Male Pattern Baldness: Understanding the Most Common Form of Hair Loss
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the most prevalent form of hair loss affecting up to 70% of men at some point in their lifetime. In this article, we will discuss how hair loss occurs, what male pattern baldness is, and how it can be treated.
Understanding How Hair Loss Occurs
Hair growth occurs in three stages: anagen (growth), catagen (transitional), and telogen (resting). During anagen, the hair shaft grows from the follicle, and this phase can last for several years. Afterward, during the catagen phase, the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the blood supply, which then leads to the telogen phase, where the hair falls out, and the cycle begins again.
Male Pattern Baldness
Androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss in men. It is caused by a genetic predisposition to be sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone. DHT shortens the anagen phase of the hair follicle and prolongs the telogen phase, causing follicular miniaturization.
Follicular miniaturization leads to thinner hair and eventually hair loss. The miniaturized hair follicles can remain alive for a few years, which means non-surgical treatments can slow or even reverse hair loss effects if applied early. Once the follicles become dormant, it is not possible to regrow the hair, and advanced surgical techniques will be required to restore hair to the scalp.
The Norwood Scale of Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness follows a predictable pattern, where hair loss begins at the temples and crown, leaving a "halo" of hair, which recedes until there is full baldness on the top and front of the head. Dr. O'Tar Norwood developed the Norwood Scale to identify the severity of male pattern baldness. The scale ranges from I to VII, with each stage indicating a different level of hair loss.
Treating Male Pattern Baldness
Hair loss can significantly affect men's confidence, self-esteem, and relationships. However, medication and surgical techniques today can successfully manage its effects. Non-surgical treatments can provide natural-looking hair for many years, while surgical procedures can provide permanent solutions.
The earliest stage of male pattern baldness suitable for treatment is stage III on the Norwood Scale when there is noticeable hair loss at the temples. However, modern techniques mean that great results can be achieved even when hair loss is much more advanced. The best candidates for hair transplant surgery are those who have stabilized their hair loss using medication such as finasteride or minoxidil.
Male pattern baldness is a common condition that can cause severe psychological consequences. Understanding how it occurs and the available treatment options is essential. Seeking treatment is normal, and modern techniques have proven to be effective in managing hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, contact a hair restoration expert to determine the best course of action.