View Full Version : Receding Vs. Maturing? (pics)
07-21-2015, 12:37 PM
Hey everyone, I'm starting to freak out and could use some advice or opinions.
I'm 24 years old and have always had a pretty thick head of hair. I normally wear it semi-long (especially in the winter) and cut it short in the summer. Last week was my yearly cut and I'm worried that there is some thinning/recession happening in the temple areas.
Other info that might be relevant: I suffer from clinical depression, anxiety and OCD (hair loss has become a problem obsession of mine and I cant help but count the hairs on my pillow every time I lay down/ in the shower, compulsively examine my hairline, and intensely compare my hair to every other man I talk to). Another thing that comes with the mental health issues is that my diet it pretty poor and very little, during lows I find it extremely difficult to eat.
My grandfather on my mom's side, along with one of her brothers are balding, but her other brother still has hair well into his 50's. On my dad's side, every single male has the exact same hairline, a decent amount of hair, but a very prominent widow's peak (I'll attach a photo of my dad in his mid 40's for reference). For them, their hair started to recede in their 20's and stopped sometime in their 40's.
When I wash my hair, I normally find about 5-8 hairs nestled between my fingers. There's a equal number on pillow every morning give or take a few. I've also done the test where you pull on the hair in problem areas and I normally come up with about 3-5. It seems every time I run my fingers through my hair there will be one or two strands on my hand as well. I don't think I'm thinning in the crown, but I'll attach a photo for good measure.
Does it look like my hair is receding in line with MPB? Am I paranoid? How much does mental health/ diet play into the equation? Could this just be my hair starting to mature into the shape of my Dad's or does it look like something worse?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Worrying over this is starting to take over my thoughts, making my depression worse. The little confidence I had is quickly falling away, so any info, even if only to confirm the worst, would help me in knowing what I'm up against.
07-22-2015, 06:07 AM
Can somebody please help me? I've actually been sick with worry the past few days.
07-24-2015, 06:35 AM
Sorry for the bump, but I could really use some support.
Here's a photo of me with longer hair from about two years ago.
What do you think? Does there appear to be any thinning or receding?
07-24-2015, 07:37 AM
I can identify with most of what you're experiencing, mental health wise. And I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the obsessive hairline checking and counting of shedding hairs is something that EVERYONE who reads this forum engages in. So, you're certainly not alone.
Ultimately, it's really difficult to try and predict the future from photos. Genetics are kind of a crapshoot and all. But even without a strong pulled-back hairline shot from two years ago to match against the current one, it looks like there's probably been some change in your hairline. The advice I've heard around these forums is, "if you think you're losing your hair (or noticing a change in your hairline, at least), you probably are". I say this not to freak you out or anything. Whatever is going on as far as your hairline changing, it's a slower burn than some people experience. In your case, because your hair is still pretty thick, in spite of some recession, other people won't really notice it. We are our own biggest critics, really.
Really, the questions are, "have you talked to your doctor about finasteride (Propecia)? Have you tried minoxidil (Rogaine)?"
07-24-2015, 09:00 AM
Thanks for the response Max,
I went to the doctor about this earlier this week and he said from looking, it's not clear if it's MPB or not. We did some blood tests and I'm waiting for the results to rule out other dietary, thyroid and nutritional factors. He told me to take some photos and compare in about three months, and if there is any movement then we could talk about treatments. I've also been roaming around the internet like a fiend trying to find some answers, and came across some info on Telogen Effluvian. I won't get into it, but I did undergo some extreme changes and loss about three months before I started noticing anything. So that might fit the bill. I don't know, I'm going to try and get my doctor to refer me to a dermatologist. I just want something definitive, it's the uncertainty I can't stand.
07-24-2015, 09:30 AM
Yeah, the uncertainty is difficult to deal with. It's always good to get your levels checked with a doctor. One thing I would say, though, is that from my understanding, Telogen Effluvium doesn't really present itself in a pattern; it seems that it's a more diffuse, randomized loss of hair. What I'm seeing in your pictures looks to be a pretty standard MPB pattern. More or less what I've got going on, actually.
Personally, I've spoken to three medical professionals about my hair loss, over the years: the first one was a family doctor who sort of dismissed my concerns ("you've got plenty of hair"), the second one was a nurse practitioner who wrote me a finasteride script without batting an eye or really asking any probing questions. I got the script but only took a few pills -- got all freaked out about it, and tried some other things instead of sticking with it. The third is my current GP who gave it a little more thought ("having your hair is important to you, so we can definitely try the finasteride and see how you do with it. It should help you hold onto it longer.")
My point with all the above is that none of the people I saw really specializes in hair loss; I doubt any of them have used a densitometer, much less own one. The hair loss field is a rarefied one in medicine (not counting the opportunistic plastic surgeons who do transplants on the side). So, definitely wait to see what the lab results say. But I would say -- don't discount the possibility of this being the early stages of MPB. For myself, baldness is so rampant on either side of my family that I almost took it as a foregone conclusion that I'd start losing my hair. It's still been an emotional, stressful experience, but I found that accepting that reality was helpful. Getting on finasteride (and using minoxidil daily) was another big step for me, not only because it seems to be working, but also due to the psychological comfort of knowing "well, at least I'm doing really all that can be done for now."
Sorry if my responses are really long. I've been stalking these boards FOREVER and have never actually spoken to someone else dealing with the same concerns. It's a cathartic feeling.
07-24-2015, 10:08 AM
>Does it look like my hair is receding in line with MPB?
Yes. You have for certain lost hair, and it looks like you will continue to lose more judging by the small hairs you have in the front.
>Am I paranoid?
That you are losing hair but aren't? No, you are spot on that you are losing.
>How much does mental health/ diet play into the equation?
I would say not that much, this seems to be coming from your genetics given your description. You need to be severely malnourished to lose your hair from it: People with anorexia and homeless people with good genetics often keep their hair, you really have to push it to lose I think.
> Could this just be my hair starting to mature into the shape of my Dad's or does it look like something worse?
It's a good bet that you will end up like your dad, maybe worse if you get some of your mothers balding males genetics, but it looks more like your dads. Time will tell.
>Any help would be greatly appreciated
There is no cure, unfortunately.
You can go on finasteride to prevent further loss, finasteride inhibits your testosterone converting to dihydrotestosterone which plays an important role when it comes to your prostate. It can lead to erectile dysfunction, libido loss, ejaculation dysfunction and so on.
And you can get a hair transplant. For a hair transplant you need money and a good donor area.
If I were you I would simply get a hair transplant, if all your father lost was that in the front, you should be a great candidate. Some people will probably argue you should do both, but that is entirely up to you and I would recommend you to research whatever you decide before you do it.
Regardless, new and significantly improved treatments are under way but it will take years. Replicel and Shiseido(there are several more companies studying steam cells for the same thing) are working on steam cell treatment to prevent further loss and aim for it to be out in 2018. Piloscopy is a new and improved hair transplant under development - and I have no idea when this one will really be out, but probably around 2018-2020.
> Worrying over this is starting to take over my thoughts, making my depression worse. The little confidence I had is quickly falling away,
Depression and lower confidence is normal with hair loss, after all it makes you look worse and older. You have to fight your feelings. Anyway you seem to look alright otherwise, and you have options.
07-24-2015, 01:38 PM
Don't apologize for the long responses, I tend to be a little longwinded too, and the more info, whether it be medical or anecdotal, the better! Depression itself is isolating, adding some hair loss to the equation certainly doesn't help, so thanks for extending a hand. And thank you for the advice, I certainly won't discount MPB. And I read that too about Telogen Effluvium, just wishful thinking I guess. The 'Plenty of Hair' response is exactly what my family doctor said, but I think my clear anxiety about the situation prompted him to take it a little more seriously.
Trenblastoise (great name by the way),
Thank you so much for the response too.
In regards to the health issue, I won't get into it too much, but I have on two occasions (one in the past month and while I was in high school) been diagnosed as anorexic. I've also been a vegetarian since I was 17, so if you put those two together and, malnutrition has been a consistent problem for me.
In all my panic over this, I've been digging up photos of both my Dad and my Grandfather on my mom's side at my age. I found one of my dad from when he was 23 and one when he is 26, and there is a distinct difference in the hairline between those ages, he really takes on the widow's peak 'M', but still keeping a think head of hair otherwise. I could find one of my Grandfather at 24 and 34, and he has a shockingly full head of hair (perfectly smooth 'U' shaped hairline) in both photos. It seems like the men on my mother's side don't start loosing hair until sometime in their 40's. So the time period and shape matches with my father's side of the family.
I'm also not really sure how the hereditary aspects of this process work. If I was to have my father's genes, would it normally be the case that the recession would begin around the same time as it did for him?
To be honest, if I ended up with my dad's hairline, I'd be happy with it. I don't mind the shape, as long as it doesn't go too far! And given the alternative of loosing it all in my 40's, I'd prefer my Dad's (he's almost 60 and his hairline hasn't changed since his 40's. So I'm not sure if I want to mess with anything with strong sexual side effects. Plus, I'm about to finish an arts degree, so something tells me expensive treatment plans won't be within my reach any time soon.
Also, thank you so much for the information on newer treatment options! 2020 really isn't too far off. I really hope some of these products prove to work!
07-24-2015, 01:51 PM
Owen! Okay... First things first: Don't freak out! I can't even begin to tell you how much of your story is exactly like mine, so I'm speaking from personal experience when I tell you that you have options. :)))
1) Receding/Maturing? That is the million dollar question. I went through this exact conversation in my head for years, and would literally make myself sick thinking about it. The fact of the matter is, the only way to know for sure is to set up an appointment with a Hair Transplant Surgeon and have them run a diagnostics test on your hair/scalp. They'll be able to tell if the hairs behind your hairline are also miniaturizing and if a pattern is developing that would point to MPB. So this is the first thing I would do just so that you can know for sure what you're dealing with. Knowledge is power, and when you know more, you know better how to handle the situation.
2) If it is receding (and let's just go out on a limb and say that it is... It looks similar to how mine looked when I first started noticing signs of it around your age), it's not the end of the world. When I first went to my first hair loss doctor and he told me that I was losing my hair, I broke down crying in his office. It sounds dramatic so some people, but so much of our confidence and identity is wrapped up in our hair, so the thought of losing it scared the hell out of me. I'm sure many guys here can relate to you on that level as well.
3) You seem to have quite a bit of donor hair, so if your hairline is receding, there's a very good chance that a hair transplant is a very viable option for you down the road. Look at my avatar. You'll see the improvement that was made to my hairline just 6 months after my hair transplant. I'm almost a year post-op now at this point and have a full head of hair.... It's probably better/healthier than it's ever been, even before I started losing it.
4) I struggled with OCD for 20 years before I got treatment. I had a lot of stressors/triggers in my life, and when I started losing my hair, it just got that much worse. I would have nightmares about losing it. I would obsess over it. I would make myself sick thinking about it. Aside from the hair loss, my OCD reached a point when I was around 27 where it got completely out of control. I finally sought help and started therapy. Aside from regular, individual, weekly therapy for "life" issues, I also started doing weekly Group Therapy specifically for the OCD using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It completely changed my life and my OCD was practically cured within 6 months. The obsessive thoughts will still flair up from time to time depending on my stress level, but the CBT really give you the tools to be able to handle the stress, the compulsions, and the obsessive thoughts in a healthy manner. I couldn't recommend this highly enough.
Please feel free to reach out to me privately if you would like to talk. I really do know where you're coming from, and I really do think you have answers to your problems. Message me on here and I'll give you my personal email address if you would like.
Wishing you nothing but the best.
I am a patient advocate for Dr. Parsa Mohebi in Los Angeles, CA. My opinions/comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Mohebi and his staff.
07-24-2015, 03:20 PM
My pal Brenton is correct.
Stressing and obsessing is not going to help one hair on your head. Getting help will.
By all outward appearances, your hair looks fine - but you see it day in and day out and it looks one way to you and another to the world. Seeing a qualified HT surgeon will definitely help put your current situation in perspective and in this case believe me - you are probably not your own best physician!