What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is the most frustrating and yet the most common problem of aging men all around the world. A significant majority of men by the age of 50 years suffer from the loss of hair. Apart from age, hormones can also play a vital role in this issue. It not only affects aging men but also males at early ages in their teens, ’20s, and ’30s.
Male pattern baldness can cause depression or lead to a loss of confidence due to a sudden change in appearance.
Who is at risk?
Any individual with a family history of hair loss on either side of their family is at high risk of male pattern baldness, although even men with no family history can lose their hair for a variety of reasons.
What are the Symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness?
The first signs of male pattern baldness can appear at any age for men. Losing a few strands of hair regularly is normal, so if you find you have some hair on your hands after washing your hair, or you notice a few strands on your pillow in the morning, this could just be normal hair loss.
For most men, the earliest sign of male pattern baldness will be a receding hairline accompanied by noticeable thinning on the crown of your head. Because it happens gradually the best way to check is to have someone take a photo of you from the back. Because we don’t see this area ourselves it can be the easiest area to identify MPB early, while treatments will be at their most effective.
What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
The genes that you have inherited from your parents play a crucial role in your hair pattern. According to research, your inherited genes determine the sensitivity of your hair follicles to a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is found in several tissues in the body. An enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase controls DHT production. The Anagen phase is another term for the growth period of the hair. DHT shortens the growth of the hair and drastically reduces the Anagen phase. This leads to hair miniaturization. The hair becomes thinner and finer which leads to loss of hair and increasing visibility of the scalp.
What are the other causes of hair loss?
Losing your hair in the absence of aging or genetic issues as the obvious cause may suggest other medical conditions that need attention. There are several things this could be:
- Chemotherapy treatments – Patients who undergo radiation or chemotherapy as part of medical treatment suffer from excessive hair loss. In most cases, this hair will grow back following treatment, however, some chemo treatments cause thinning of the hair which can be permanent.
- Mental stress – Psychological factors and regular stress can be harmful to overall health and can speed hair loss.
- Hormonal factors such as a thyroid problem – Hormonal imbalances are a common issue that can be treated with long term medications.
- Anemia – Some people experience hair loss due to iron deficiency.
- Infection – Untreated infections may cause hair loss, even if the infection is somewhere other than your scalp.
- Consumption of medicines like blood thinners and certain steroids.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Not having a healthy diet can add to the risk.
- Specific hairstyles that can cause stress to the hair.
- Overshampooing. For most of us it is not necessary to wash your hair every day. Once every 2 or 3 days is good unless you work at a job that makes your hair dirty, or your hair is excessively oily. The scrubbing action of massaging in shampoo and conditioners can cause more hair than normal to fall out.
What treatments are available for Male Pattern Baldness?
Once you are diagnosed with Male Pattern Baldness, it’s time to look at the available treatment options, ranging from temporary to permanent solutions.
Some of the most common types of treatments are:
It is a topical ointment that you apply to your scalp as prescribed. Minoxidil helps to stimulate the hair follicles and is known to gradually slow down the process of hair loss over time. After a year of regular application, results are noticeable. However, once the application of the ointment is stopped, the hair goes back to the previous condition.
Proven more effective for many men than regular Minoxidil. In addition to Minoxidil 5% and Tretinoin 0.01%, 82M contains an anti-inflammatory. This is good news for those whose skin is sensitive to Minoxidil. Formula 82M also contains an organic anti-estrogen and a sophisticated blend of antioxidants, scalp conditioners, and hair conditioners.
It is a prescription pill that works similarly to Minoxidil, that is, Finasteride reduces the rate of hair loss. The medication suppresses the male hormone DHT, which is responsible for hair loss. As a result, it is more effective than Minoxidil for many men. Finasteride needs to be regularly maintained to obtain results. Be cautioned that some men experience lowered libido with ongoing use of Finasteride. Learn more about how finasteride works here.
Surgical Hair Transplant
The process includes the removal of very small plugs of hair from areas of your scalp where the hair growth is normal and pigmented. These plugs are then reinserted into the parts of your scalp where you are losing hair. The traditional hair transplant often leaves noticeable scarring and also carries the risk of abscess or infections. The final results of the process are permanent, but may not be flawless or natural due to visible hair plugs. Moreover, the hair transplantation procedure requires many sessions which makes it very expensive. FUE hair transplants solve all of these problems. See below for more details.
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. It uses your own cells to stimulate hair growth and for many patients, it is remarkably effective. You can find more information by following this link.
FUE Hair Transplants
Apart from the classic hair transplant method, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Hair Transplant is a better treatment option that offers very natural results. A device is used to extract hair follicles from the back of your head or any region where the hair is pigmented. After the extraction, the hair follicles are separated and trimmed to give a natural look. These are then implanted into the areas where the hair is thinning or falling out.
FUE hair transplant offers quick recovery, minimal discomfort, and permanent results. If you’re looking for special and flawless-looking hair transplant results, check out NeoGraft FUE hair transplants.
How can you prevent Male Pattern Baldness?
There are several things that you can do to prevent losing your hair, or at least to slow hair loss significantly. Implementing some lifestyle changes can help.
Basic Hair Care
Taking proper care of your hair reduces the issues of hair loss in the long run. Use natural hair products that don’t contain harsh chemicals or dry out your scalp. Avoid using hair dyes. While brushing your hair, make sure you use gentle strokes with a comb in the natural direction of your hair growth and don’t overbrush.
How much stress is there in your life? A stressful lifestyle often leads to hair loss in men. Our physical environment plays a role in our mental state. Stress management is essential. Engage in activities that help to reduce stress. You may begin to notice improvement over time.
A Balanced Diet
The food we consume often affects our skin as well as our hair. Maintaining a healthy diet keeps our hair strong and provides it with proper nutrition for growth. Food like carrots (rich in Vitamin-A), walnuts, and low-fat dairy are recommended for hair loss.
Massaging your scalp increases blood circulation in the scalp. Research shows that massage stretches the cells of hair follicles and increases hair thickness. The stimulation leads to the production of thicker hair.
Cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that are very harmful to your hair. Your hair follicles need nutrients, minerals, and oxygen for better production and maintaining healthy hair. Smoking can interfere with blood flow to the hair follicles and shorten the hair growth anagen phase.
Losing your hair can be a distressing experience. The change in your appearance can affect your mental state. Almost all men lose hair as a natural process of aging. There are several things that you can do to protect your hair and prevent early hair loss. Upon observing signs of male pattern baldness it is best to contact a specialist for diagnosis. Among many treatment options, you can choose the one that fits your needs and budget.
Amid many permanent treatment methods, FUE hair transplants are gaining popularity for their effectiveness and results that look indistinguishable from real hair. Keep in mind that results may vary but most men are extremely satisfied with the final result.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you want to embrace your loss of hair or look into permanent treatments. Most men suffer from hair loss so remember that you are not alone. Instead of being depressed, seek medical assistance to stop the loss. The sooner you begin, the better.