Are you looking for the truth behind hair loss in men? Androgenic alopecia (commonly known as male pattern baldness) is the most common form of pattern hair loss and balding in men. Approximately 90% of occurring hair loss is characterized as pattern hair loss, and approximately 40 million men in the United States alone deal with male pattern baldness.
Hair loss may start as early as the patient’s 20s, and by age 50 around fifty percent of men have experienced some form of male pattern hair loss. It can be characterized as mild, moderate, to severe hair loss. Symptoms are generally recognized as gradual thinning of hair on the scalp which turns into bald areas or a receding hairline in the middle portion of the scalp.
There’s a lot of misinformation when it comes to hair loss, so today we are going to dispel some of the myths and uncover the truth behind hair loss in men.
What Actually Causes Hair Loss in Men?
Some people believe that shampooing, hats, and hair products can be the catalyst for male pattern hair loss, but that’s actually not the truth. The real reasons for hair loss can be summed up into three categories: genetics, hormones, and age. While these aren’t the only reasons, they are the most common ones.
The most common cause of hair loss, heredity pattern baldness is acquired from both sides of your genes: your mother and your father. Many people believe that you get your hair gene from one side of your parents, but that’s not the truth. Both parents pass on genes that directly affect hair growth, patterns, and loss. While genetics do play a large role, hair loss is often a combination of genetics, aging, and hormone levels.
Men that suffer from pattern hair loss generally have other family members that deal with similar patterns of hair loss. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a father and son pair to have the same pattern of balding. Having a family member with androgenic alopecia puts the other family members at a higher risk for dealing with it as well.
Proper hormone levels are such a delicate balance, and as the human body ages, hormone levels fluctuate. Androgens, such as testosterone, are sex hormones that contribute to male characteristics. Dihydrotestosterone is derived from testosterone, and about ten percent of testosterone is converted to DHT with the assistance of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR).
Males diagnosed with male pattern baldness often have higher levels of 5AR in their frontal hair follicles. Hair within follicles generally goes through a growth cycle of two to six years. As you cut the hair, the follicle continues to grow the hair strand to produce longer hair. The hair follicle enters what is referred to as a resting phase at the end of the life cycle, and the hair falls out a few months later, and the cycle starts again. When men have higher levels of DHT, it can cause hair follicles to shrink and even shorten the life cycle of the hair follicle.
While it’s not the most common, men as young as 15-17 years of age can be affected by androgenic alopecia. Hair loss is more common among Caucasian men, with African American men being less likely to suffer with male pattern baldness. By age 30, about 30% of Caucasian men exhibited signs of male pattern hair loss, 50% by age 50, and 80% by age 70.
Less Common Causes of Hair Loss
Some less common causes of hair loss can be due to emotional or physical stress, such as medical conditions, surgery or severe illness; autoimmune conditions; and medications. Some skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can cause a temporary or even permanent loss of hair. Discussing the cause of your hair loss with a professional can be instrumental in developing a treatment plan.
Prevalent Hair Loss Patterns
There are many different hair loss patterns, but some of the most common include bitemporal recession, vertex baldness, frontal baldness, and full baldness. Bitemporal recession occurs where the hair loss looks to be in an “M” pattern and the hair loss occurs at the temples. Vertex baldness presents as the crown of the head losing hair, developing a large bald spot in the middle. Frontal baldness has hair loss at the front of the scalp and a receding hairline. Full baldness generally has all hair from the top, crown, and back missing with hair still appearing on both sides of the scalp above the ears.
Hair Regrowth is Possible
Hair loss treatments are available to help correct the pattern of hair loss. While treatments generally aren’t effective at regrowing hair at a receding hairline, there are promising options for the hair regrowth on the crown area of the head. If you’re dealing with male pattern hair loss, schedule an appointment today to discuss your options. Don’t wait a minute longer!