Hair loss is tough for any man. For gay men, there's often an extra level of insecurities. It's inevitable for most with age, but there are certain factors that can be avoided and measures that can be taken to treat it.
Dr. Glynis Ablon, MD of the Ablon Skin Institute is an expert in the field of dermatology. Her research has provided some insight into the triggers that cause hair loss and how they can be controlled. We recently spoke with Dr. Ablon to get some tips for proper haircare.
The summer provides multiple factors to be cautious of. From the sun's UV rays to chlorine in swimming pools, various environmental factors put stress on the hair, causing hair shedding and hair fall from breakage. This damages the hair follicle, making it difficult to regrow.
"When guys don't take precautions and steps to protect their hair, it is more susceptible to this breakage and damage," Dr. Ablon said. "I'm not saying that I think men should not enjoy a day at the beach or at the pool. It's just important that they wear a loose hat to cover their hair when outside in the UV and a swim cap in the chlorine. And always, always wash hair after a dip in a chlorine pool."
Ultraviolet damage causes structural damage of the keratin shaft, the structure on the outside of the hair, resulting in degradation of hair proteins and pigmentation. Exposure to chlorine damages the cuticle, causing dryness. For this, Dr. Ablon recommends a moisturizing shampoo like one from the Dove Men+Care line of products.
Photos by Travis Lane for Out
Just because summer is coming to an end doesn't mean hair is much safer. Although winter is more extreme in some areas and not everyone's hair reacts the same way, seasonal changes contribute to damage in both hair and skin. Ultraviolet light and heat are just as damaging to the hair shaft as cold weather, leading to frizz and breakage.
Again, Dr. Ablon recommends a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to treat a dry scalp, preventing flakes and irritation. According to the Dove Men+Care Hair Fall Study, 75% of dermatologists say using an appropriate haircare product is only second to proper exercise and diet when addressing hair loss.
It's also important to be aware of the damage caused by excessive styling. Hair is weaker when wet, and aggressive pulling, towel drying, and combing are harmful to the hair shaft and the cuticle, causing frizz and breakage. A moisturizing shampoo can also protect from blow-drying or styling with hot tools.
More than 80% of dermatologists cite physical stressors like these to hair loss, rating higher than genetics and disease. Dr. Ablon recommends using products like the Wet Brush Pro and Aquis hair towels which reduce friction. It's important to pat hair dry with the towel instead of rubbing and pulling. She also attributes deep sea fish protein, biotin, and zinc with helping to stimulate hair growth.