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Jamie Laing has opened up about his struggle with hair loss.
In a new episode of his Private Parts Podcast, the 32-year-old former Strictly contestant discussed male insecurity with Josh Roberts, mental health advocate and author of The Anxious Man, and revealed he has always been worried about his hair.
"My hair issues started, I reckon, when I was about 19, 20...," the Made in Chelsea star said.
"I started to recede and that's when you start to, sort of, lose that Jude Law look, but unfortunately I wasn't as good looking as Jude Law and I was probably a lot shorter...
"And I wasn't an A-list Actor. So, I had a lot of things not going for me. For me, I've always been worried about my hair."
Laing underwent a hair transplant three years ago, after being teased by friends about his hair.
Speaking on the Private Parts Podcast at the time, he said, "My friend decided to go for a hair transplant and I decided to go with him.
"I think we got a little bit of a discount. But we decided to go to the best place ever. We went to Nottingham because apparently that is the place of hair transplants.
"As I arrived in the clinic they went, ‘oh let me see’, and as I took my hat off they went, ‘well you don’t really need one’, and I went, ‘well we’re here now so we might as well do it’."
Laing is far from alone in being concerned about hair loss. In a 2005 study of the psychological impact of hair loss, of the 47% of 1536 men who reported hair loss; 62% agreed that it could affect self-esteem.
Watch: British man documents his hair transplant over six months.
What causes male hair loss?
According to consultant hair transplant surgeon Dr Asim Shahmalak, from Crown Clinic, male pattern baldness, medically known as androgenetic alopecia, affects a quarter of men by the time they reach their 30s, rising to a third of men in their 40s and more than half of men by their fifties.
It is usually caused by your genes.
"It is a myth that the baldness gene passes down more commonly on the mother's side - both sides of the family can cause it," he explains.
While there are lots of other causes for hair loss, including stress and a vitamin and mineral deficiency, Dr Shahmalak says none of the others are nearly as significant as the hereditary cause.
Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley, says male pattern baldness can begin at any age from puberty onwards, and can be a distressing condition.
"If you have male pattern hair loss, this does not mean that your hair is falling out," she explains. "Rather, it means that your individual hairs are growing back thinner and shorter over several years, through many progressive hair growth cycles."
The problem can have wide reaching consequences for mental health.
"Men's confidence can be destroyed by losing their hair," explains Dr Shahmalak. "The majority of men have to cope with the psychological impact of losing their hair at some point in their lives. It can be particularly devastating if it hits men at a particularly young age."
According to Kingsley early signs of male pattern hair loss include:
- recession from your front hairline
- thinning at your temples
- increased scalp visibility through your hair, especially at the crown of your head
The extent of hair loss caused by male pattern baldness ranges widely. You may eventually experience any or all of the following:
- a slightly receding hairline
- advanced receding from your forehead
- a thinning crown
- an overall reduction in thickness
- very thin hair
- a ‘horseshoe’ of hair that grows around your scalp from ear to ear
What are the treatments for male hair loss?
Male pattern baldness is mainly caused by genetics, so unfortunately it’s impossible to prevent it completely.
"Some men’s hair follicles either have a particular sensitivity to a sub-type of testosterone, DHT, which is a naturally occurring androgen (a male hormone) in all men, or they produce too much of it, which damages the hair follicles over time," explains Dr Zafer Çetinkaya, hair transplant specialist at Vera Clinic.
However, there are some medications that are medically proven to slow down the thinning of hair: Finasteride and Minoxidil.
Dr Çetinkaya says Finasteride works by preventing the creation of DHT in the body at source. "This prevents further hair follicles from being affected by DHT, and also helps to reverse the miniaturisation of some hair follicles," he explains.
"Studies have shown a 90% improvement in hair loss after six months of treatment, with effectiveness persisting as long as the medication is taken."
Studies have shown Minoxidil to be effective in two out of three men. "It's a topical spray that, when applied directly to the scalp, stimulates blood flow by widening blood vessels near the hair follicles, promoting hair growth by strengthening hair with nutrients and oxygen," Dr Çetinkaya explains.
How do hair transplants work?
Hair transplants involve moving follicles from areas of hair growth to areas of hair loss.
According to Dr Shahmalak there are two common types of procedure - follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT).
"FUE is the procedure favoured by Wayne Rooney, Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd and model Calum Best," explains Dr Shahmalak.
"It is more expensive than the FUT procedure because it is more time-consuming with each hair follicle being removed individually."
Individual follicular units are extracted from the back or side of a patient's scalp and transplanted into the balding area.
The main advantage of FUE is minimal scarring to the scalp. Most patients have some red spots in the harvested area for a week to ten days after the procedure - which then go away.
FUE is more appropriate for men who like to wear their hair short or shaved.
According to Kingsley, while not a treatment for hair loss, diet and nutrition can play a huge role in hair health for both men and women.
"Being a non-essential tissue, hair is the last part of us to benefit from nutrients we ingest, and the first to be withheld from," she explains.
"We always suggest our clients eat a healthy, balanced diet containing proteins (what hair is made of), complex carbohydrates (provide energy to rapidly growing hair cells), healthy fats (important for scalp health), iron, zinc and vitamin B12 – and to supplement their diet when necessary with a nutritional supplement. Not skipping meals is also important."