Men's Health

Common Reasons and Treatments for Baldness in Men

Male pattern baldness is one of the most common types of hair loss in men. Nearly 95% of men who complain about losing hair have this problem. Also known as inherited male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia, it is caused due to malfunctioning of male hormones and also due to genes.

The initial symptoms are quite evident; the hairline starts receding and the hair strands around the crown become thin. Over a period, this area becomes bald. A horseshoe pattern of hair remains above the ear, which circles to the lower back of the head. Usually, it takes about 15-20 years to this stage where there is complete hair loss. However, in some case, hair loss may occur rapidly within just 5 years. Here are the main causes for male pattern baldness:

1. Genetics

According to medical experts, a gene variation makes the hair follicles sensitive to a hormone known as DHT. This hormone is responsible for the development of male characteristics. With increased sensitivity, the hair follicles begin to shrink. This causes the new hair that is growing to be shorter, thinner, and finer. Also, the hair takes a longer time to grow back. Over time, the follicles become so small that no new hair growth takes place. Male pattern baldness usually starts after 30. But in some cases, the symptoms may start showing right after puberty. By the age of 50 years, almost half the men are affected by male pattern hair loss.

2. Alopecia

Rapid hair loss can also occur due to reasons other than male pattern baldness. Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is an autoimmune disease. It causes the hair to fall in smooth round patches. The hair fall is not permanent, unlike male pattern baldness. The hair usually grows back in most cases. However, another type of alopecia known as scarring alopecia has long-lasting effects. This rare disease causes permanent damage to the hair follicles. So, there is no new hair growth. There is no cure for scarring alopecia. However, alopecia areata and male pattern baldness are treatable.

Treatment for male pattern baldness largely depends on the cause. However, the following treatments have proven effective for alopecia areata and genetic-related male pattern baldness:

1. Steroids

Alopecia areata can be treated using steroids. These can be administered through injections or applied topically.

2. Scalp micropigmentation

Another treatment is scalp micropigmentation. This noninvasive treatment can also be used in the case of male pattern baldness. It is a permanent solution that works similar to how tattoos do. Ink is injected just beneath the skin of the scalp with tiny needles. This simulates the appearance of natural close-shaved hair follicles. It is a permanent solution for hair loss in men. Depending on the extent of hair loss and how thick a patient wants the hair to appear, the treatment is done across two-three sessions.

3. Hair transplantation

Hair transplant is, of course, another treatment for male pattern baldness. Using either FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) or FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) methods, hair follicles are transplanted in the crown area and along the hairline. However, it is not a viable option for alopecia areata or scarring alopecia. This is because hair transplant involves harvesting of hair follicles and then transplanting them. In case a damaged hair follicle is harvested (which can happen in alopecia areata or scarring alopecia), transplantation will not be successful.