Androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness is a common condition in men. In fact, it is the most common type of male hair loss. It accounts for more than 95 percent of all hair loss in men.
Typical Hair Loss Patterns
Men lose their hair in one of several different patterns. The initial pattern involves a receding hairline that starts with thinning hair at the temples. Other common patterns include centralized hair loss on the crown or top of the head, or on the vertex or back of the head. Diffuse thinning of the hair is another sign of pattern baldness.
Some men experience a combination of these patterns. An illustrated chart called the Norwood Scale can help men determine their particular pattern of baldness. It can also help them discover the potential extent of their hair loss if they choose not to treat it. Different treatments will offer different results depending on the pattern and extent of baldness.
Typical Hair Loss Causes
Men lose their hair for a number of reasons. Some types of hair loss result from drugs or underlying medical conditions. Male pattern baldness is related to hormones and genetics, as implied in the medical name.
Androgenic alopecia involves an androgen sensitivity as well as a genetic predisposition. Men with pattern baldness have a genetic sensitivity to a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Their scalp contains elevated levels of this hormone.
DHT is a byproduct of testosterone. An enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase is responsible for the steroid conversion. High levels of DHT in the scalp tend to shrink the hair follicles and cause hair to fall out. The only successful treatments for this type of hair loss either block DHT production or stimulate new hair growth.
Typical Hair Loss Treatments
Minoxidil and finasteride are the only medications formulated to treat male pattern baldness. Most hair loss shampoos and scalp treatments contain minoxidil, a topical solution. Finasteride is a prescription oral medication.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved these drugs for the treatment of male baldness. The most successful treatments begin as soon as men notice a receding hairline. Thin hair can be thickened and hair loss can be prevented with the FDA-approved drugs. However, it is nearly impossible to grow new hair in the bald areas.
When medications are ineffective for stopping hair loss or regrowing hair, doctors may recommend surgery to treat male pattern baldness. Hair transplants, scalp extensions and scalp reductions are typical surgical procedures. Although they are painful and expensive, they are permanent solutions to baldness.
Hair transplants involve the removal of tiny hair plugs from healthy areas of the scalp. They are then implanted into hairless areas. Doctors no longer recommend suturing hairpieces to the scalp, since this can result in scars and infections. The FDA banned the use of artificial fiber implants due to the high infection rate.
Some men prefer natural hair loss treatments to medications and surgeries. Nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, over-the-counter topical lotions and hair loss shampoos may be effective for stopping hair loss and growing new hair if they contain the right ingredients. The only successful treatments for male pattern baldness contain DHT-blockers, hair growth stimulants or both ingredients.
About the Author
Jake Conner has been a researcher and author for more than 11 years. Jake has made it his mission to discover solutions that can improve the lives of other people. When Jake is not researching a health related topic such as Alopecia, he spends most of his time traveling with his family.
Alopecia: The Complete Guide On Treatments and Remedies: Stop Hair Loss In Men
There are medical as well as natural treatments and home remedies for the different types of alopecia. However, the main treatment is usually observation wherein it is watched to see if the hair will grow back in by itself.