Can Male Pattern Baldness Be Reversed?
Male pattern baldness derives its name from the pattern formed by hair loss in men. Male pattern hair loss is a genetic disorder where the affected individual inherits a pattern of distribution of hair that is sensitive to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the metabolite of the male hormone testosterone. The DHT acts on the follicles in the inherited pattern to shorten the growth phase of these follicles. Eventually, the hair is so affected that it becomes so fine it is not visible to the naked eye. This is the bald state. The severity of which is graded by the Norwood Scale.
Can Male Pattern Baldness be Reversed? Male pattern baldness has no cure, but hair loss may be temporary where the hair eventually grows back. For men who have experienced hair loss, treatments like finasteride and minoxidil can help stop hair loss and, in rare cases, stimulate hair regrowth. But, you should be aware that hair loss resumes when you cease treatment.
Symptoms of Male Hair Loss
Hair loss in men starts with a receding hairline followed by thinning hair on the temples and crown until the bald patches converge. Baldness in men is a common occurrence, and most men experience hair loss to some degree before they reach 60 years. Others experience it much earlier in their 20s and 30s.
Symptoms and signs of hair loss include:
- Rapid loosening of hair. An emotional or physical shock can make your hair loose. You'll notice handfuls of hair when washing or combing the hair. This type of hair loss typically causes general hair thinning, although it is temporary.
- Gradual hair thinning. This is a common form of hair loss that affects people as they get older. The condition starts with a receding hairline on the forehead in men.
- Patchy or circular bald spots. This is where hair is lost in patchy or circular bald spots on the eyebrows, beard, or scalp. The skin may become painful or itchy before the hair falls out.
- Scale patches all over the scalp. This is an indication of ringworms. It can be accompanied by swelling, redness, broken hair, and oozing.
- Full-body hair loss. Some medical treatments, such as chemotherapy used to treat cancer, can make the patient lose hair throughout the body. When medical treatments bring about hair loss, it usually grows back after the treatment.
How Long Does Male Pattern Baldness Take?
If you have started to go bald, do not expect to experience significant changes overnight. Baldness occurs over decades, and it slowly becomes visible through hairline thinning and receding hairline over time. The rate of your hair loss will depend on how your body reacts to DHT levels. There is no fixed amount of time to go bald.
Hair Loss Treatment for Men
Although it isn't easy to reverse hair loss, the sooner you act on it, the higher probability of seeing good results. Whereas it's not guaranteed, you can slow down or stop hair loss through the proven solutions outlined below.
- Use Minoxidil Going by the brand name Rogaine, Minoxidil is an over-the-counter foam or liquid applied twice daily to the scalp. It promotes blood flow to hair follicles to invigorate hair regrowth. Minoxidil works best on men under 40 and less than five years of hair loss. If the hair loss has been on for longer or has spread to the scalp's larger area, this treatment may not work.
- Take Finasteride Sold under the brand name Propecia, Finasteride is a popular prescription drug to help in treating baldness. The medicine decreases DHT, a hormone that impacts hair follicles and promotes hair loss. Studies reveal that about 80% of men taking finasteride witness improvement in hair loss. But, it's essential to note that finasteride can cause sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive. Pregnant women and children should not take this drug. Finasteride and minoxidil work well together for some types of hair loss instead of using one on its own. You should continuously use the medication for consistent results, but when you stop, the hair regrowth can reverse, and your hair loss will continue from where it left off.
- Use Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Device It may sound like science fiction to hold a laser wand to the head to regrow it, but scientists say it works. LLLT is an effective way of treating hair loss, and the FDA approves it. The devices emit a continuous red light, and they are available as a wand that you point at your scalp or in the form of a wearable cap like the LasarCap LCPRO. Researchers opine that LLLT can trigger stem cells on hair follicles to promote hair growth.
- Get Sufficient Minerals and Vitamins Many nutritional and vitamin supplements claim to make hair shinier, thicker or regrow. However, there is little tangible evidence that most supplements and vitamins help hair loss, but there are two distinct exceptions. If you have an iron or vitamin D deficiency, dietary supplements can improve your condition. This is particularly the case for certain types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and male pattern baldness. The body naturally produces vitamin D when you expose yourself to the sun. You can also obtain it from foods, such as eggs and milk. However, most people do not receive sufficient vitamin D. When you start noticing thinning hair, have a healthcare provider check your vitamin D levels. Iron is a mineral obtained from foods such as spinach and red meat. Having an iron deficiency can make you anemic, so have your iron levels checked if you have thinning hair.
- Hair Thickening Shampoo Ketoconazole or saw palmetto shampoos guarantee a healthy and clean scalp to promote hair growth. But, these shampoos are not as effective as finasteride or minoxidil. Researchers believe that if ketoconazole is combined with other forms of hair loss treatments such as finasteride, the combination can disrupt the damaging effects of DHT on hair follicles.
- Stress Reduction Stress impacts your health in numerous ways. It can make your hair fall out, make you ill, and zap your energy. So, stress can significantly contribute to thinning hair, although this is usually temporary, and the hair may eventually grow back. If you try any of the treatments above and do not see improvement, you can try a hair transplant.
- Hair Loss and Restoration Services There are multiple restorative procedures available such as FUT and FUE to name just a few. View a complete list of Hair Restoration services to see what may be a good fit for you and your unique situation.
How to Prevent Hair LossSadly, there is no proven way to avoid going bald completely. Genetics, which you cannot change, is among the common causes of male pattern baldness and age-related hair loss. But, adopting a healthy hair schedule and generally taking care of your health can help you avoid worsening the condition. Maintaining healthy hair styling and care habits can prevent male pattern baldness.
- Avoid using hair products with bleach or harsh chemicals
- Avoid using high heat dryers
- Do not over-brush your hair
- Avoid tight ponytails and braids
Seek Medical AdviceIf you are concerned about hair loss, you can schedule a free online consultation with Dr. Arocha. All initial appointments can be completed via a video call.