The technical term for hair-loss, or baldness, is alopecia, and refers to the loss of hair for general reasons or hair-loss as a result of male (or female) pattern baldness.
Alopecia is not yet fully understood and can have many causes, including male pattern baldness, malnutrition, infection, drug-use, trauma, pregnancy and more.
A study from Hair Ink shows that male pattern baldness accounts for over 95% of cases involving loss or thinning of hair within the male population; its main characteristic is the receding of hair from the lateral sides of the sufferers forehead, or thinning of hair on the crown (top) of the head.
Environmental factors don’t seem to have a significant effect on the onset or development of male pattern baldness, as this form of hair loss is passed down from generation to generation. Male pattern baldness is a genetic trait as opposed to an environmental or behavioural cause, and each male has around a 4 in 7 chance of carrying the gene that causes the phenomenon. The age of the suffer when it begins, as well as the rate of deterioration, depends largely on average ages etc throughout the genetic line, much like the onset of menopause in women.
The impacts that poor nutrition have on hair-loss has been studied in some depth over the years, and these studies have found that a lack in certain nutrients and a lack in necessary food intake can both affect loss of hair in women as well as men.
Certain infections can also cause a certain, yet usually limited, level of hair-loss, such infections include; Folliculitis, Dissecting cellulitis, certain Fungal infections (such as tinea capitis), Secondary syphilis and a microscopic mite called Demodex folliculorum. Some autoimmune disorders also carry the risk of causing the thinning or loss of hair.
Aside from the obvious radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, there are several different types of other traumas that have been known to cause hair-loss. Pulling on your hair with excessive force (ponytails etc) and rigorous heat styling or brushing can cause something called Traction alopecia, where individual strands of hair weaken and break off. Major physical traumas can also cause hair-loss; stress, childbirth, major surgery, and poisoning can all be culprits.
Aside from external and genetic factors, drug use is also a big cause of modern-day hair-loss and can be either a temporary or permanent effect. Many medications are included in the list, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, acne, steroid and HRT medications.
There are many products on the market that claim to be able slow/stop the loss of hair, aid in natural re-growth of lost hair or simply help to thicken or cover thinning patches. Some causes of hair-loss allow for a change in lifestyle or medication to stop any hair-loss in it’s tracks, but there is currently no medically-proven and FDA approved cure for male (or female) pattern baldness, instead suffers are left with a wide array of alternate products and methods to put off the inevitable for as long as possible; or at least try and cover it up.