Male Pattern Baldness
It’s nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, nearly two-thirds of men in the UK will experience it at some point in their lifetime. And yes, we are indeed talking about male pattern baldness.
Men lose their hair on a daily basis, whether they like it or not. Truth be told, they lose around 100 hairs a day. The hair falls out, then it grows, and it falls out again, and the cycle continues. Unfortunately for some, the cycle stops, and they begin to suffer from androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as, male pattern baldness.
What Is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. This is the common cause of hair loss in males across the globe.
Pattern baldness in men is caused by a variety of factors. As such, there is no one go-to treatment that would help regrow hair loss. The factors that can contribute to a man suffering from pattern baldness include:
- Genetics – A family history of androgenetic alopecia is unfortunately hereditary – so you can thank your uncle for something. Research has proven that hair loss has been directly linked to the gene that makes up your genetic composition, specifically the male sex hormones called androgens.
- Health Conditions – pattern baldness can arise due to health complications. We will discuss in further detail the conditions that could lead to androgenetic alopecia, and what you can do to prevent hair loss. Some of the causes of hair loss have been linked to certain cancers, diabetes, and other cardiac diseases.
- Diet – A bad diet does not only leave you with a worse-for-wear body, but it could also affect your hair! A nutrient deficiency or malnutrition can suggest that you need to alter your diet, as it will leave your hair looking damaged or frail.
All of the above reasons can cause a direct effect on the hair follicles on both your scalp and your face, which leads to the inevitable decline of hair growth.
The hair will thin gradually before you go bald, and it is at this step that people decide to either embrace the baldness or seek treatment for fuller hair. Make sure to go to your doctor when you first experience any signs of balding in order to get to the root of the issue.
When Does Male Pattern Baldness Occur?
Male pattern baldness in teenage men is more common than you think. Although, the mean age for type of hairloss is around 40 years old.
Surprisingly, male pattern baldness in babies is also common. This is because some of the hormones from the mother are passed along the placenta to the baby, which may predispose it to hair loss.
The American Hair Loss Association has carried out studies that conclude the percentage rate at which men experience male pattern baldness stages:
- 25% of men who have inherited the male pattern baldness gene have thinning hair before 21 years of age
- 66% of men will have experienced hair loss by the age of 35
- Almost 85% of men will have thinner hair by the age of 50
Now that you are aware that the thinning of your hair may indeed be due to male pattern baldness, why don’t we delve right into the male pattern baldness signs and symptoms?
The most common male pattern baldness early signs are as follows:
- Receding hairline – this is where you start to notice that your hair stops further up your forehead and gives the impression of a larger forehead
- Thinner hair around the crown and temples – you will notice that the sides of your hair begin to have thinner hair than the rest of your scalp
- Horseshoe pattern – this most commonly occurs at the top of the head where one will notice thinning hair and areas where the scalp becomes visible
- Hair falling out – As your hair begins to start thinning, you may notice that some hairs will start falling out when combing or applying hair products
All of the above can be a result of genetically acquired male pattern baldness or due to a side effect from disease, infection, or medication. We will discuss these in further detail later in the article.
Hair loss typically occurs in stages. Once this was fully identified, a scale called the Norwood scale was introduced to help us identify the current stage of hair loss from which we are suffering and allow us to take the next steps into treating the issue.
The Norwood scale is segregated into seven different stages of male pattern baldness:
- Stage 1 – Norwood scale type 1 indicates a full head of hair with little to no thinning, recession, or hair loss.
- Stage 2 – Norwood scale type 2 shows a triangular recession of hair along the frontotemporal hairline. This is otherwise known as early-stage male pattern baldness.
- Stage 3 – Norwood scale type 3 includes more visible hair loss, with the receding hairline taking the form of an M or V shape, with little to no hair around the temples.
- Stage 4 – Norwood scale type 3 is more obvious with visible hair loss closely resembling early stage baldness.
- Stage 5 – Norwood scale type 5 hair loss becomes harder to treat, and people may opt for medication treatment or hair transplant surgery at this stage.
- Stage 6 – Norwood scale type 6 makes it very difficult to treat your hair loss using a medication, and so transplants may be the only option, and even then not be entirely successful.
- Stage 7 – Norwood scale type 7 is the most severe hair loss during which there will be little to no visible hair on the scalp, leading to a common horseshoe shape hairline.
Unfortunately, there is no one cause of pattern baldness in men and the reasons are still being researched to this day.
There is however main roots to the condition which we will discuss in more detail below. These are:
- Genetic causes such as a family history of hair loss
- Dietary and lifestyle causes
- Hair loss due to disease and infection
- Hormonal changes
- Medication and herbal supplements
- Certain hair treatments
As you can see, there is are a plethora of different reasons why one may begin to experience hair loss. Although not all are directly linked to male pattern baldness, most may trigger the hormones or genes acquired through birth and begin the process of balding.
Genetic inheritance of male pattern baldness is said to be of a polygenic nature, indicating that more that one gene is involved.
Whenever you’re born, you have 23 pairs of genes or chromosomes that determine your characteristic features. Men have an XY chromosome pair and women have an XX chromosome pair. Men receive their X chromosome from their mother, and the X from their father.
pattern baldness inheritance is due to the AR gene which is found on the X chromosome. This male pattern baldness gene has been proven to double the risk of developing the condition.
Your lifestyle choices have a significant effect on pattern baldness, specifically stress. Pattern baldness in men induced by stress is common. Not only does stress arise from the condition, but stress itself can lead to baldness or telogen effluvium which results in your hair follicles being pushed into a resting phase, causing your hair to fall out.
Furthermore, your diet can be directly linked to hair loss due to malnutrition. Not taking in the recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals such as zinc has been proven to promote hair loss and thin your hair.
Disease and Infections
There are various diseases and infections that can lead to balding or trigger your male pattern baldness gene, resulting in inevitable balding. These conditions are:
- Thryiod disorders – prolonged cases of hypo and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss.
- Certain cancers – although cancer does not directly affect hair loss, the treatments used such as chemotherapy and radiation can have a detrimental hair loss side effects
- Alopecia areata – this is an autoimmune condition that can lead to patchy hair loss in the scalp and beard
Furthermore, conditions which leave you with scarring on your head can also cause hair loss. For example, itchy scalp as a result of ring worm can lead to patchy hair growth and give an illusion of hair loss.
Unfortunately, there is no current cure or male pattern baldness prevention. However, there are various treatment options available out there that range from using approved medications and hair transplants to developing your own remedies at home!
However, what you can do is reduce certain stresses in your life and amend your lifestyle to a more healthier norm to allow you not only to have a healthier body, but to prevent hair loss caused by stress. For example, you can try to meditate, do more regular sporting activities, and eat a healthier diet that contains more essential minerals and vitamins needed for hair growth.
Now, we are not saying that these prevention methods WILL work for you, as they have worked for others, but nonetheless it can be worth it for you to giving them a try if all else have failed.
For example, you can eat foods that contain high levels of biotin such as:
- Egg yolk
- Kidney and liver (not our first choice)
- Whole grains
If you struggle to consume the essential minerals required such as zinc, magnesium, and protein, you can try taking vitamins and supplements such as male pattern baldness biotin. Biotin helps improve the infrastructure of keratin which is the component that makes up hair and nails.
These supplements will help you reach your maximum daily intake for the required vitamins and minerals that are proven to strengthen your hair.
Again, incorporating these supplements and improving your diet will not guarantee success in restoring your hair volume and strength, but has worked for some and so is worth a try.
Furthermore, we recommend that you give your hair the care it deserves. In order to try and prevent hair loss, make sure you opt for using only natural hair products. Try avoid using too much heat treatment on your hair and limit the appliances used to keep your hair healthy and strong. You should also massage your scalp weekly using essential hair oils that will help hold your hair’s integrity and strength, allowing it to flourish.
Now, we are going to tell you about the most detailed treatments found in most clinics that help hair growth from a medical standpoint.
As stated above, no current cure for male pattern baldness has been found. However, treatment of male pattern hairloss and other causes of balding are widely available through the NHS, local pharmacies, and private doctors.
The primary treatment options are:
- Medication – you can buy these medications either over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, or have them prescribed to you privately by a private doctor.
- Hair transplants – although not yet available on the NHS (apart from special circumstances), many private clinics offer comprehensive hair transplant surgeries
Medical treatment for hair loss varies from using male pattern baldness shampoo that may include caffeine, or using medications such as finasteride and minoxidil.
Finasteride is a medication which is taken orally, usually at a dose of 1mg per day for hair regrowth. It works by acting on the male hormones that are responsible for male pattern baldness- specifically, testosterone. However, when you stop taking finasteride, your hair loss reverts.
In order to witness visible results, it is recommended that finasteride is taken anywhere from 3 months to a year. If no positive affect on hair growth has been seen after a year, your doctor may prescribe an alternative medication such as minoxidil.
Minoxidil is applied as a solution (rogaine) directly to your scalp, as opposed to a tablet. Using minoxidil for male pattern baldness helps stimulate hair follicle production. Rogaine works best for those who suffer from genetically inherited male pattern balding that affects the top of the head.
Various studies have been carried out since the initial approval of minoxidil in 1987 that have proven its ability to reduce hair loss and promote hair growth, particularly in men under the age of 40.
Another option for treating hair loss caused due to male pattern baldness is through a hair transplant. There are various methods of hair transplants out there such as :
These common cosmetic procedures are widely available across various clinics around the globe and are now more affordable than ever.
The FUE and FUT methods vary ever so slightly during the process of transplantation. The FUE method involves extracting individual hair follicles and then transplanting them directly into the recipient area. The FUT method involves the extraction of an entire strip of donor hair follicles which can be directly implanted into the recipient area. Hair plugs are used as an older procedure which isn’t used much in practice these days.
In order to find out the best hair transplant for male pattern baldness it is best for you to arrange a consultation with a private surgeon who will assess your individual case and provide you with the best possible method of transplant for your hair.
Although both hair transplant procedures above have their benefits, the best option for one individual may not be the best choice for you.
Home Remedies And Other Treatments
Although there is no current magic tablet that will regrow your hair in an instant, research has proven that herbs and natural remedies can help slow hair loss and aid regrowth of hair.
The first of home remedies you can try using are hair oils that use various herbs and carrier oils that help maintain your hair. Examples of hair oils include:
- Caster oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Olive oil
- Garlic and onion oil
These oils are usually infused with the following male pattern hair loss remedies to help prevent hair loss:
- Chinese hibiscus
- Coat buttons
Further accredited research is required to anchor the true benefit behind using some of these remedies. Because one remedy works for one person does not mean it will work for you, and therefore going through processes of trial and error may help you find a remedy that works. It is best to follow accredited and researched treatment methods first.
Low vitamin D levels are also associated with hair loss. Research has proven that vitamin D helps the body create new hair follicles and promote male pattern baldness hair regrowth. That said, the majority of people living in areas such as the United Kingdom lack in vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight, and it is therefore recommended you consult with your doctor to commence a course of daily vitamin D.
Male pattern baldness natural treatment stems from massaging your scalp with smelly oils. You can try massage your scalp to help improve your hair thickness. Not only does it directly affect your hair follicles, but a daily scalp massage has a big part in reducing stress which is another big contributor to hair loss.