Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss for men. The hair is miniaturised by the effect that the hormone dihydro-testosterone (DHT) has on the follicle.

Baldness in men occurs when the follicle shrinks over time due to testosterone, the male sex hormone, being converted into DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.

Symptoms:

  • The hairline gradually recedes to form an “M” shape.
  • The existing hair may become finer and shorter.
  • The hair at the crown also begins to thin.
  • Eventually the top of the hairline meets the thinned crown, leaving a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides of the head.

There are 7 stages to MPB known as the Norwood Chart:

MALE PATTERN BALDNESS

Are you finding that your hair is becoming thinner with age? Perhaps you look in the mirror and notice a distinct pattern of hair loss day by day. If so, you may be experiencing male pattern baldness, which is the most common type of hair loss among men. In fact, approximately 50% of men in Australia will experience male pattern baldness. Here, we will discuss its causes and possible treatments in detail.

What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is a progressive loss of hair in men that occurs in a specific pattern.  Although pattern baldness is more common in men than women, women can also experience hair loss or thinning. Among women, it is mostly characterised by the thinning of hair, while with men, it can be recognised by a receding hairline.

Hair loss can occur due to multiple reasons and doctors differentiate pattern baldness from other types by examining the pattern. It begins most commonly in adult men, but teenagers can also be at risk. The chances of experiencing pattern baldness increase with age.

Stages of Pattern Baldness

Doctors use the Norwood Scale to determine the pattern and severity of hair loss. According to this scale, pattern baldness can be categorised into seven stages.

Stage 1

No noticeable features of hair loss can be seen.

Stage 2

You can spot a receding hairline around the temples. This recessive hairline is also known as a mature hairline.

Stage 3

You can clearly observe the signs of pattern baldness. The hairline recedes excessively around the temples and looks like an M, V, or U shape. You can notice bald spots at the temples, which are completely empty or scarcely covered with hair.

Stage 3 isn’t always accompanied by a receding hairline; sometimes, the hairline remains normal while the top of the head is thinning. 

Stage 4

You can notice both a receding hairline and a large bald spot on the top of the scalp. These two areas of hair loss remain separated from each other by a band of hair.

Stage 5

This is a more severe form of stage 4. The bald spots continue to grow but are still separated by a band of hair that is thinner and narrower than before.

Stage 6

The bald spots on the temple become one with the bald spot on the vertex. The band of hair that connected both areas disappears.

Stage 7

This is the final and most severe stage of male pattern baldness. Every area of the head is bald except a thin band of hair on each side. Sometimes, the bald spot on the vertex doesn’t develop and hair loss progresses with a receding line from front to back.

What causes male pattern baldness?

According to many studies, male pattern baldness occurs from hormonal changes that come with age. Pattern baldness is hereditary and is also known as androgenic alopecia. People who are genetically prone to pattern baldness are more sensitive to the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on certain areas of the scalp.

DHT shortens the life of the hair growth cycle from a normal 3-6 year duration to a span of months or even weeks. DHT also causes the miniaturisation of hair follicles, which is another term for thinning of hair.

Throughout your life, hair undergoes a growth and degradation cycle. The phase of growth called the anagen phase lasts about 2 to 6 years; during this phase, hair keeps growing and follicles are thick and deep-rooted. About 90% of hair follicles are in this phase at any given time.

The degradation phase is called the catagen phase, which is characterised by a span of one or two weeks. It is a transitional phase and during this phase, the hair growth stops completely. About 3% of hair follicles are in this phase at any given time.

This is followed by a resting phase called the telogen phase, where complete club hairs are formed. It can last for up to one hundred days. After this phase, hair detaches from the skin, and this phase is known as exogen. Next, new hair starts growing in the place of the fallen ones.

DHT shortens this hair life cycle and with time, the follicles keep shrinking. The hair becomes thinner and thinner until hair can no longer grow on the affected area.

An enzyme called 5-alpha- reductase converts testosterone into DHT. DHT plays an important role in the sexual development of males. It is responsible for the growth of body hair, development of genitalia, and maintenance of normal sexual functions.

Solutions for male hair loss

CREATIVE HAIRSTYLES

If you go to a talented barber, they can give you a haircut to conceal any bald spots. They can style your hair in a way that will hide the thinning areas and make your head look full.

HAIRPIECES

A lot of people wear wigs to hide their hair loss. There is a large variety of hairpieces in the market based on colour, length, texture, and volume. You can choose a wig compatible with your face, head, and, natural hair so that it gives a more seamless look.

FINASTERIDE

If you are planning on pursuing a medicinal treatment for your pattern baldness, you may consider finasteride as one of the options. Finasteride is taken orally and there is no topical alternative for it for obvious reasons.

Finasteride inhibits 5- alpha-hydroxylase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. The inhibition of the enzyme results in decreased levels of DHT in the body, as the reaction has been stopped.

Less DHT can result in a reduction in hair loss. However, since DHT is an important hormone for the normal functioning of the body, a decrease in its levels can result in side effects. You should always consult your doctor before starting finasteride.

MINOXIDIL

Minoxidil is a topical medicine that has been used for the treatment of hair loss. Physiologically, it is a vasodilator, which means it opens up the vessels and increases the blood flow to the body. The increased blood flow might be a cause of decreased hair loss.

Minoxidil can shorten the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle and increase the synthesis of DNA in hair follicles, which causes rapid growth of hair. Minoxidil is usually used topically, which means it is applied directly on the surface of the scalp.

PLATELET-RICH PLASMA

Platelets boost healing and platelet-rich plasma is medically used for this purpose. The same procedure can heal the scalp and prevent hair loss. The doctor draws blood from your vein and puts it into a centrifuge machine. With the aid of this machine, platelet-rich plasma is separated from the rest of the blood.

DUTASTERIDE

Dutasteride is also a 5-alpha-hydroxylase inhibitor, but its efficacy is more than that of finasteride.

It reduces the level of DHT with 90% efficacy while finasteride does it with 70% efficacy. Dutasteride is not FDA-approved yet.

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)

Scalp Micropigmentation is not a medical cure, but a non-surgical cosmetic technique used to conceal hair loss or thinning. During Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) sessions, an SMP practitioner injects microdots of pigments onto the scalp using a specialised electric needle. The pigmented dots are precisely matched to your natural hair colour, mimicking the appearance of hair follicles and blending in with the original hair. The result creates the appearance of hair follicles that help thicken and restore the look of fuller hair.

An SMP practitioner uses different kinds of needles based on the texture and thickness of your scalp. Different people have different complexions, so more than one colour is used to make the operated area look more natural. When completed by a skilled practitioner, SMP can restore receded hairlines, thicken remaining hair, camouflage scalp scarring and create the look of close-cropped hair.

Scalp Micropigmentation typically requires between two to four sessions, with sessions lasting anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. There is a break of a couple of weeds between sessions to allow the pigment to fully settle. The results are long-lasting however touch-ups may be required in 3 to 5 years.

There is some post-treatment aftercare following your treatment and avoid direct sun, swimming pools, steam baths, and saunas whilst the SMP is healing for the best results. After the completion of the treatment, it is advisable to use suitable scalp protection when out in the sun.

Upgrade Your Look at Foli Sim

Hair loss is a natural process and often comes with age. There are many techniques on offer that can address hair loss with varying degrees of efficacy and reliability. If you are looking for a non-surgical and non-invasive solution with reliable results, Scalp Micropigmentation ticks all these boxes. Foli Sim is Australia’s leading provider of SMP, with highly trained team members in three studio locations. Visit their website to book an initial free consultation with one of their SMP artists and discuss your suitability for this hair loss treatment.

Follicular hair transplantation (FUT)

With today’s state-of-the-art techniques, hair transplants now mimic hair growth patterns and natural hairlines, making them virtually undetectable.

Hair Transplantation is a permanent solution to male hair loss. The transplanted hair is not affected by DHT, meaning it will not fall out once it has been transplanted.

Under local anaesthesia, a strip of donor tissue is taken from the back of the head. The follicular units are then prepared for transplant, and the recipient sites for the donor hair will be prepared for transplant. Once transplanted, the hair will grow just as your own hair from the harvested area.