Fighting Back Against Male Pattern Baldness
Getting old means a few things: your joints may start to ache, your hair may start to grey and the wrinkles in your face will begin to deepen. Unfortunately, for millions of men, getting old also means suffering from male pattern baldness.
If your hairline has started to recede or your bald spot continues to grow, don’t lose hope. At Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center, we understand male pattern baldness at its core and offer all of the newest advancements in hair loss to help you fight back. We will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan and help you understand this all-too-common side effect of aging. Male pattern baldness may take away your hair, but it does not have to take away your self-confidence as well.
What Exactly Is Male Pattern Baldness?Male pattern baldness is a form of hair loss that typically occurs later in life but may begin as early as your 20s. Male pattern baldness is more accurately referred to as androgenetic alopecia among those in the hair loss community, due to the pivotal role androgens play in this common form of alopecia.
For most men, male pattern baldness begins with the hairline around the temples gradually receding. The hair located at the crown of the head will also start to thin, eventually creating a bald spot near the very top of the scalp. As the hairline continues to recede, it may meet up with the growing bald spot to create baldness that spans the entire top of the scalp. Every man experiences hair loss differently, however, and you may find that while your hair thins, you never actually go completely bald.
What Causes Age-Related Hair Loss?According to the US National Library of Medicine, male pattern baldness affects over 50 percent of men over the age of 50. With age-related hair loss targeting such a significant portion of the male population, much research has been devoted toward understanding its cause and developing a cure. While hair loss experts have made great advancements over the last couple of decades, large gaps still exist in our understanding of this wide-reaching and frustrating affliction.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen present in both men and women, has been identified as the key factor in causing the death of hair follicles. DHT gradually chokes out follicular units on the scalp, causing them to grow thinner and more brittle hair at a slower rate. This process—called miniaturization—occurs at a different pace for every man and eventually results in complete death of the follicles.
Unfortunately, why exactly follicles become more sensitive to DHT later in life and what we can do to stop it has not been uncovered. For now, the only known way to identify potential future hair loss is to examine your family history of male pattern baldness. The traits for hair loss are passed down by both parents, so having close family members with thinning hair or baldness on either side of your family is a pretty good indicator that you are at a higher risk of losing your hair later in life.
How Can I Prevent It?The main modern treatment methods focus on inhibiting the effects of DHT, targeting hair follicles with vital nutrients and growth factors, or transplanting healthy follicles to thinning areas of the scalp. The FDA has approved two drugs for use in preventing hair loss: minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil, found in Rogaine foam, slows the miniaturization process to help patients maintain their hair as long as possible. Finasteride, found in the oral medication Propecia, works to blocks much of DHT’s harmful effects and rejuvenate aging follicles. Both medications are an essential part of any hair restoration plan and show best results when used together.
Finally, if your hair loss has progressed beyond the point of medication or nonsurgical treatments, hair transplantation surgery can be used for complete restoration. Hair transplants are more effective today than ever before, creating results that appear completely natural. More men are turning to hair transplants due to advancements in the procedure that no longer produce telltale and embarrassing signs of surgery. Any scars are easily hidden by surrounding hair growth and real hair is taken from other areas of the scalp, meaning the transplanted hair looks the same and can be washed and styled as normal.