- 25% of men who experience male pattern baldness begin the process by age 21
- By the age of 35, 2/3 of all men experience significantly thinning hair
- Male pattern baldness is inherited
What causes hair loss in men?
In men, testosterone gets converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Once formed, the DHT can bind to receptors on certain hair follicles. The follicles that have receptors for DHT are those in the area where thinning is noted. Since the follicles on the sides and back of the head usually lack these receptors, the hair found here remains healthy. The number of follicles with DHT receptors, along with their locations, is genetically determined which results in greater hair loss for some men and less for others. By binding to these receptors, DHT results in shortening the lifespan for the affected follicles. The once robust hair becomes finer and finer as the follicle prematurely ages until it finally stops growing hair all together. The medication finasteride (Propecia) works by irreversibly binding to the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and significantly decreasing the production of DHT. With less DHT in the system, there’s less of it to bind to the follicles, resulting in diminished hair loss.
Although androgenic alopecia is by far the most common reason for hair loss in men, responsible for 95% of hair loss cases, there are other factors that contribute to thinning hair. Medications, stress, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency, scarring alopecia, and alopecia areata are a few other causes that may result in thinning hair. As the name indicates, MPB occurs in predictable patterns and can usually be diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of hair loss along with a detailed medical history; no further testing is usually required. If another reason for hair loss is suspected, blood tests or a skin biopsy may aid in determining the diagnosis.
What treatment options are available?
Once a diagnosis is determined, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to help minimize future loss and help restore density. Just as there are multiple causes for hair loss, there are multiple avenues of treatment, all of which are offered here at Look Natural Hair Restoration. Hair transplant procedures might be an option whereby follicles are moved from one part of the scalp to another. This can be accomplished by removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head (FUT) of by removing the follicles individually (FUE). If the condition isn’t amenable to a transplant or in conjunction with a transplant, another option is low level laser therapy (LLLT). With LLLT, certain wavelengths of light are used to stimulate growth from the follicles. Since LLLT is a “cold laser”, there are no side effects and no discomfort. Other treatment plans might include topical agents such as Minoxidil or DHT blockers. Vitamins might also be recommended to encourage growth and maintain the health of growing follicles.