At 33 I was hit with rapid hair loss and after some trial and error developed a hair loss treatment routine that within 6 months fixed my receding hairline, stopped my thinning hair, and reversed my male pattern baldness.
- Early Signs I Might Have Hair Loss
- My Receding Hairline Began in College
- By Grad School I Had Thinning Hair
- At 33 Male Pattern Baldness Hit Hard & Fast
- The Hair Loss Treatment That Saved My Hair
- Treatment at a Glance
Early Signs I Might Have Hair Loss
It’s great when you’re a kid that you get to live so relatively carefree and blissfully unaware of the types of issues that we encounter as we progress into adulthood.
As kids we get to be clueless to issues like the hidden genetic landmines that are destined to ravage our unassuming hairlines.
I had a good, thick head of hair throughout childhood, just like most kids do.
It wasn’t until middle school that I started noticing some differences between myself and my peers.
Most notably my forehead was a bit more prominent than most other kids my age.
In retrospect it was a pretty minor difference but when you’re at that age any perceived flaw is magnified about 100 times.
I was never ridiculed for my forehead, in fact no one ever said anything about it at all, so I pretty much got over it and shifted my teen neurosis to my burgeoning acne situation.
In actuality, my acne was never really that bad, at least compared to the kids that did have it bad – I always felt terrible that some people had to struggle with those situations.
I Had a Pronounced Widows Peak Growing Up
From as early as I could remember I had a pretty hardcore widows peak, which came from my mom’s side of the family.
When I was young with thick hair it actually looked kind of cool and would create a sort of superman curl at the front of my hair.
It turns out my widows peak was sort of an early warning indicator of what was to come with my hairline.
People with all types of hair, good and bad, have widow peaks.
Some lucky few, that have really good hair, keep their widow’s peaks as they get older, and it helps provide a more youthful appearance.
Chris Hemsworth, for instance, has a pretty strong widow’s peak and it has served him well as he’s moved into adulthood.
For him it has the effect of shortening his forehead and creating a nice natural lift in his hair, which adds to his handsomeness.
My Widows Peak Started to Fade at the End of High School
My widow’s peak had always been very pronounced and thick when I was young.
But by the end of high school, it had started to thin out a bit, sort of providing a subtle warning that my hair was going to be going through changes in the near future.
By the time I was approaching high school graduation my widows peak was about 80% as deep and thick as it had ever been.
Though I didn’t take much notice to the change simply because we don’t really focus on those things until they become a detriment.
While there were apparent warning signs about my hairline starting at a pretty early age, I’m glad I didn’t pay much attention to them.
I got to enjoy a relatively easy-going childhood, especially in the face of the ever-growing responsibilities and commitments we face in adulthood.
Especially now, with all the hard work and stress I take on for my family, I’m able to look back evermore fondly at the awesome memories of my childhood.
My Receding Hairline Began in College
As I started college my widows peak was still pronounced, and I hadn’t yet experienced any indication of a receding hairline.
This remained the case for at least the first two years.
Obviously during this period, I wasn’t doing anything in terms of hair maintenance and was eating and drinking like a typical college kid.
I do however remember at least a few friends that started to have trouble with their hair around this time.
Some people were starting to have recession of the front or corners of their hairline, while others were starting to undergo general thinning all around.
These individuals were at least a few years ahead of me in terms of hair decline so they must have had even worse genetics than I did or were or perhaps just more mature.
At least a few of those people that started having trouble early are now either totally bald or rock a shave head to conceal advanced male pattern baldness.
By Junior Year I Had a Receding Hairline
Looking back now at old photos it seems like it was around my junior year that my hairline started to undergo some noticeable changes.
During my junior year, my widows peak was increasingly fading, and my forehead was naturally maturing and getting larger as I approached the end of puberty.
This was a sort of one-two punch that sort of changed the shape of my face and made me look a bit older and more mature.
Like so many changes that happen to us in life, my receding hairline was slow and unassuming.
These types of things happen so slowly and incrementally that sometimes by the time you notice the change is actually quite dramatic.
With your hair, because you look in the mirror every single day, you fail to notice the progressive receding or thinning of your hair.
If I had paid more attention to my changing hairline, I could have started doing something about it.
Even if I had just started taking supplements or using topicals, I could have probably drastically slowed the progression of my receding hairline.
By Senior Year My Hairline Had Totally Changed
It actually took me 5 years to finish my undergrad, and by the end my hairline was basically entirely different.
I had finished puberty, so my forehead was bigger, and it seems like the very early signs of male pattern baldness were showing themselves.
Again, the signs were there that I would be having problems down the road, especially compared to some of my friends and peers whose hair was basically unchanged from high school.
Still, I didn’t even really notice there had been that much of a change, let alone start thinking about doing something to try to slow it down or stop it.
It’s so funny when we’re young and invincible how unobservant we can be and slow to pick up on the obvious changes that everyone goes through.
Life is pretty good about throwing out little hints regarding what’s to come, but too often we’re either not paying attention or in denial about what they really mean.
By the time I entered grad school my widows peak was almost totally gone, and my hairline was much further back than high school.
By Grad School I Had Thinning Hair
By the time I was in grad school my widows peak was essentially gone and I had the early signs of thinning hair.
This was a new development up until then my hair, while receding, remained thick and full.
After undergrad I had gotten a corporate accounting job at a company near campus so I could continue with graduate school while getting work experience and making some money.
After 3 years of working while going to school I had racked up an MS in Accounting and an MBA.
All during this time my hairline recession had slowed way down and was not even really getting worse.
What did start to change was a general thinning of my hair specifically in the very front and on the top or vertex.
Like everything else it came on slow and progressed at such a rate that it was never really alarming or a cause of much concern.
The most notable symptom would be a few extra hairs in my hands after shampooing, floating in the tub during a shower, or around the sink by the end of the week.
I Used to Look Good with a Side Swept Shaggy Look
My hair loss was happening so slow and undramatically that there was never a sudden or shocking enough change to really get my attention and cause enough concern to do something about it.
What eventually got my attention was that I couldn’t really wear the same hair styles that I used to.
When I was young, I had sort of longish hair that I’d part in the middle or side and sometimes get an undercut with.
As I got older, I moved to a more manageable and cleaner cut short and spiky look that was texturized on top and I’d style it with hair gel.
Sometimes though if I missed a haircut or two my hair would get a little bit longer and I would do a kind of forward or side swept look.
With my long look I had enough body in my hair that it kind of curled over and ended up looking sort of tousled and a bit shaggy but still good.
Thinning Hair Forced Me to Keep It Short and Spiky
Eventually I noticed that my hair looked decent when it was shorter but if I let it get longer my recession was bad enough, and the hair thin enough, that the side swept style started to look almost like a comb over.
Instead of full and tousled the hair looked kind of wispy, thin, and flat.
This was my first kind of uh-oh moment when I realized I couldn’t pull off the longer look anymore.
Obviously the slow, steady, barely noticeable progression of my recession and thinning had caught up with me.
This was quite concerning, and I finally realized I might be heading for some trouble but still didn’t take the action I should’ve because there was an easy solution to mask the problem.
Once I realized I couldn’t rock longer haircuts anymore I just became really diligent in getting regular haircuts and keeping it short and spiky.
As many guys know short and spiky hair can hide thinness and give the illusion of having more body and fullness than reality.
At 33 Male Pattern Baldness Hit Hard & Fast
Until I was 33, I had been experiencing slow but steady changes to my hair that looking back had the hallmark symptoms of early male pattern baldness.
I was to a point where I wouldn’t let my hair get too long because it made my hair recession and thinning more noticeable than keeping a short spiky style that partially masked my issues.
At 33 I didn’t totally love my hairline, but I had a hair style that was appropriate and didn’t feel too self-conscious about my hairline or how my hair thickness.
If my hair had stayed like this, I would have been okay with it, although like anyone I wished my hair were a bit thicker so I could style it better.
Well in late 2016, right around the time of my 33rd birthday, things really took a turn for the worse.
There must have been some hormonal shift or genetic trigger in my body because my slow and steady hair loss became fast and furious.
“Dustin, Your Hairline Is Changing…”
I was first alerted to what was becoming full-on male pattern baldness by a family member.
They said something like “Dustin, your hairline is changing, looks like you’ve got your grandad’s hair”.
It’s funny when someone says something like this to you it’s always at first like WTF, but eventually it can be a blessing that they brought it to your attention.
I basically immediately took a close-up picture so I could compare it to other pictures I had to see what was going on.
It was true, little indentations were starting to appear at the front of my hairline and the area was just starting to look thinner in general.
This put me on high alert, I knew from experience that big changes can begin with small, modest changes like this.
After 2 Months I Had Noticeable Thinning and Recession
I was diligently tracking the newfound changes to my hairline and unfortunately, they were continuing at a rate I had never seen before.
The entire front of my hairline was just sort of thinning out, with the remaining hairs becoming more and more sparse.
My hairline had changed in the past, but it had always happened so slowly that it was imperceptible.
This time was different, it was thinning out and receding at an epic pace.
I would check it every day and at least once a week I would notice where it had thinned or even that a certain hair that was there before was gone.
After two months or so of tracking my hairline the visual difference was stark and it was undeniable that I was on a dangerous path.
Something had to be done or I was in fact going to end up with my grandfather’s hair, but perhaps 20 years earlier than expected.
After 4 Months People Were Staring at My Hairline
I had been thinking that my recession and thinning would have to at least slow down at some point, but it sure didn’t.
Four months after my loving family member pointed out that something was changing with my hairline my hair looked by far worse than it ever had in my life.
The entire front of my hairline was rapidly moving backwards, leaving a few lonely hairs in the front as an obvious reminder of where my hairline used to be.
While I was most worried about my hairline there was also general thinning happening all over my head.
Things were getting worse so fast I started having to think about what I would look like with a shaved head.
Sometimes when I would talk with people, I would notice them glancing up at my hairline, probably wondering what the heck was going on up there.
Aside from the embarrassment and panic there was a sort of despair that set in and hopelessness that I was now destined to have really bad hair.
But I wasn’t going to go out without a fight.
I had started researching male pattern baldness and its causes and was determined to do whatever I could to salvage my hair.
The Hair Loss Treatment That Saved My Hair
About two months after my hair loss really accelerated, I did some research on possible causes and started trying different treatments.
Over the next few months, I tried a variety of products that supposedly slowed or stopped the progression of male pattern baldness.
There was some trial and error in the process and not all of the products I tried seemed to be effective.
Eventually I developed a routine with a variety of products that when used together managed to stop my hair loss and eventually helped regrow the hair I had recently lost.
Each product in my routine provides a specific function to support and sustain my hair.
Multivitamins to Support the Treatment
The CDC says only 1 in 10 people eat enough fruits and vegetables.
That means most of us are not getting enough vitamins and minerals.
But getting enough essential nutrients is important for the health of most of the cells in our bodies, including our hair.
The specific vitamins that are supposed to be especially good for hair health are A, B, and C.
Basically, all multivitamins have these three key vitamins in healthy doses.
To be honest I don’t think taking a multivitamin by itself is enough to stop hair loss, but I think it plays a support function in making the other treatments more effective.
I take a single multivitamin serving each day because some of the other supplements I take also have vitamins, and I don’t want to be taking too much of anything.
I take a Centrum Multivitamin every morning.
Finasteride – The Best DHT Blocker
My research showed that DHT buildup in the follicle is the most important factor in hair loss for men.
I knew the most impactful thing I could do was find a treatment that would help lower DHT and keep it from attacking my hair.
Finasteride is the most powerful medicine to block DHT, but is known to have some side effects, so I looked for a substitute.
Saw Palmetto, a natural alternative to Finasteride, is also known to block DHT, but with basically no side effects.
I tried Saw Palmetto for two months, but it didn’t even seem to slow down my hair loss.
Eventually I switched to prescription Finasteride, which is proven to block up to 70% of DHT and started getting some solid results.
I take 5mg of Finasteride daily.
Minoxidil for Hair Regrowth
I was taking Finasteride to block DHT from attacking my hair follicles and it appeared to be stopping the rapid hair loss I was experiencing.
While I was happy with the results, I wanted to not just stop losing hair but to regrow the hair I had lost, if possible.
The only treatment really proven to regrow hair is Minoxidil, so I added it to my treatment routine as well.
Minoxidil provides hair regrowth for some people by stimulating increased blood flow to your scalp and hair.
Increased blood flow delivers more oxygen and nutrients which helps thicken existing hair and can regrow hair that’s already been lost.
Minoxidil can be weird in that it doesn’t necessarily start improving hair right away, it can take a while to work and even cause some initial shedding before it starts to be effective.
I use Minoxidil twice per day (morning and evening) and recommend the Rogaine 5% Foam or the less expensive Kirkland Signature 5% Foam.
Nizoral – Best Shampoo for Thinning Hair
During my research on hair loss treatments, I came across so many products.
One of the products I was skeptical about but have since came to use religiously is Nizoral shampoo.
I take Finasteride as my main DHT blocker, and that works through the blood stream to lower DHT levels.
There is evidence that Nizoral has similar DHT lowering effects but works directly on the hair topically.
Supposedly it actually cleanses the hair follicle of damaging DHT as you shampoo.
Of course, I gave it a try and the one thing I noticed was that after a week or so it appeared as though less hair would come out as I shampooed in the shower.
The other benefit is it seems to get my hair really squeaky clean, which gives it more body after it dries and makes my hair look thicker once it’s been styled.
I use Nizoral 1% Shampoo every other shower.
Collagen to Help Hair Growth
Hair is made from the protein keratin.
Keratin is made from the protein collagen.
By taking a collagen supplement I can ensure that there is an abundance of the building blocks my body needs to build strong hair.
In addition to supporting my hair loss routine, taking collagen also supports healthy bones, joints, and skin.
After starting Collagen, I also noticed improvements to the wrinkles on my face.
I take one serving of Natural Elements Collagen every day at lunch.
Biotin to Prevent Thinning Hair
Biotin, or vitamin B7, also stimulates keratin production in the body like collagen.
Studies suggest that biotin supplements can increase the rate of follicle growth in the scalp.
Additionally, studies have shown that Biotin deficiency can lead to thinning of the hair.
The evidence is strong that Biotin is a valuable support tool in any hair loss treatment.
Moreover, I can tell for sure that my biotin supplements work because when I started taking them my hair and my nails started growing about 30% faster than before.
The Biotin gummies keep me from having to swallow so many pills every day.
I take 1 serving of Nature Made Hair Skin & Nails Gummies after dinner every day.
Treatment at a Glance
I can’t believe I found a combination of products that was able to completely reverse my male pattern baldness.
It took about 6 months to undo the damage that had happened to my hair, but it seemed faster because I was getting consistent positive results the entire time.
In the end, I’m glad I decided to take the time to understand what was happening to my hair and try enough products to find an effective solution.
Here is a quick summary of the hair loss treatment routine I used to stop and reverse my thinning hair, receding hairline, and male pattern baldness, and continue to use every day:
- In the Morning:
- Apply Rogaine 5% Foam
- Take 1 Multivitamin
- Take 5mg Finasteride
- At Lunch Take Collagen Supplement
- At Dinner Take Biotin Gummies
- 2 to 3 Times per Week Use Nizoral Shampoo
There is no “hair loss cure” for someone like me with male pattern baldness.
I will be continuing to battle hair loss and male pattern baldness the rest of my life.
The only option is to continue to treat the condition and try to prevent further damage from thinning hair and receding hairline.
As my treatment continues and I try new things I will post updates here.