Hair has a natural cycle of growing and falling but losing too much hair isn’t fun. At Remedico, we understand that your hair belongs on your head - we can help keep it there. In this blog post, we explain male pattern baldness, a dermatological condition that causes hair loss from the front and sides of the scalp and progresses towards the back of the head.
What is male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is the most common type of hair loss in men. Commonly seen in white men, less often in black men and much slower in Asian men, androgenetic alopecia is caused by a combination of genes and the way the body responds to testosterone.
What are the causes?
Genetics or family history is a cause of male pattern baldness - it is associated with androgens, which are male sex hormones. Androgens aid in the regulation of hair growth. Each strand of hair has a growth cycle and with this condition, the cycles become weak. This results in the shrinking of hair follicles causing strands of hair to be short and fine. Over time, the growth cycle for each strand of hair ceases and hair does not grow back in that area of the scalp.
It is important to know that there are different causes of hair loss that leads to baldness such as fungal infections, nutritional disorders, cancers, medications, steroids and thyroid conditions.
Pro Tip: If you have started taking a new course of medication, and are experiencing hair fall - you should consult with a doctor immediately.
How is it diagnosed?
The pattern of hair loss help doctors diagnose androgenetic alopecia. By analysing your personal and family’s medical history, they are able to rule out other health conditions that could cause hair loss. Doctors may also use a device called trichoscope along with blood tests to diagnose the cause behind your hair fall.
Who can it affect?
Male pattern baldness can begin as early as teenage years but is most commonly seen in adult men. As we have mentioned above, genetics plays a huge role in its occurence. If you have relatives who have been diagnosed with male pattern baldness, you’re at a higher risk of getting it. Research states that this is more common when the maternal side of the family is affected.
What are the symptoms?
Male pattern baldness causes hair loss from the front and top of the scalp, and then proceeds to the sides and back of the scalp. This is the pattern that doctors use to diagnose the condition. While some men experience a single bald spot, others can experience receding hairlines.
- Excessive hair loss
- Receding hairline at temples
- Overall thinning and reduction in density of hair
- Bald patches on top of the scalp
- Later stages: complete baldness
What are the treatment options?
Hair loss could be due to a number of possible conditions or causes, it’s important that you get it diagnosed by a trained dermatologist, who will also be able to prescribe the right treatment regimen for you. Hair fall is not inevitable, but the sooner you take action, the better your results will get in improving your hair.
Here are a few treatment options that doctors prescribe for male pattern baldness:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine):
A topical medication, minoxidil aids in the slowing down of hair loss along with stimulating hair follicles for hair growth. It is important to remember that visible results of the drug are not immediately seen - minoxidil takes about 4 months to a year.
- Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar):
An oral medication, finasteride slows down hair loss by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT - which is the male hormone that causes hair thinning. Although finasteride has a good success rate, taking it for 3 months to a year will yield noticeable results. It is also not advised for women who are pregnant, or for men or women who are planning a family.
Like with all medications, these drugs should always be taken under medical supervision. Stopping the medications above reverses its actions resulting in hair thinning again over a period of time. This occurs if maintenance treatment is also discontinued. If you experience any side effects, please see a dermatologist at the earliest.
Medical management alone is a slow process. Moderate to severe AGA may require other procedures like mesotherapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies, in addition to oral and application medications. Mesotherapy can be done with rollers or devices, where hair restoration cocktail solutions are applied to the scalp. PRP consists of using the patient’s blood to stimulate growth factors.
Can it be prevented?
Currently, there isn’t a way to prevent male pattern baldness but research suggests that stress may cause it. Stress causes the increased production of male hormones in the body which causes hair loss.
Pro tip: Try to reduce your stress levels by engaging in activities such as meditation, calming music and long walks.
There are different types of hair fall and thinning, and understanding which type you might be experiencing is the most important step towards getting it treated. It's important to remember hair loss, thinning, and texture changes are not always just one problem but can be different conditions - understanding what you are experiencing is important.
Don’t self-diagnose and never self-medicate.
Getting a professional diagnosis and treatment plan from a dermatologist through Remedico is the best first step you can take towards treating your hair fall. After analysing your details, our specialists will provide you with a treatment plan that suits your hair’s need. Baldness isn't something any young person wants to deal with - but it happens. Consult with us today - your scalp will thank you!
Check out the change in Ezra's hair! Our doctors provide you with custom treatment plan to help you get a solution for your skin and hair issues.