery required to sustain the initial effects.
Similarly, these treatments also use emotional hooks to engage their audience, advertising the short-term benefits and using these to drive impulsive sales.
With this in mind, it's easy to see why anyone experiencing premature balding should be compelled to invest heavily in hair loss treatments (Yes, I've done this myself in the past).
It's also obvious that they do not offer a viable, long-term solution to male pattern baldness, and in this respect they'll achieve little more than forcing you to waste your hard-earned cash over a prolonged period of time.
OK, we hear you ask; how exactly should you tackle male pattern baldness?
For many reaching for the razor and shaving their head is one of the best and most effective method of confronting male pattern baldness. Often that follows undergoing numerous treatment options beforehand and becoming increasingly depressed at an inability to slow the rate of hair loss or halt a dramatically receding hairline.
You may have learned from the experiences of others or articles like this and taken the proactive approach of shaving your head as soon as the signs of male pattern baldness first presented themselves, for example, while those who are younger may well decide to delay this while they deal with the emotional impact of premature hair loss.
Ultimately, shaving your head and taking control of your circumstances is the best and most progressive method of dealing with male pattern baldness, both from a mental and a physical perspective (a little more on this later).
Still, the decision of when to shave your head remains a deeply personal one, which will depend on your age, outlook and various other factors.
The key is to not force the issue, as there will likely come a time when this seems the most logical step and emerges as a natural solution for premature baldness.
If you do not feel ready to shave your scalp (or believe that this is not right for you), this does not mean that treatment is your only alternative.
Instead, you need to seek out techniques and mechanisms that can help to naturally combat a receding hairlines, by minimising the rate of hair loss and cultivating a new, decidedly bolder look.
In terms of the former, sustaining a healthy and balanced diet can help to optimise the condition and growth rate of your hair, at least for a brief period of time.
More specifically, consuming a diet that is rich in nutrition, minerals, vitamins and amino acids will help to organically minimise hair loss, particularly if you include plenty of fruit and dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach.
These food items boast strong anti-inflammatory properties, while they're also rich in the antioxidants that will help to protect your hair follicles and promote growth.
When it comes to latter, you can alter your grooming techniques and unique sense of style to help embrace a receding hairline as part of a brand new look.
Growing a beard is an excellent starting point, with numerous styles of facial hair capable of suiting a shaved or balding head.
The key premise here is that a beard restores balance to your face, which is lost when your hairline begins to recede. This also draws the initial attention away from your balding scalp and towards your face, while adding character to your look and creative much larger, impactful and more diverse fashion statement.
It's also recommended to continue to shampoo and condition your scalp, as this will prevent the onset of dandruff.
As this is primarily a skin condition, it can affect bald men regularly while in some instances it may be exacerbated by the use of a blade to shave the head.
So, by lubricating the skin with oil and washing your scalp regularly, you help to avoid the build up of dead skin cells.
With regards to fashion, you may want to remember that a shaved or balding head appears much smaller to the naked eye. This, in turn, can cause your upper body to appear larger and more muscular, which is why so many professional bodybuilders shave their head when competing.
As a result of this, you should consider investing in tailored or slim-fit clothes where possible, as this can help to accentuate your new look and once again transform a receding hairline into a positive feature.
The great thing is that these principles continue to be relevant after you've shaved your head or gone completely bald, so that you're new lifestyle, appearance and outlook can bridge the gap between a receding hairline and a shaved scalp.
This should help you to cope with the process of male pattern baldness and embrace it fully, while creating a newfound sense of confidence that can make losing your hair the best thing that ever happened to you!
After all, even the studies suggest that there's no reason to fear going bald in the modern age.
One in particular found that bald men are perceived as being 13% stronger than those with a full head of hair, while they're also considered to be more masculine, dominant and attractive to women (although the latter has much to do with the aforementioned qualities).
This can make men with shaved heads more likely to be considered for leadership roles in the workplace, and this respect losing your hair may be the trigger for a new and more exciting phase in your life.
As if to illustrate our point, we've seen the rise of the bald, celebrity hunk over the course of the last decade, with some of Hollywood's most prominent heart throbs renowned for their lack of hair.
No single celebrity embodies this more than Bruce Willis, who had a receding hairline when he first hit the headlines as the star of the 1980s TV hit Moonlighting.
His status as a sex symbol was cemented when he shaved his scalp, and he has since been joined by a host of leading men including The Rock, Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson.
Not only do these men exude power, confidence and incredible presence, but women also see them as enduringly attractive.
This highlights an age where a shaved head represents more of a bold fashion statement than the enforced consequence of hair loss.
With even younger stars shaving their head in order to radiate confidence on the silver screen, there's no reason why you shouldn't reach for that razor and transform the way in which you perceive and deal with male pattern baldness.
No matter how we spin it or what scientific studies reveal in the future, for now there is only one real solution for a receding hairline and the onset of male pattern baldness.
This is to embrace the reality of progressively losing your hair, by challenging your mindset and understanding the ways in which a regressing hairline or a shaved scalp can transformed from a negative into a positive development.
This has much to do with mindset, of course, but you can also take the practical steps that we suggested above to help cultivate a new and exciting your look.
Shaving your head certainly represents an empowering starting point, while changing your wardrobe and growing facial hair can also compliment you new hairstyle and overall aesthetic.
Not only will this ensure that losing your hair becomes as positive an experience as possible, but it can also have a positive impact on the way in which you're perceived by others.
Who knows, the onset of male pattern baldness and the decision to shave your scalp may ultimately challenge and enhance your lifestyle, while helping you to emerge as the type of confident, wiser and proactive individuals that others look up to.