What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is a common condition in men that typically begins with a receding hairline at the front of the scalp or a thinning of hair at the crown. Science and research show that genetic predisposition and hormones are the biggest risk factors for balding in men.
Every hair on your head grows for about two to six years at a rate of about one inch every few months before falling out of the follicle. As we age, the new hairs that grow inside those follicles are thinner because the follicle is slowly shrinking. In men and women with hair loss, the hairs stop growing because the follicle becomes so small.
Normal hair loss is usually gradual, with a person losing only a few strands at a time. Men most often notice their hair loss by the accumulation of hair in shower drains or in the teeth of a comb. Hair loss that occurs in patches or that includes redness, scaling, pain, or varying progressions is atypical with male patterned baldness. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor or a dermatological specialist to address the problem.
Hair loss causes more psychosocial problems—such as stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem—than physical problems. Hair loss is normal for most men. It‘s unpreventable and permanent if untreated.
Treating Hair Loss
Treatment for hair loss is only for cosmetic reasons. Some men treat their hair loss with a change of hairstyle or hairpieces.
The over-the-counter solution minoxidil (Rogaine) is applied directly to the scalp to help stimulate hair follicles. This treatment slows hair loss for most men and even regrows hairs for some. The hair loss resumes when treatment ceases.
The prescription pill finasteride (Propecia and Proscar) works the same way minoxidil does, often with better results. Again, the hair loss resumes when treatment stops.
Hair implants involve removing small plugs of hair from other parts of the body and implanting them into balding areas. While scarring and infection can occur, hair implants often have positive, permanent results with multiple treatments.