Concerned about male pattern baldness? You’re not alone. In a multinational survey of about 1,500 men, about half reported that they’re losing their hair, and most were worried that hair loss will affect their self-esteem, attractiveness, and social life.
Male pattern baldness, when the hairline tends to recede in an “M” shape, is very common—it accounts for more than 95 percent of hair loss in men. What’s more, most men who experience male pattern baldness will notice some degree of hair loss by age 35.
What Actually Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
Because of the prevalence of male pattern baldness, it’s natural for rumors to arise about what actually causes it. You may have heard that wearing hats too often, using gel or hairspray, excessive shampooing, or certain hairstyles can also cause or make male pattern baldness worse, for example.
But man bunners and baseball cap lovers can breathe easy. If you’re concerned about losing your hair, you may be relieved to know that those habits are NOT to blame for male pattern baldness.
Here’s how male pattern baldness happens: On a typical scalp, approximately 80 to 90 percent of follicles are growing at any time. Each day, about 75 follicles shed their hair while the same number enter a new growth phase. Male pattern baldness occurs when hormones called androgens cause hair follicles’ growth phase to shrink over time. They essentially miniaturize, which results in shorter and finer hair.
So even if your hair care routine does cause a few hairs to fall out, if the hair follicles haven’t miniaturized, those hairs will likely grow back. *high five*
But if it’s not your hat obsession or your excessive hairspray use, what actually causes male pattern baldness?
Researchers say genetics, probably. While the exact way family history affects a man’s risk is still unclear, studies have shown that there’s, well, a pattern. Male pattern baldness tends to cluster in families, so having a close relative with patterned hair loss may mean you’re at increased risk.
So go ahead: Wear a hat or let your man bun be, and look to your family tree for clues about your own risk of male pattern baldness.