Hair loss is an issue that’s often in the back of a lot of men’s minds – and it’s no surprise, given that two-thirds of all men in the UK will experience hair loss or thinning in their lifetime. The thought of losing your hair can be upsetting, but it’s a natural part of growing older for the majority of men.

Accepting the facts of life is the way that many men deal with losing their hair, and it probably has been since humans first walked this planet. But, it’s not the only option, as modern medical science has found ways to delay natural hair loss that can help you maintain your hair for a lot longer.

So, we’ve put together this guide to explain more about why and how hair loss occurs, what solutions are available, and how you can feel confident about your new look instead of worrying.

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a genetically inherited trait that causes hair loss in around half of all men by the age of 50. The extent of hair loss differs from person to person, and can result in anything from a receding hairline to full baldness over time.

Hair follicles in those with male pattern baldness are overly sensitive to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), which is a by-product of testosterone. DHT causes hair follicles to slowly shrink, until they’re no longer able to grow hairs.

While the effects of this process vary, hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia tends to take one of two common patterns. It either starts to recede from the top of the scalp until a horseshoe-like shape pattern of hair remains around the sides and back of the head. Or, it starts from the front, with the hairline falling back until most of the hair remains at the back of the head.

Hair loss is a normal part of the ageing process for most men, so, healthwise, it usually doesn’t raise cause for concern. Though, the thought of losing your hair can be upsetting – especially if it’s an important or meaningful part of your sense of self.

While male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss for men, there are also many other common causes. So it’s worth investigating if you’re unsure why you’re beginning to lose hair.

We’ll cover some of the other common causes of hair loss in men below…

Other causes of hair loss in men

Other causes of hair loss in men

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a hereditary disease that causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack the hair follicles – which can cause patches of hair to fall out as a result. Hair loss from alopecia areata is often unpredictable, and may sometimes grow back within a year without intervention.

If you’re experiencing hair loss in seemingly disconnected patterns, rather than in one of the two common patterns of male pattern baldness, then you may want to speak to your GP about the possibility of having alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata can begin at any age, and can come and go in unpredictable patterns throughout life.

Nutritional deficiencies

We don’t tend to think about it too often, but like any other part of the body, our hairs are made up of organic materials that we get from our diets. Hair is constructed from the protein, keratin. So a deficiency of protein can be to blame for dry and brittle hair – and even hair loss in more extreme cases.

Making sure you’re including enough protein in your diet can help you to curb or prevent deficiency-related hair loss, and you can do this by eating more fish and seafood, chicken and turkey, and dairy products like milk and yoghurt, to name a few.

For some inspiration on great protein-rich meals you can cook today, you might want to check out our article here, which has plenty of high-protein breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert ideas.

Iron is another mineral that’s important for healthy hair. Anaemia (caused by low iron levels) can interrupt the flow of nutrients from the blood vessels to the hair follicles – and starved hairs are likely to die off and fall out.

To learn more, you might want to have a read of our article; Iron: what it is, why it’s important, & how to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.

Finally, we’ve all been hearing a lot about vitamin D lately due to the pandemic – but you might not be aware that it plays an important role in hair health. Studies have shown that vitamin D stimulates hair follicles, which means that a deficiency can lead to slower hair growth, and even alopecia.

If you’d like to read more about vitamin D, its health benefits, and how to get the right amount, you may want to check out our guide here.

Telogen effluvium

Traumatic or stressful events can sometimes shock the body in unexpected ways. For example, by triggering hair loss. Telogen effluvium is the second most common form of hair loss, but fortunately, it’s not permanent.

Telogen effluvium is a thinning of hair caused by a shock to the system, such as exposure to toxins, blood loss, physical trauma, or surgery. Sudden changes to the body like these can cause hair follicles to become dormant for a period of time – usually around six months to a year, after which hair growth tends to start up again.

Accepting hair loss

Accepting hair loss

Societal pressures can lead us to believe that we should try to avoid or fix natural hair loss. So it’s worth asking yourself how important your hair truly is to you and your sense of self. While there are treatment options for hair loss, many men decide to gracefully accept the change and live as they are.

Some find it preferable to simply let nature take its course – or even to give it a helping hand by shaving their head completely. Not only can this be liberating, but these days, sporting a bald head can also be seen as smart and stylish.

It’s worth visiting a barber to make sure you get a good quality, even shave. And, you might also want to invest in a head shaver for maintenance.

If you’re not keen on the bald look, then there’s always hats or hairpieces. Change can often be good, and the natural process of hair loss can sometimes be the prompt for a few new wardrobe choices.

Hairpieces are available on the NHS. However, as with all cosmetic products, you’ll be charged unless you qualify for financial support. You can read the NHS guide to hairpieces for more information.



While the effects of male pattern baldness can’t be reversed or stopped, they can be slowed with medical intervention. This might sound underwhelming, but in most cases, it’s possible to delay hair thinning continually for years at a time, as long as the treatment is kept up.

There are two common types of treatment: medication and transplant surgery.

Low-level laser therapy is another new treatment involving using low-power lasers or UV light to stimulate the hair follicles in the scalp. But, there haven’t been enough positive research results to recommend it as an option in good faith.


The two most common medications used to treat hair loss are finasteride and minoxidil.

Finasteride is taken as a tablet, daily, for as long as you wish to stop hair loss. It’s only available on prescription, so if you feel that it could help you, you’ll need to speak to your GP.

Finasteride works by stopping the production of the enzyme which produces DHT from testosterone, which slows the degradation of the hair follicles.

For more information about finasteride, you might want to consult this guide from Lloyds Pharmacy.

Minoxidil is a topical cream that’s available over the counter, and must also be used every day for as long as you want to slow hair loss. Minoxidil is available in a variety of forms from different brands, such as Regaine – but all of them are applied by massaging the formula into any bald patches on the scalp.

Lloyds Pharmacy also has a great guide on minoxidil that you may find useful.

Both finasteride and minoxidil need to be taken for around three to six months before the effects will show. So, if you’re beginning to experience hair loss, it’s best to look into and begin these treatments sooner rather than later.

Transplant surgery

Hair transplant surgeries involve moving hair from one area of your body (the donor site) to an area where there is little or no hair (the recipient site). This can be very costly at anywhere from £1000 to £30,000, according to the NHS – and you’ll need to pay for it yourself, as it’s a cosmetic procedure.

There are two types of hair transplant surgery performed currently: follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).

FUT surgery involves removing a thin strip of hair from the back of the head, which is then divided into many small pieces – each containing one to four hairs. These pieces are then grafted onto tiny cuts made in bald areas of the scalp. This can leave a scar, but it shouldn’t be visible as it’s left in an area where hair will regrow to cover it.

The other method, FUE, requires the back of the head to be shaved. Individual hairs are then removed and grafted into tiny cuts around the scalp. This method will leave many tiny scars. Though, again, they are unlikely to be noticeable.

Both methods of surgery only take a day, and the recovery period is short. Most people will be able to return to work after a few days, and will likely only need to take it easy and avoid vigorous exercises for a week or so.

For more information about these procedures which may help if you’re considering hair transplant surgery as an option, you may want to have a read of this NHS guide.

Final thoughts…

Hair loss is a natural part of life for most men, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world – whether that’s because you learn to accept changes in your appearance, or because you take steps to slow it with medical interventions.

Whatever you choose to do, we hope that our advice has been helpful to you.

For more articles relating to men’s health, why not visit the relevant section of our website here?