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An In-Depth Guide About Male Pattern Baldness

    Have you ever sat on a busy London tube or a black cab looking at a glossy poster offering dramatic hair loss solutions or the latest in hair transplant surgery? Despite being presented with so many treatments for male pattern baldness it’s hard to know just how much hair loss is affecting you, and more importantly, when you should consider acting on it.

    Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. Research shows that the process can start in adolescent years and affect as much as 50% of men by the age of 50. 

    In this guide we will be exploring male pattern hair loss, what causes it, FUE hair transplants and other hair loss treatments. There are many viable options in treating hair loss and with the odds stacked against men, we want you to know that you are not alone.  

    What is male pattern baldness?

    It’s normal to lose hair, in fact studies show that we shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day without even noticing. Just like the natural world, your hair has a life cycle so it’s nothing to be worried about. However, excessive hair loss can be a sign of a medical condition.

    Hair loss, or alopecia, simply means losing hair where it previously grew. Alopecia can affect your entire body or just your scalp. In male pattern baldness, this happens in a certain pattern affecting mainly the temples and the crown of your head, forming an ‘M’ shape, but not the back and sides (as depicted by the Norwood Scale). 

    Norwood Scale, Male Hair Loss
    Norwood Scale; depicting the different stages of male pattern baldness

    What causes male pattern baldness?

    Genetics, age and the hormone dihydrotestosterone are all factors in male pattern baldness. These three elements all have an effect on your hair’s growth cycle. The growth cycle will begin to weaken as you get older and hair follicles start to shrink. 

    Located at the base of each strand of hair, follicles regulate hair growth. So as they begin to shrink, they produce shorter and finer strands of hair. This process of shrinking, also called miniaturisation is caused by dihydrotestosterone having a damaging effect on genetically exposed hair roots on your scalp. The beginning of the video below explains how this works.

    Difference between normal hair loss and advancing male pattern baldness

    Your hair roots go through cycles, parts of which include shedding of the hair itself. As part of the normal hair loss cycle, 50 to 100 hairs will fall out each day and lead to the regrowth of a new hair that will regrow from those roots. In relation to male pattern baldness, hair roots are affected by dihydrotestosterone resulting in:

    • A significantly larger number of hairs being shed
    • A reduction in the speed of hair regrowth
    • Hairs that do grow appear thin, discoloured and fragile
    male pattern baldness dihydrotestosterone molecule
    Diagram of dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

    Male pattern baldness treatment

    There are a number of different approaches that someone suffering with male pattern baldness can look to utilise. These fall into the categories of non-surgical hair loss treatments and surgical hair transplants. 

    Non surgical hair loss treatments

    Non surgical hair treatments include hair loss medications such as Finasteride and Minoxidil. 

    Both medications have been proven to be effective hair loss medications. Finasteride is usually prescribed by medical professionals to those that are looking to prevent further hair loss. 

    Minoxidil is prescribed to those who have already lost quite a bit of hair and are looking to stimulate hair growth and the thickness of the hair. 

    Surgical hair loss treatment

    Beyond hair loss medication, a very popular option is that of hair transplant surgery. One of the most popular hair transplant procedures is that of an FUE (Follicular Unit Excision) hair transplant. 

    An FUE hair transplant sees the surgeon extract hair follicles from donor areas on the scalp using specialist equipment that punctures the scalp and removes the individual hair follicles. The technique leaves scars less than a millimetre in diameter on the scalp. This scaring is not noticeable once your hair surrounding these scars has partially regrown. The hair follicles that have been removed are then transplanted to the affected hair loss area.

    FUE hair transplants are becoming increasingly more popular due to limited scarring and the time that it takes to heal, generally less than 2 weeks. 

    How to stop male pattern baldness?

    First things first, there is no known cure for male pattern baldness. There are however things that you can do to slow or halt the process of male pattern baldness. Alongside the medical therapies above you can also incorporate some lifestyle changes.

    Your hair is a living organ. It requires a good blood supply, oxygen, nutrients and vitamins for vitality. A healthy diet is therefore very important, you can even supplement your diet with B-vitamins, biotin, zinc and selenium which have been shown to improve hair growth. 

    Avoid active damage to your hair:

    • Protect it from sun damage using a hat
    • Try not to use ‘heavy’ products on your hair that are potentially toxic
    • Avoid excessive heat from hairdryers and straighteners

    Lifestyle factors also play an important role in hair loss with smoking and stress being well-known contributors to the balding process.

    For more information on male hair loss please get in touch with one of our qualified hair transplant surgeons at The Treatment Rooms London. We offer an initial consultation service, an unparalleled process, and round-the-clock support to get you the help you require.

    If you would like a health check for your hair or to visit our hair transplant clinic, book a consultation with The Treatment Rooms London today.

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