Can you go bald after 40? If you’re asking this question, you probably just reached the fourth decade of your life. At this age, a lot of changes are imminent, including the increased risk of hair loss. But just because you got older doesn’t mean you’ll automatically become bald. A lot of factors affect your risk of balding, including genetics, lifestyle, overall health, and more.
Below, I discuss this risk and what you can do to slow down potential hair loss.
Can you go bald after 40?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. There’s no definite age as to when men will go bald. It’s a case-to-case basis, and some men are more prone than others.
Reaching 40 isn’t a life sentence for your hair. However, you have to accept that your bodily changes can impact hair growth and hair retention.
Once you turn 40 years old, your body’s dihydrotestosterone levels will fluctuate. Such a fluctuation will impact hair growth all over your body, more so your scalp. You’ll also notice your scalp being itchier and prone to irritations than before.
This same process is the reason why two-thirds of men report some level of hair loss by the time they reach 35. For some, it goes worse by the time they reach 40.
Some men notice balding that creeps from the hairline up to the crown. Others will start balding from the crown then toward the hairline.
Thinning is different from balding.
It’s important to understand that thinning isn’t the same thing as balding. Take note that it’s natural for all people, men and women, to experience hair thinning as they grow older. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re bound to be bald.
As we become older, the life cycle of our hair becomes slow. This is the same as how our metabolism slows down as years pass by. With that, the shedding phase of our hair is also extended, which means our scalp will take more time to grow new hairs.
This will manifest as thinning, but it’s unlikely to cause bald spots. Also, the speed of hair shedding and growing are affected by several factors, as discussed below.
Factors that increase your risk of balding after 40
As mentioned earlier, various factors will affect your risk of going bald after 40. Here are some that you should keep in mind:
Many men over 40 flaunt a lush head of hair, while some will start to have wispy locks. The main difference between the two groups is genetics. Some men are born with a predisposition to balding, which, unfortunately, can’t be treated.
Male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is one of the common culprits here. This genetic hair loss disorder affects about 50 million men in the U.S. alone. Also, half of the sufferers are at the age of 50+.
Moreover, male pattern baldness is passed on within the family. So if your grandpa, uncle, or dad has this condition, there’s a high risk that you’ll get it too.
Men with this condition will experience weakening hair strands. Their hair follicle will also start to shrink until it no longer grows any hair.
A tell-tale sign of male pattern baldness is a horseshoe pattern above your ears that circles to the lower back of your head. The shape will vary per person.
So far, there’s no cure or way to reverse male pattern baldness. Once it starts, it goes downhill from there. Also, most affected men will notice the early signs by the time they reach their late 30s to 40s.
Chronic and persistent stress can also cause your hair to fall off at 40 years old. It could be due to your hectic work schedule, a loss of a loved one, or physical shock. But unlike male pattern baldness, this hair loss is temporary, though it can lead to permanent balding if not addressed right away.
This stress-related hair loss is called telogen effluvium. Any man can suffer from this at any age, not just past 40. What happens is that your hair strands suffer from an extended resting phase. But once the cause of stress is cleared up, your hair growth will go back to normal.
As we grow older, we tend to be prone to various health problems. This begs for maintenance medications, which, in some cases, can also contribute to balding.
The likes of ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, antidepressants, and drugs for high hypertension can cause hair loss. Most of these will not cause total baldness, but if paired with other factors discussed here, the medications can make your hair situation worse.
If you’re worried that your meds will cause hair loss, you can consult your doctor for the potential side effects.
Researchers found that smokers are more likely to experience hair loss than non-smoking ones. This is more evident to those who are older or above 40 years old.
It’s found that the nicotine on cigarettes accelerates hair loss. Though more research is needed to back these findings, it’s no doubt that vices like smoking can impact your follicles’ health.
This is because oxidative stress brought by smoking reduces blood flow to your scalp. And if there’s reduced blood flow, the nutrient supply on your follicles will also be limited. In turn, your scalp can’t grow healthy hair, which can lead to persistent hair loss and eventual baldness.
🧔Excessive product use
Sometimes, going bald at 40 has nothing to do with your health. It’s possible that some men are too obsessed with looking good that they slather tons of products in their hair. This will damage the hair follicles, which will lead to hair loss and even baldness.
Sure, you probably want to impress the ladies, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your hair health.
As we grow older, it’s important to choose gentler hair products. The aim should be to style and moisturize at the same time. When in doubt, you can always consult a dermatologist.
How to delay hair loss at 40
Take note that as much as you can delay hair loss to some extent, there’s no way to stop it, especially if you’re at odds with genetics. But to keep your hair healthy after 40, here are my personal recommendations:
✔️Focus on your diet
Aside from the risk of hair loss, our metabolism experiences a major slump after the age of 40. Such a slowdown will also affect hair growth.
This is why you should focus on your diet now more than ever. In a study published at the Archives of Dermatological Research, it’s suggested that the Mediterranean Diet can help reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia. It can slow down male pattern baldness, especially if the diet is eaten at least three times a week.
For the best results, you should pack your Mediterranean Diet with salad greens, basil, parsley, and other herbs. Overall, your entire body will benefit from this nutrition.
✔️Consider taking supplements
With the advice of your doctor, you can take supplements that support hair growth. Take note that since it’s called supplements, these products are meant to complement a healthy diet. It’s not an absolute substitute for your meals.
Specifically, you’d want a supplement rich in biotin, Vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as iron. The likes of zinc and selenium are also seen to increase hair retention.
✔️Use a gentle scalp regimen
After 40, our hair becomes more and more brittle. This is why you should only use a gentle shampoo when taking a bath. Organic formulas are a good option since it’s also packed with botanicals that can encourage hair growth.
Also, you should never towel-rub your hair after a bath. Doing so pulls the strand from the roots, and it increases tangles. Instead, just press your hair with a towel and let it air-dry.
Aside from that, you should keep your scalp hydrated with a mild conditioner. This will prevent flaking and dandruff that will weaken your hair strands.
✔️Cut back on styling products.
At the age of 40, you should’ve come up with a hair regimen that involves a minimal number of products. You should steer clear of excessive heat, chemical-based hair products, and heavy creams that will damage your hair shaft.
✔️Be gentle on gray hairs.
Unlike your original hair color, gray hairs are more porous and prone to damage. You should focus on moisturizing gray hairs so it doesn’t break and fall off easily.
As for dyeing, I don’t see any problem with it as long as the dye product is gentle on the hair. You can also ask your barber about the best option here.
✔️Visit a dermatologist regularly.
Your dermatologist plays a big role in combatting balding after 40. The derm will assess what’s causing the hair loss and can be done to slow it down.
Also, if you’re noticing swelling, bulging, or stinging on the bald areas, you should seek a dermatologist right away. You should also go to a physician if excessive hair loss is accompanied by unexplained weight loss or a high fever.
Hair loss treatments you can explore at 40
Thanks to the advancements in the medical world, you now have several options to treat hair loss. Take note that these treatments won’t always work for those with male pattern baldness. But if you want to give it a shot, here are the most common options:
Hair transplants are the best option if damaged hair follicles cause your balding. In this procedure, the dermatologist will harvest healthy follicles on other parts of your body. It will then be implanted on your scalp to trigger new growth.
Take note that since hair transplants are done with your existing hair, this won’t be highly effective for people with male pattern baldness and widespread thinning. Also, hair transplants aren’t advised for hair loss related to chemotherapy or other medications.
💊Hair grower medications
Nowadays, there are many over-the-counter (OTC) that you can buy to address hair thinning.
Typically, your dermatologist will recommend any of these topical solutions:
- Minoxidil. Sold under the brand Rogaine, this medication can help prevent further hair loss. And if your hair follicles are still intact, it can also help trigger new growth.
- Retinoids. A small amount of retinoids mixed with other hair-growing medications can help address thinning. However, this should be done with the supervision and advice of a dermatologist. This is because some individuals experience irritation when using retinol products.
- Spironolactone. This drug is actually used by women, mostly for off-label purposes. It helps keep androgens, including dihydrotestosterone, at a healthy level. However, you should know that this drug comes with some risks, so you should proceed with caution.
💊Laser light therapy
Laser light therapy works by sending photons into the scalp. Such photons will encourage weak cells to trigger hair growth. Overall, this procedure is safe since it uses low-level lasers. It’s also an excellent alternative to hair transplants.
However, you should know that laser light therapy for hair loss has varying results. It doesn’t always work for everyone, so you should keep your expectations reasonable.
Nevertheless, this procedure is painless, and there are no side effects. The downside is that it takes a couple of sessions to see results, which can make it quite an expensive option.
Aside from that, you have to consult your doctor first if you’re taking medications and planning to undergo this laser treatment. The procedure can have adverse reactions with specific drugs.
Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is said to speed up healing and hair growth. It’s a widely used treatment for androgenic alopecia. However, you should know that PRP only slows down male pattern baldness. There’s no substantial proof that it can cure or reverse the condition.
To perform this procedure, a doctor will harvest a blood sample from your body. This will be placed in a centrifuge to separate the plasma content of your blood.
When applied to your scalp, the plasma will boost tissue repair. It’s suggested that this healing will also help regrow hair and potentially combat male pattern baldness in the future. Still, more studies and tests are needed to harness the potential of this treatment fully.
Take note that PRP for hair loss can be expensive since you may require several sessions. You may also experience mild side effects like headache, temporary bleeding on the injection site, and scalp tenderness.
What if these treatments don’t work for me?
While the age of 40 isn’t that old, your body is no longer as responsive to treatment as it used to be. This means some of the treatments discussed may no longer yield ideal results.
In this case, you can consider wearing wigs if you can’t live with a bald head. Hats are also a stylish option to protect your scalp from sun damage.
Overall, going bald isn’t the end of the world. Nowadays, women find bald men more attractive. Who knows, a bald head might suit you well.
And if you’re ready to say goodbye to your remaining hair, I suggest that you use these balding clippers for precise results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: At what age do men go bald?
A: There’s no set age as to when males will go bald. Still, many men experience hair loss at the age of 50, while others notice the onset at an earlier age. In fact, there are men who see signs of hair loss as early as the age of 21.
Q: Does hair grow after 40?
A: Your hair will continue to grow no matter what age you are in. The only exception is if you have male pattern baldness and other illnesses that will damage your hair follicles. Also, you should know that hair grows slower when you’re older.
Q: What race is least likely to go bald?
A: According to studies, East Asian men are the least likely to experience hair loss or balding in the entire world. However, this isn’t absolute, and you can still see East Asian men with thin or no hair at all. The key here is identifying the signs, so you can seek the necessary intervention to slow down balding.
Q: Why do bald guys still get to grow beards?
A: The reason bald guys still have beards is that the DHT hormone doesn’t affect the chin area. DHT or dihydrotestosterone is an androgen that will shrink your hair follicles. This will lead to thinning or total hair loss if not addressed. Such androgen mostly affects the scalp but not the skin around the chin.
Q: Does balding affect dating?
A: According to experts, women nowadays are less bothered by the absence of scalp hair. Many women still say that they won’t mind dating a guy with hair loss. Overall, the answer to this question depends on the specific preference of individual women.
Q: How can I thicken hair after 40?
A: You can still thicken your hair after 40 by following a healthy scalp regimen. Hydrating shampoo and conditioner is a good start, together with supplements and visits to the dermatologist. You should also cut back on heat styling and excessive styling products that put stress on your scalp.
Can you go bald after 40? Technically, yes, but balding isn’t exclusive among middle-aged men. Male as young as 21 may start to notice signs of balding. The good news is that there are a variety of treatments you can explore to slow down your hair loss.