Two-thirds of men in the UK will experience hair loss or hair thinning in their lifetime. For many men, the thought of losing hair can be upsetting, but it’s important to remember that it’s a natural part of ageing.

While lots of men accept their hair loss and grow used to their new look, it’s not the only option. Today, there are ways to delay natural hair loss and maintain your hair for longer, should you want to.

Here, we’ll discuss why and how hair loss occurs and the treatments that are available

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a genetically inherited trait that causes hair loss in 85% of 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 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 unable to grow strands of hair.

While the effects of this process vary, hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia tends to follow one of two patterns. Hair either begins to recede from the top of the scalp until a horseshoe-like pattern of hair remains around the sides and back of the head. Or, it starts from the front, with the hairline moving backwards until most of the remaining hair is at the back of the head.

Hair loss is a normal part of the ageing process for most men, so, healthwise, it isn’t usually a concern. Though, if you’re worried make sure you book an appointment with your GP.

While male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss for men, there are also other types. These include…

Alopecia areata

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

If you’re experiencing hair loss in seemingly disconnected patterns, 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

While we may not always consider it, just 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 a protein called keratin. So, in more extreme cases, a deficiency of protein can sometimes be to blame for hair loss.

Making sure you’re getting enough protein from your diet can help you to curb or prevent deficiency-related hair loss. Some of the best sources of protein include fish and seafood, chicken and turkey, and dairy products.

For inspiration for protein-rich meals, you might want to check out our article; 12 high-protein meal ideas.

Iron is another mineral that’s important for healthy hair. Anaemia is a condition caused by low iron levels which can interrupt the flow of nutrients from the blood vessels to the hair follicles. This can cause hair to fall out.

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

Studies have also shown that vitamin D plays an important role in hair health. It stimulates hair follicles, which means that a deficiency can lead to slower hair growth.

If you’d like to read more about vitamin D and its health benefits, check out our guide, here.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a thinning of hair caused by a shock to the body, such as exposure to toxins, blood loss, physical trauma, or surgery. These sudden changes 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. It’s the second most common form of hair loss.

Accepting hair loss

Accepting hair loss

While it might sometimes seem like there’s pressure to maintain your natural hair, this isn’t the case. Many men accept their hair loss and continue to live happily as they are. It’s worth asking yourself how important your hair truly is to your sense of self; it’s likely that when you think about it, who you are and how your hair looks are very different things.

In fact, some men find it helpful to shave their head completely to embrace the change. Not only can this be liberating and easy to maintain, but many see a bald head as smart and stylish. It’s worth visiting a barber to make sure you get a good quality, even shave. And you may want to invest in a head shaver for maintenance.

If you’re less keen on the bald look, you can try wearing different hats or hairpieces. Many men find this a helpful way to cope while adjusting to their new look.

Treatments for hair loss

Treatments for hair loss

If you’re not ready to embrace your hair loss just yet, the effects of male pattern baldness can be slowed down with medical intervention. And in many cases, it’s possible to delay hair thinning continually for years at a time.

There are two common types of treatment, which we’ll discuss below.


Medication can be used to help treat hair loss – finasteride and minoxidil are most commonly used.


Finasteride is taken daily as a tablet for as long as you wish to prevent hair loss. It works by stopping production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which slows the degradation of the hair follicles.

For more information about finasteride, you might want to read this guide from Lloyds Pharmacy or speak to your GP.


Minoxidil is a topical cream that’s available over the counter, and should be used daily for as long as you want to slow hair loss. Minoxidil is available in a variety of forms, and is applied by massaging the formula into any bald patches on the scalp.

To learn more, this guide from Lloyds Pharmacy may be useful.

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

Transplant surgery

Hair transplant surgeries involve moving hair from one area of your body to another. This can cost you anything between £1,000 to £30,000.

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

Both methods 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, you may want to read this NHS guide.

Final thoughts…

Hair loss is a natural part of life for most men. We hope that whether you grow to accept the change to your appearance or take steps to slow hair loss with medical intervention, you’ll feel happy and confident in yourself.

For further reading, why not visit the general health and men’s health sections of our website?

Have you experienced hair loss with age? Do you have any advice for dealing with this? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.