Many men deal with hair loss at some point in their lives. While it’s a common concern, many don’t know what causes hair loss in men. If you or a loved one are losing the hair on your scalp, it’s common to wonder why it’s happening and what can be done about it.
This article will explain everything you need to know about male pattern baldness, from causes to potential treatments.
What Is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss that men deal with. In fact, 95% of male hair loss is caused by male pattern baldness, and more than half of all men will experience it to some extent by their 50th birthday.
It is the loss of hair from a man’s scalp where the hair doesn’t grow back. There are seven stages of male pattern baldness, ranging in severity:
●Stage One: Little to no hair loss or hairline recession.
●Stage Two: Slight hair loss near the temples (the side of the head).
●Stage Three: Deep hairline recession around the temples; hairline may have an “M” or “U” shape.
●Stage Four: Very deep hair loss at the top of the head (crown).
●Stage Five: Hairline recession connects to the bald area on the crown.
●Stage Six: The hair between the temples and crown is thinning or entirely gone.
●Stage Seven: No hair on the top of the head and a thin band of hair around the side of the head.
Other Names for Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness is also known as androgenic alopecia and simply hair loss in men. These names are interchangeable, but male pattern baldness is the most widely used term.
What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is caused by three main factors. If a man is dealing with this condition, he likely has a combination of the three:
●Age: The chances of male pattern baldness go up as a man ages. About a quarter of men see signs of hair loss before they turn 21. By age 50, about half of men are experiencing hair loss to some degree. About 70% of all men will lose hair as they get older.
●Hormones: medical experts and researchers believe there’s a link between DHT and the shrinking of hair follicles. DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is a type of androgen. Androgens are sex hormones that bring on puberty. However, they also work to regulate hair growth, which is where the connection stems from.
●Genetics: Men inherit an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father. The AR gene in the X chromosome is what tells your body how to make androgens. The AR’s sensitivity factors into male pattern baldness chances. If your maternal grandfather has male pattern baldness, your chances of dealing with it are higher.
Symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness
Symptoms of male pattern baldness include:
●Hair thinning or loss on the crown
●Hair thinning or loss near the temples
●A receding hairline
The hair loss on the crown typically appears in a circular shape. A receding hairline will often take on an “M” shape. As the hair loss gets more pronounced, the two bald areas may meet to form a “U” shape on the head.
How Do You Get Diagnosed with Male Pattern Baldness?
Hair loss in men is easy to recognize, so you don’t have to go to a doctor to get a professional diagnosis. However, it can be confirmed by your doctor through a physical examination of your scalp.
During the examination, they’ll ask questions about when you noticed the hair loss, any family history of male pattern baldness, and other factors like your medical history.
Your doctor may choose to use a tool called a densitometer to examine your scalp. This tool will measure the thickness of your hair follicles, which can confirm that you’re dealing with male pattern baldness.
If your doctor thinks your hair loss is due to another concern, they may do some other tests to rule concerns out. These tests may include:
●A scalp examination for signs of infection
●A hair sample to be analyzed
●A scalp biopsy to check for any skin diseases
However, it’s most likely that these tests won’t be needed. Your doctor will likely only do them if you have other medical concerns that could be causing your hair loss as a side effect.
How to Treat Hair Loss in Men
If you’re losing the hair on your scalp, you may want to try to stop or even reverse the loss. While there are no medical concerns with male pattern baldness, you may have some cosmetic concerns, which is completely understandable.
There are many treatments available on the market, including medications, procedures, and more. Below, you’ll find some of the most common treatments people choose to try.
1.Laser Cap Therapy
Laser cap therapy is an FDA-cleared treatment that can promote hair growth on your scalp. These caps work in two ways:
●They spur hair follicle growth by waking the follicles from hibernation and returning them to health. This can also prolong their growth cycle.
●They block DHT synthesis to provide more energy to the hair follicles. This also aids in producing NO, ATP, and ROS, which are all vital for healthy hair follicle growth.
A laser cap will strengthen hair follicles, slow scalp aging, stop hair loss, and even regrow your hair faster than other options. Plus, there are no side effects, unlike medications.
There are over-the-counter medications available that can be applied to your scalp directly, such as minoxidil (Rogaine). These are usually the first line of medication treatment for male pattern baldness. Results can be seen after two to four months of daily use. Some side effects can include a headache, scalp irritation, or unusual hair growth.
If over-the-counter options don’t help, a prescription oral medication like finasteride (Propecia) can be prescribed by a doctor. These medications can take at least three months of daily use before you begin seeing improvements in hair growth. Common side effects from these medications include allergic reactions, testicular pain, and erectile dysfunction.
Hair transplants can be done if the person is looking for more immediate results. A hair transplant is where a healthcare provider takes skin grafts from an area of your body with healthy hair growth and moves them to the balding areas of the scalp.
Potential side effects of hair transplants include scalp pain, irritation, scarring, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Another medical procedure that can be done to address hair loss in men is injecting platelet-rich plasma. A healthcare provider will remove blood from your body, process it, and then inject it into your scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Potential side effects of this procedure include scalp pain, irritation, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Depending on the severity of hair loss, some men can hide their hair loss with the right haircut or hairstyle. This is especially successful in the earlier stages of male pattern baldness. If you think this may work for you, talk to your hairstylist about potential cuts that will make your thinning hair appear fuller.
6.Wigs and Hairpieces
Wigs and hairpieces are temporary options that can cover your thinning hair, receding hairline, or baldness. They come in a variety of styles, colors, and lengths.
You can opt for a natural look by choosing wigs that match your typical style and natural hair color. However, you can also have some fun with this option and try out a style you’ve never done before since it’s a temporary choice. Professional wig stylists can help you style and fit wigs to make the style look natural.
Hair weaves are a step above wigs in that they’re sewn into your natural hair, making them semi-permanent. However, you have to have enough hair to sew the weave into, so this isn’t an option for men who have completely lost their hair.
The advantage to weaves over wigs is that they always stay on, even when you’re swimming, showering, or sleeping. However, they need to be sewn in again when your hair grows. Plus, they can damage your natural hair, which may be counterproductive if you want to fight hair loss.
Male pattern baldness can start as early as your teenage years or can show up much later in life. Many men struggle with confidence issues when they begin losing their hair. However, there are treatments available to stop, reverse, or cover up the loss of your hair. Of course, you can also choose to rock the bald look, which many men opt for.
Know that if you are dealing with male pattern baldness, it’s not because of anything you did. Your age, genes, and hormones are at work to cause this loss of hair. Whether you choose to allow nature to run its course or use modern technology to fight hair loss, you can be confident knowing that hair loss is normal and not concerning.
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