male pattern baldness

Male Pattern Baldness: The Signs, the Prognosis, the Treatment

In this post

What is male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of major hair loss in men. It affects most men as they get older: over half of over-50s will suffer from male patter hair loss at some stage. It is also common amongst younger men, sometimes already being visible in their early 20s or, occasionally, even younger.
This type of hair loss in men shows itself differently between different ethnic groups. It is most common in white men, more than half of whom suffer from it before they are 50. People of Asian descent are much less likely to lose hair in this way.
Female pattern hair is less common, although it affects many women, especially older ones. Unlike men, women are less likely to become completely bald. A general thinning of the hair is more usual.

What are the causes of male pattern baldness?

Male pattern hair loss is genetic. There is natural variation between men in their sensitivity to a type of male hormone known as androgens. These hormones influence many types of process in the body, mostly relating to the ways in which male bodies differentiate themselves from female bodies.
One type of androgen that has a particular effect on hair follicles is the hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It is regulated by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Oversensitivity to it results in androgenetic alopecia, or male patter hair loss.
Most people have roughly 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp. Each follicle alternates between the hair growth (anagen) phase and the rest (telogen) phase.
In a full head of hair, many more of the hair follicles are in the anagen phase than the telogen phase. When a hair follicle switches from anagen to telogen, the hair falls out. When it goes from the telogen to the anagen phase the hair grows back. This is a normal part of the hair cycle.
Dihydrotestosterone DHT shortens the anagen phase of hair follicles. The usual duration of the anagen phase is 3-6 years. Genetic oversensitivity to dihydrotestosterone can dramatically reduce this time to less than a year, or even less than a month.
The hair follicles shrink and produce thinner, fewer, and weaker hairs. Eventually, the affected areas produce barely any hair on the scalp at all.

Is my hair loss a sign of male pattern baldness?

There are several types of hair loss that are not because of male pattern baldness. Hair falling out in patches or a very quickly balding scalp is probably due to something else. An illness, infection or medication may be to blame. Find out about other types of hair loss.

Hair loss that is concentrated at the temples or the top (crown) of the head is more likely to be the start of male pattern baldness. It is usually quite a slow process. The hair loss occurs over a course of years.

Patients do not usually suffer other side effects during male pattern hair loss. If there are other symptoms such as discomfort, it may be due to a medical condition and you should see a doctor.
Some patients get a bald patch on top, while others end up with a widow’s peak hairline on the front of their heads. The hair loss at the temples recedes and widens until hair loss becomes very noticeable.

What can I do about it?

There are several cosmetic and medical options available to patients suffering from male pattern hair loss. In the early stages of hair loss, a good option is choosing a hairstyle which does not accentuate the balding look.
Patients with more advanced hair loss sometimes opt for a hairpiece or wig to cover their bald patches. This works better with a bald patch on the crown than for hair loss concentrated at the temples.
Many patients opt for medication. Some of these medications work by reducing the body’s production of dihydrotestosterone. This means that hair follicles can switch back from the telogen to the anagen phase of growth.
On the other hand, the wide-ranging effects of the androgens which cause genetic hair loss means that drugs which inhibit them can have significant side effects, such as problems with breathing, the heart, weight. Other issues such as skin rashes and depression are also a possibility with some drugs.
Therefore, patients should be cautious with the use of drugs which affect hormone production and only use them under medical direction. In any case, they are ineffective for many patients.

Other patients use dietary supplements to help them maintain a balanced diet. Find out about the nutrients needed for a full head of hair here. However, no vitamins or minerals can reverse genetic hair loss.

The only permanent and truly reliable way to reverse male pattern hair loss is a hair transplant. Modern transplant techniques make it extremely safe, minimise scarring and have a quick recovery time.

A good hair transplant result looks very natural and is a permanent solution to hair loss. A consultation with a specialist is strongly recommended before opting for this solution, however.

Many patients have opted in recent years to get their hair transplant in Turkey, where the technology is most developed and the prices are lower. Dr. Levent Acar has pioneered the Sapphire DHI hair transplant technology, giving the fastest recovery time and best results of any treatment on the market.

Share this post