The mushrooming of men’s salons in the past few years is proof that men are as keen about their appearance as women, if not more. There are plenty of hair products that cater specifically to men’s hair needs and the hair dryer is a prominent part of a man’s hair care arsenal. An overriding concern about blow-drying among men is whether using the hair dryer regularly can accelerate the balding process. Given that the vast majority of men (including celebrities) have to deal with the issue of a receding hairline from a young age, this is a legitimate concern.
To address this concern in its proper context, it is important to investigate the following related issues: What is male pattern baldness? What triggers this condition? How does regular hair dryer use affect balding men? How can men with this condition blow-dry safely without it causing further balding?
About male pattern baldness
A common form of hair loss in men, male pattern baldness affects more than 80% of adult men across the globe. It is a largely genetic condition which means that if you have a father or an uncle or a brother with male pattern baldness, it is highly likely that you will have this condition too.
Some men will notice a sparse crown as early as adolescence, but the balding process generally starts at 21 years of age and progresses as you grow older. Although your genes are responsible, male pattern baldness can be triggered by a thyroid condition, nutritional disorders, steroids, cancer treatments, or a fungal infection of the scalp.
Does regular hair dryer use contribute to male pattern baldness?
With the hair dryer assuming an important position in the average male’s hair styling regimen, it is imperative to understand the far-reaching effects (if any) of this hair tool on a man’s hair. Losing close to 100 strands of hair in a day is considered normal for males. Anything in excess of this number should raise alarm bells. To date, there is no research or scientific evidence to support the argument that hair dryer use causes hair loss or accelerates the process in men. The high heat from blow-drying can make your hair very dry and weak, but it is not responsible for hair loss.
That being said, the hair dryer can aggravate hair loss conditions if it is not used carefully. For instance, it is advisable to apply a heat protectant prior to blow-drying your hair. As the name suggests, this product will protect your hair against heat damage. In addition to this, it is recommended that balding men avoid hair styling products with high alcohol content because it can irritate the scalp and cause thinning of the hair and eventually hair loss.
Blow-drying tips for balding men
If the signs of baldness have started to show on you, then here are some blow-drying tips to avoid aggravating your condition:
- Always use your blow dryer on the cool or warm setting, NOT HOT.
- Make sure that there is a gap of 8 inches between the hair dryer and your scalp every time you blow-dry your hair.
- Use a round brush with your blow dryer especially if your hair is thinning fast.
General recommendations for dealing with partial or imminent baldness
In the 17th century, chicken dung was believed to be a cure for male baldness. As shocking as it sounds, it goes to show how eagerly the cure for this condition was sought in ancient times. Today, the scenario is no different. Most men are embarrassed by the bald patches on their head and would pay a million dollars to reverse the balding process. Thankfully, the hair dryer has nothing to do with baldness. There are, however, certain lifestyle choices a man must make if he wants to keep his hair for a longer time.
- Wash off any hair product within 24 hours. Product build-up can irritate the scalp and exacerbate your baldness problem.
- Do not use a shampoo every day even if you soak your hair when you shower. Men’s shampoos invariably contain sulfates that can damage the cuticle of the hair and impede hair re-growth.
- Pat your wet hair dry with a soft cloth or a clean t-shirt instead of rubbing it dry with a towel. Rubbing wet hair is known to cause traction alopecia, which is another form of hair loss.
- Keep your hair as short as possible to reduce the visibility of your baldness (if it has started). Your hairstylist can suggest haircuts or styles that will conceal the bald spots and make you look elegant.
- Avoid combing or brushing your hair as much as you can. Use your fingertips instead to groom your hair or give it your desired shape. In this way, you can avoid traction alopecia, which is triggered by manipulating the hair shaft too much.
- Do not use excessive amounts of hair styling product because this can irritate the scalp. Squeeze no bigger than the size of an almond onto your palm and massage it into your hair.
- A surefire way to lose hair is to tie it into extremely tight ponytails or to hide it under a hat, cap, or bandanna. All of this puts additional and unwanted stress on your strands and eventually causes hair loss.
- Do not panic at the onset of balding. Do not sit and do nothing about it either. Consult a trichologist (hair and scalp specialist) or dermatologist (skin specialist). They will investigate the causes of your condition with the help of blood tests and your medical and family history. Once the root of your condition is identified, they will prescribe an appropriate treatment for it.
- Stress related to separation, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job can also trigger hair loss. Managing this level of stress is key to tackling your impending baldness.
- A diet that is deficient in vitamin B and iron can also cause you to lose your hair. Take supplements if your doctor prescribes them to abate your condition.
- Avoid smoking and drinking.