Male Pattern Baldness - Causes, Treatments, and Solutions
70% of adult males will experience some degree of balding, or androgenic alopecia, in their lifetime. Advanced male pattern baldness, meanwhile, will affect well over 50% of adult males. The condition is so common that doctors view some degree of hair loss as normal in adult males. Just remember: male pattern baldness will not stop once it begins.
Causes of Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness depends on three factors: age, a genetic predisposition, and male hormones. This hair loss begins early as the teenage years and gradually worsens with time. Hair loss primarily begins when testosterone converts to another male hormone, 5-DHT, in the hair follicles. This leads to follicles producing vellus hair instead of terminal hair, what laymen consider "real hair."
Some men find that hair on the front and top of their scalps' hair miniaturizes (becomes finer and does not grow as long) over the years. This is also a cause of 5-DHT. Eventually, such hair will completely disappear and leave a bald pattern behind.
Figure 1-2. The incidence of cosmetically significant male pattern hair loss (types III, IV, V, VI, and VII) increases steadily with age -we represent it by the solid line. The incidence of hair loss at the dotted line, similarly, characterizes the remaining horseshoe fringe of hair in types V, VI, and VII. Progression of hair loss can take its time but near all suffers will follow a similar pattern as the Norwood Scale.
Figure 1-3. Hair slowly miniaturizes during male pattern baldness. Aging follicles become progressively thinner and more brittle. Each growth cycle sees strands become finer and unable to grow as long. Eventually, such hair disappears.
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of thinning and baldness. However, it is not the only cause. Patients considering hair restoration should also know the reason for their hair loss. Misestimating the cause can lead to disappointment or complications if pursuing treatment. Most people can guess if they are dealing with male pattern baldness -its progress can be quite distinct. Visiting a dermatologist or hair restoration specialist makes sense if unsure about the cause of your hair loss.
Other Forms of Male Hair Loss and Hair Restoration
Alopecia areata is a fairly common form of hair loss where strands fall out in small, coin-sized spots anywhere on the scalp. Severe forms rarely progress to complete hair loss. This is a medical problem rather than a surgical problem. Hair restoration transplants should never be an option unless the condition is stable for many years. Even then, hair transplants will likely fall out if hair loss reactivates.
Various primary dermatologic diseases can also affect the scalp, leading to hair loss due to scar formation. Celiac disease and ringworm are two common examples. Treatment aims at medical control of the disease. Transplants are possible for scarred areas. However, it depends on the condition. If the disease returns then patients could lose their transplanted hair.
Rarely, patients will actually pull out their own hair. Trichotillomania is a disorder where the patient pathologically pulls out their hair. In adults, it is usually due to psychological or psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, or psychosis. Such damage is treatable via transplants. Just remember that it is possible for patients to relapse and begin pulling out the hair again.
There are a number of take-home treatments that help control hair loss. In fact, such treatments can even restore hair in balding or thinning areas. Results vary person to person but recent advancements are helping to ensure recent options better guarantee results.
- Finasteride (Propecia) - An oral treatment that blocks DHT, a hair loss causing androgen.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine) - A topical shampoo that, most experts believe, increases blood circulation to the scalp to combat hair loss.
- Topical finasteride - A new delivery method that localizes finasteride intake, bringing superior results without any reports, thus far, of side effects.
- Methyl vanillate (WNT Act) -A take-home, leave-in topical treatment, WNT Act uses all-natural ingredients, most particularly methyl vanillate, to increase hair density by 7% and hair diameter by 10%.
The effectiveness of finasteride and minoxidil both vary. The former stops hair loss in 8 out of 10 males. Many males also enjoy an increase in hair thickness and growth. Topical minoxidil, meanwhile, is less likely to stifle hair loss but works for a majority of males. Both are common recommendations by hair restoration specialists, including Dr. Cole and Forhair.
WNT Act, on the other hand, is special. The first topical hair restoration treatment equally effective for males and females, WNT Act is also compatible with finasteride and minoxidil. This means that males also using traditional hair loss treatments and WNT Act stand to enjoy a 20%+ increase in hair density.
Outpatient Solutions Continue to Expand
Hair restoration has primarily aided males for the past 80 years. Instead of favoritism, however, past advances in hair restoration looked to help the majority of people who suffer from hair loss. More likely to experience hair loss, males also deal with the ailment at a younger age. Most significant, perhaps, is that most physicians in the field of hair restoration are also male.
Dr. Cole and Forhair are looking to right this dichotomy through mentorship and research. However, near all advances in the field derive from studies on male volunteers. New emphasis on several techniques and methods, at Dr. Cole's and similarly minded specialists' insistence and contribution, are assuring that results happen for both male and female patients. New hair transplant techniques and cellular treatments, or procedures that encourage follicular generation and activity, are the main equalizers. Developments include:
- Minimum invasiveness -Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®), leaves stem cell remnants to help donor areas regenerate follicles.
- ACell -An extracellular matrix that improves scalp health, ACell injections both minimize scars and encourage 30% to 40% follicular regeneration in donor areas if stem cell remnants are available.
- CRP -Six to eight times more potent than Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP) leads to a faster growing, thicker hair.
- Follicular Stem Cell Suspensions -The newest method available, Follicular Stem Cell Infusions increase hair growth and diameter while also increasing hair count. The latter is particularly significant, as Follicular Stem Cell Infusions are the first method available that increase hair count without a hair transplantation.
- Topical finasteride -A new development, topical finasteride is showing exceptional results without any reports of side effects
Each option, standalone, is worthwhile. Combining these new methods and techniques particularly improve results. An old Indigenous American proverb states that one stick breaks while numerous sticks remain strong. The same is true for new advancements in hair restoration.
Follicular stem cell remnants in donor areas from CIT®, for instance, regenerate with the application of ACell. Put simply, such injections increase overall yield. 1,000 single grafts, as an example, lead to between 300 and 400 new strands of hair in addition to the 1,000 grafts. CRP injections encourage these grafts to grow faster and thicker. Patients, on average, enjoy 99% growth after four and half months rather than 100% growth after a year The combination of ACell+ CRP, meanwhile, ensures injections need only happen bi-annually or annually rather than once a once a month or season, as is the case of CRP or PRP without ACell. Additionally, new treatments like Stem Cell Suspensions further encourage hair growth and thickness while also increasing hair count.
Other options also exist. Body Hair Transplants (BHT) particularly favors males. This method uses body hair follicles as donor spots for hair transplantation. Coarser than head hair, we typically use body follicles to fill out the crown. Head follicles, meanwhile, we use to create a convincing hairline. BHT is typically the last resort for when a patient's scalp has too little follicles in scalp-based donor spots. A developing method only for those with advanced hair loss, BHT helps ensure anyone can enjoy at least a somewhat thicker head of hair.
Conclusion: Forhair Has Plenty of Solutions for Male Pattern Baldness
Males have the advantage in terms of hair restoration. Near all treatments or procedures are contingent on the patient being male. That reality is changing but Forhair understands the nuances of hair restoration. One of the only clinics to offer procedures and treatments that serve both sexes, Forhair particularly excels restoring hair for males. Schedule an online consultation today to find out how our clinics can help you stop hair loss and further restore your hair.