What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss in men. This condition affects two-thirds of American men at age 35 or older, and by age 50, it affects eight-five percent of men. With male pattern baldness, experts believe a certain hormone (DHT) binds to receptors in the hair follicles and basically chokes out the healthy hairs. In male pattern baldness, genetics are often to blame, but there are treatments available to help restore hair.
Male Pattern Baldness Causes
The chief cause of male pattern baldness is thought to be dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone is a derivative of testosterone, which is the “male hormone” and is present in all men. Not every man will suffer from male pattern baldness due to DHT, but many will. This hormone causes healthy hairs in the growing phase to go dormant and then eventually shrink and fall out. The result is either complete balding or severe thinning of the hair, especially at the crown of the head and in the front of the head, giving the “receding hairline” look.
Male Pattern Baldness Symptoms
Typically, men who are experiencing male pattern baldness will first begin to notice that their hairs are falling out faster than normal. This might be noticed after a shower or while combing the hair. Then, certain thinning spots will start to become visible. These might start very slowly but men will often end up with a receding hairline or a bald spot in the back of the head at the crown. For the most part, the areas that are affected by male pattern baldness will go completely bald, but there are areas which aren’t typically affected, including the sides and back of the head.
Male Pattern Baldness Treatments
There are many different kinds of treatments available for male pattern baldness, including topical medicines like Rogaine and Propecia, which are thought to prevent DHT from binding to receptors in the hair follicles. Many men take advantage of herbal treatments like aloe and saw palmetto, especially those that don’t want to be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. With treatments like those above, when the medication is stopped, the hair loss generally starts to be noticed again.
It’s easier for men to prevent male pattern baldness than it is for them to reverse it. For this reason, men should seek treatment as soon as they notice their hair starting to thin. Medications like Propecia and Rogaine will stop the hair loss, so when started early more of the hair can be salvaged. It may take a few months to notice that the hair has stopped falling out once these medications are started. After the hair has already fallen out, treatments like hair transplantation can be considered.
Male pattern baldness is a condition that affects a huge majority of men, and most would like to do something about it. With the proper knowledge and information, men can seek treatment to feel more like themselves and to feel better about the way they look.