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Everything You Need to Know About Male Pattern Baldness

February 13, 2024

At a certain age, men start to become concerned with their hair. The daunting thought of becoming completely bald may be overwhelming or you may have started to notice a receding hairline or thinning at the crown. 

Either way, you may be wondering why it seems that hair loss is inevitable and why it may be happening to you. 

The most common reason for hair loss in men is male pattern baldness.

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a (mostly) genetic condition that is common in adult men. It’s also known as androgenetic alopecia, and it involves a receding hairline and thinning at the crown. 

While it is most commonly seen in older men, MPB can affect young men too. The age at which male pattern baldness occurs is generally dependent on genetic factors. 

MPB is very common among Caucasian men, affecting one in five men in their 20s and one in two men in their 40s. 

What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?

Hair loss occurs because of the gradual changes that happen in the normal hair growth cycle. This cycle is directly impacted by the scalp’s response to specific male hormones. 

Male pattern baldness is influenced by various factors

Age plays a significant role, as the likelihood of experiencing hair loss increases with time. It is estimated that around 25% of men may begin noticing hair loss before reaching 21 years of age. 

By the time they reach 50, approximately half will have experienced hair loss, and as people continue to age, about 70% will eventually lose hair. 

Hormones – specifically a type known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – are also implicated in male pattern baldness. Androgens, a group of sex hormones, including DHT, are instrumental in the physical maturation process during puberty. Researchers suspect that DHT may play a role in shrinking hair follicles, contributing to hair loss. 

Genetics play a significant role in male pattern baldness. Men have one X chromosome inherited from their mother and one Y chromosome inherited from their father. The AR gene located on the X chromosome is responsible for regulating androgen production. The sensitivity of one's AR gene is believed to influence the development of male pattern baldness.

How Can You Tell If You’re Starting to Lose Your Hair?

There are several signs that may indicate you are starting to lose your hair. One common indication is the development of a "horseshoe shape" pattern, where the hairline recedes at the temples and crown, leaving the sides and back of the head relatively unaffected. 

Thinning at the temples or crown can also be a noticeable sign of hair loss. Paying attention to how much hair you find in your brush or comb after grooming can help you learn about the rate at which your hair may be falling out. If you notice a significant increase in the amount of hair shedding, it might be an early warning sign of hair loss. 

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone experiences some degree of hair shedding, but if you observe a drastic change or consistent hair loss over time, it may be worth consulting with a healthcare provider or dermatologist for a professional evaluation and guidance.

How Do You Know If You Have Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness isn’t hard to recognize, so you won’t necessarily need a diagnosis from a healthcare provider. But, a healthcare provider can validate the condition by conducting a scalp examination. 

During this assessment, they will ask about your medical background, specifically when hair loss became noticeable and whether there is a familial tendency for male pattern baldness. Additionally, they will take note of your hairline and any regions displaying indications of hair thinning or baldness.

How Can You Prevent Male Pattern Baldness?

Preventing male pattern baldness is not always possible, as it is often determined by genetics and hormones. However, there are certain measures that can potentially slow down or minimize the progression of hair loss. 

Maintaining a nutritious diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly those beneficial for hair health like iron, zinc, and vitamin D, can help support healthy hair growth. Avoiding excessive styling, such as tight hairstyles or frequent use of heat styling tools, can also reduce stress on the hair and minimize damage.

Additionally, managing stress levels through techniques like exercise, meditation, and relaxation can potentially have a positive impact on hair health. 

Can Male Pattern Baldness Be Treated?

Yes! Male pattern baldness can be treated

While there is no cure for it, there are several treatment options available to slow down hair loss and promote hair growth. 

Medications

The most common treatments include medications such as minoxidil (topical solution) and finasteride (oral medication), which can help to stimulate hair growth and prevent further hair loss. 

Transplants

Another treatment option is hair transplant surgery, where hair follicles from other parts of the body are transplanted to the balding areas. This allows the transplanted hair follicles to grow and thrive in their new location, restoring a fuller and more natural-looking head of hair. 

Hair transplant techniques have evolved over the years, with innovations such as follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) becoming popular. 

FUT involves removing a strip of scalp and dissecting it into individual grafts, while FUE involves extracting individual hair follicles directly from the donor area. Both methods have shown promising results in terms of hair restoration. 

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a non-surgical procedure that is gaining popularity as a potential treatment for hair loss. In PRP therapy, a small amount of the patient's blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from other blood components. The concentrated platelets, which contain growth factors, are then injected into the scalp in the areas experiencing hair loss or thinning. 

These growth factors are believed to stimulate hair follicles, promote hair growth, and improve hair density. PRP therapy is considered a safe procedure with minimal risk of allergic reactions or side effects since the patient's own blood is used. 

The treatment is often performed in multiple sessions over several months to achieve optimal results. While research on the effectiveness of PRP therapy for hair loss is ongoing, many individuals have reported positive outcomes in terms of hair growth and overall hair quality. 

Laser

Laser therapy has emerged as a potential non-invasive treatment option for male pattern baldness. Low-level laser therapy – also known as red light therapy – involves using lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver specific wavelengths of light to the scalp. 

These light wavelengths are believed to stimulate hair follicles, increasing cellular activity and promoting hair growth. Red light therapy is thought to improve blood flow to the scalp, enhance nutrient delivery to the hair follicles, and extend the growth phase of the hair cycle. 

This therapy can be administered through in-office sessions or at home using handheld devices. While individual results may vary, some studies have shown positive outcomes in terms of increased hair density and improved hair thickness. 

Laser therapy is typically considered safe, with minimal side effects, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking non-invasive hair loss treatments. 

How Can Rex MD Help?

If you’re one of the millions of men experiencing hair loss, Rex MD has a solution for you. Whether your hairline has begun to recede, you’re thinning at the crown of your head, or you’re looking for an overall fuller head of hair, finasteride may be right for you. 

Finasteride is a medication commonly used to treat hair loss in men. It works by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth. Finasteride can help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth in men who are experiencing balding. It is an FDA-approved treatment option that has been shown to be effective in the majority of men who take it. 

Just answer a few questions about your hair health and if appropriate, a licensed physician will prescribe a treatment plan that meets your needs. Then, all you have to do is wait! Your medication will ship out within two days and you can get back to running your fingers through a fuller head of hair.

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