What is male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. It is estimated to affect some 50% of the male population by the time they reach their fifties and 80% of those in their seventies. In some men, male pattern baldness can start immediately after puberty.
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What are the symptoms of male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness can manifest in one of two ways:
A man’s hairline starts to recede and a bald patch forms at the top of his head. This bald patch expands to meet the receding hairline leaving hair to the sides and back. The remaining rim of hair may last a long while afterwards but will eventually thin out and disappear.
Alternatively a man’s hair will start to thin at the crown and/or throughout the scalp, including the sides and back.
What causes male pattern balding?
Male pattern balding is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. For balding to occur, specific genes need to be inherited from either the mother or the father. Where the active genes are present, normal healthy hair growth and regrowth are disrupted by chemical changes in the body.
Testosterone, a hormone produced by both men and women is converted todihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT attaches itself to the hair follicles and causes them to shrink. This means that each hair that grows from the follicle is thinner than the previous one and the hair grows for less time before falling out. Over time the follicle shrinks so much that there is only a thin tip of hair left that no longer grows out to the skin surface.
Is there a cure for male pattern baldness?
The prevention of baldness and the achievement of regrowth on a partially bald head is possible with the right treatment.
Men are advised to start treatment as soon as they notice the first signs of hair loss. This will ensure the best possible results can be achieved using safe and natural treatment methods. In some cases hair regrowth will be experienced and in others treatment will prevent further hair thinning.
Fully bald men, or in cases where the response to treatment is poor, can explore other forms of hair replacement. These include hair weaving, wigs and hair transplant surgery. Other men accept their hair loss as a natural part of the ageing process and choose to undertake no treatment.
Does pattern balding hair loss also affect women?
Female pattern hair loss affects approximately one in four women and works in a similar way to male pattern balding. The main difference is that it spreads more slowly in women, due to the lower levels of testosterone in a woman’s body. Balding is less common in women than men due to the higher levels of oestrogen. Due to this, both of a woman’s parents must carry the hair loss gene in order for the problem to be activated.
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