22 Jun Male Pattern Baldness: Treatments
We’re now fortunate enough to have a number of different options available for the treatment of male pattern baldness, but with this can come the dilemma of not knowing which will be the best option for you.
To help make this a little clearer, in this guide we’ve explained more about male pattern baldness and what causes it, as well as what the main treatments are and how you can determine the right course of action for your hair loss.
What is male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness – also known as androgenic alopecia1 – is the most common form of hair loss in men. It has a number of causes, but it’s mainly down to your genetically determined sensitivity to the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).2
If there’s an excess of DHT in your scalp it can cause the follicles on your head to shrink and weaken leading to a production of shorter and thinner strands of hair during your hair growth cycle. Then over time – and the more sensitive you are to DHT – these follicles simply stop producing hair, resulting in thinning hair and eventual baldness.
Some studies suggest3 that eventually at least 50% of all men over the age of 50 will have shown signs of some form of male pattern baldness and as much as 80% of men will experience it during their lifetime.
Signs to look out for
Typically, hair often recedes first on our hairline and our crown,4 which is what causes the receding hairline and bald spot that’s often associated with male pattern baldness.
A few other signs that you might be losing your hair as a result of male pattern baldness, alongside a notable change in your hairline, include:
- Your hair feeling thinner on the top of your head
- An excessive amount of hair loss during the day
- An excessive amount of hair loss when showering or brushing your hair
- You notice a visible difference in your hair when looking at pictures of your younger self
Treatments for male pattern baldness
The treatments that are currently available for male pattern baldness cover everything from medicines to natural remedies and even surgery. Below we’ve taken a closer look at these:
Minoxidil is a medicine that’s used to stop additional hair loss and can help and encourage stronger regrowth of your hair. It can come as a liquid or foam solution that you apply to your scalp twice a day and is often found within hair loss products like Regaine as the main active ingredient.
Minoxidil works to dilate the blood vessels in your scalp allowing a healthier and stronger blood flow to your hair follicles. What this does is then enrich your follicles with more oxygen and helps stimulate them into the growth phase of your hair cycle. It also prolongs your growth cycle, leading to the creation of new and stronger strands and a thicker-looking head of hair.5
While it doesn’t regrow hair from dead follicles, it does also help slow further hair loss. However, it can take up to six months to get visible results and if you stop using this treatment you will again start losing your hair.
Finasteride6 – often known by its brand name Propecia – is another popular medicine used to combat male pattern baldness. It’s taken as a tablet once a day and is clinically proven to partially limit the effects of DHT on your hair follicles. This then leads to stronger hair growth and the recovery and regrowth of hair from the follicles that were being weakened by DHT.
It can take up to a year for you to start seeing results with Finasteride,7 but it does have a better success rate than Minoxidil. However, much like Minoxidil, if you stop your treatment, you will again start to see hair loss. In addition, as this is specifically for combating male pattern baldness, it’s not a treatment that’s available for women.8
Natural DHT blockers and vitamins
There are some natural and herbal treatments that some believe can work as DHT blockers and deliver similar results to Minoxidil and Finasteride. One example is saw palmetto,9 an extract from the Floridian palm tree, which it is claimed can help prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT to reduce the amount you have in your body.10
However, there’s currently not a great deal of scientific evidence that this is the case or that natural remedies are an effective treatment.
There’s also a belief that taking vitamins and supplements such as iron, biotin and zinc can help nourish your follicles with extra nutrients and subsequently promote stronger, healthier hair growth.11
As a treatment for male pattern baldness, a hair transplant is probably the most radical procedure but has better results. However it often requires multiple surgeries and can be very expensive. There are two main options with this:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)12 – where a strip of skin (usually from the back of your head) with healthy follicles on it is grafted onto the areas of your scalp where you are balding.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)13 – where individual follicles are removed from your head from an area of healthy hair and then grafted one by one onto the parts of your scalp where they’re needed.
Following your chosen surgeries your newly transplanted hair may often fall out, before then growing back in your subsequent hair cycles. It can take between six months and a year for your ‘new’ hair to completely return.14
Find the right treatment with the Fagron TrichoTest™
Another way to help determine the right treatment for your hair loss is with the Fagron TrichoTest™. This test is a genetic test for hair loss that analyses your different gene variations and lifestyle factors, so that personalised hair loss treatments can be accurately recommended and passed on to your hair loss consultant, trichologist or advisor.