The most common type of hair loss in men, male pattern baldness – also known as androgenic alopecia – affects around 50% of all men by the age of 50 but can start much sooner. Male pattern baldness is a type of diffuse hair thinning that is typically characterised by a receding hairline and hair loss around the top and front of the scalp.
What causes male pattern baldness?
Several factors increase the likelihood of hair loss in men – namely genetics, hormones and ageing. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a male sex hormone derived from testosterone. High levels of hormones such as DHT can shrink the hair follicles and shorten the hair cycle, meaning that hair starts to thin and shed more rapidly. Some men are more susceptible to the effects of DHT than others, which can make them more likely to experience male pattern baldness.
Early signs of male pattern baldness can start to appear at any age, but it most commonly sets in around 25 to 35, getting progressively more noticeable over time. Although baldness isn’t necessarily always inherited, it’s thought that men with close relatives who have experienced hair loss are more likely to lose hair themselves.
Do I have male pattern baldness?
Although we would have to assess a patient to determine what type of hair loss they are experiencing, male pattern baldness generally presents as a receding hairline with thinning areas around the crown. This will eventually form a horseshoe pattern of hair around the back of the head, just above the ears.
Is there a cure for male pattern baldness?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for male pattern baldness. However, if you are concerned about sudden hair loss, you may want to see a doctor to rule out other causes, such as dietary deficiencies or underlying health conditions.
Although there is no way of preventing or curing male pattern baldness, there are several ways to manage it.
Treating male pattern baldness
In the early stages of hair loss, it may be an easy and quick fix to simply change your hairstyle – your hairdresser or barber will be able to suggest styles that help to disguise the thinning areas. Wigs and hairpieces can also provide a natural-looking way to hide your hair loss, although this is only a temporary fix.
Medications such as Minoxidil and Finasteride may also be effective for male pattern baldness. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is applied directly to the scalp, stimulating the follicles to produce new hair, although this will usually fall out after stopping the medication. Finasteride can help arrest hair loss by blocking DHT production, although similarly to Minoxidil, the hair loss will return if you stop taking it. Both types of medications carry some potential side effects, so make sure to bear this in mind if you’re considering taking hair loss medication.
Hair transplants are the only permanent way to restore the hair to its former glory. Follicles from the back of the scalp – typically more resistant to androgens – are removed, either via FUT or FUE methods, before being transplanted into the balding areas. The end result of a hair transplant is a natural-looking head of hair that is indistinguishable from the “real” thing.
If you are struggling with male pattern baldness and would like to discuss your options, contact our clinic to find out how we can help you.