Male-pattern hair loss is an inherited condition that is also known as androgenetic alopecia or baldness. It is the most prominent form of permanent male baldness and affects all men as they age to some extent. But Caucasian males are more vulnerable to it than other ethnicities. The disorder is characterized by a receding hairline and/or hair loss at the head’s top and front.
Men who do not produce testosterone (due to genetic defects or castration) do not develop this pattern of baldness. 20% of men in 20s, 30 per cent in 30s, almost half in 40s, and as many as 80 per cent in 70s are affected by male pattern hair loss.
Male pattern hair loss may be associated with low self-esteem, depression, and other negative psychological effects, especially in western cultures that place great value on youthful beauty and attractiveness.
There is no cure for male-pattern baldness. But certain treatments can slow it down.
What is male pattern baldness?
According to the United States of America, male pattern baldness, also called androgen alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss in men. According to National Library of Medicine (NLM), more than 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 would be affected to some extent by male pattern baldness.
What causes male pattern baldness?
Genetics, or a family history of baldness, is one source of male pattern hair loss. A study has shown that male pattern baldness is related to androgens. These are male sex hormones. Androgens have multiple roles, including regulating the formation of hair.
There’s a development process for each hair on your head. With male pattern hair loss, this growth phase starts to weaken, and the hair follicle shrinks, creating shorter and more delicate hair strands. Eventually, the growth cycle of each hair stops, and no new hair grows in its place.
Health conditions can cause baldness when rash, redness, discomfort, scalp peeling, hair breakage, patchy hair loss, or an unusual pattern of hair loss is connected with hair loss. Skin biopsy and blood tests may also be used to diagnose hair loss disorders.
Who’s at risk?
Male pattern hair loss can start in your teen years. But it occurs more commonly in adult males, with the risk increasing with age. Genetics plays a very significant role. Men that have close relatives with a male history of baldness are at greater risk. This is particularly true when their families are on the maternal side of the family.
Can Male Pattern Baldness Be Cured?
Although “cured” is a difficult word to corroborate, MPB may be stopped and, in some cases, reversed. And few treatments are most effective in doing so.
With the best treatment plan to tackle thinning hair, most men can see a dramatic improvement. However, their male pattern baldness isn’t necessarily cured – it’s well controlled.
Techniques to address hair loss
Medical treatment is not required if there is no cause for other health conditions. However, treatments are available to men who are uncomfortable with the way they look, as it would like the appearance of a fuller head of hair.
Men with limited hair loss can often hide hair loss with the right haircut or hairstyle. Ask your hairstylist for a creative cut that will make your hair thinner look fuller.
2. Wigs or hairpieces
Thinning hair, receding hairlines, and complete baldness may be concealed by wigs. They are available in a multitude of types, shapes and colours. For a natural look, select wig colours, designs, and textures that look similar to your original hair. Professional wig stylists will help with style and fit the wigs for an even more natural look.
Hair weaves are the wigs that are sewn in your hair. You’ve got to get enough hair to sew the weave in. The weaves’ benefit is that they still stay on, even during bathing, showering, and sleeping. The disadvantages are that they need to be sewn again whenever new hair growth happens. And the sewing process will damage your natural hair.
4. Minoxidil (Rogaine)
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical medication used to treat the scalp. It slows down hair loss for some men and encourages the hair follicles to develop new hair. Minoxidil takes around four months and one year to achieve visible results. Hair loss also happens again after you stop taking your medicine.
Possible side effects associated with minoxidil include dryness, itching, swelling, and scaling of the scalp. You can visit the doctor immediately if you have any of these severe side effects:
- Laboured respiration
- Trouble breathing when lying down
- Weight gain
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling of the face, hands, ankles, or abdomen
5. Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is an oral drug that speeds down hair loss in some men. It works by blocking the development of the male hormone responsible for the loss of hair. Finasteride has a greater rate of success than minoxidil. If you stop taking finasteride, the hair loss will return.
You need to take finasteride for three months to one year before you see the results. If there is no hair growth after one year, the doctor would generally recommend that you stop taking the medication.
The side effects of finasteride may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Breast growth
- Swelling of the face or lips
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in testicles
- Difficulty getting an erection
Although it is rare, finasteride can cause breast cancer. You should get any breast pain or lumps urgently checked by your doctor.
Finasteride can affect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests used for prostate cancer. The medicine lowers the PSA dose, which causes lower-than-normal readings. Any rise in PSA levels when taking finasteride for prostate cancer should be evaluated.
6. Hair transplants
It is the most invasive and expensive treatment for hair loss. Hair transplants work by removing hair from the scalp’s regions that have active hair growth and transplanting it to thinning or balding areas of the scalp.
Different treatments are also required, and there is a risk of scarring and infection in the procedure. The benefit of a hair transplant is that it looks more natural and is permanent.
Going bald might be a big change. You might have trouble accepting your look. You should get counseling if you have anxiety, poor self-esteem, depression, or other emotional problems due to the male baldness pattern.
The Bottom Line
If you’re worried about your hair loss, don’t quit taking the medication straight away. Please see your doctor and find out if you’ve any other choices. You may just have to wait until you’ve completed your treatment. In most cases, the hair can be returned once treatment is stopped.
Please see your doctor if:
- You’re getting a sudden patchy hair loss
- You think that medicine could cause your hair loss.
- You’ve also got a rash
- Your skin is scaly