Male alopecia or hair loss is more common than most people think. It is estimated that globally around 85% of men will experience hair loss in their lifetime. Furthermore, while both females and males lose their hair as they age, it is more prevalent in the latter. Studies reveal that men are twice more likely to experience hair loss than women.
What’s the Leading Cause of Male Alopecia?
The top cause of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia (AGA). Also called male pattern baldness (MPB), androgenetic alopecia accounts for 95% of hair loss in men. Its onset can happen as early as the teenage years, but it usually begins when men hit their 20s. AGA also affects women; it is popularly called female pattern baldness. Unlike in women, AGA in men usually leads to balding.
Genetics plays a crucial role in androgenetic alopecia. Those who have close relatives who have this hair loss condition are at a higher risk. Aside from heredity, other factors can also increase one’s likelihood of experiencing male pattern baldness. These include taking certain medications, poor nutrition, prolonged exposure to high levels of stress, and smoking, amongst others. For those who are genetically predisposed to have AGA, these factors can trigger the early onset of or exacerbate their condition.
What causes androgenetic alopecia? Scientific findings suggest that some hair follicles are sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The gene for this specific type of follicle is what AGA sufferers inherit from their parents. Over time, these follicles miniaturised or shrink, resulting in shorter and finer hair strands. The life span of the follicles shortens and eventually, they stop producing new strands.
In this condition, the hair loss happens gradually which is why most men do not notice the problem early on. In fact, AGA sufferers only become aware of it after they have lost 50% of their hair. It also progresses with age. Hence, those who start suffering from male pattern alopecia in their teens tend to lose more hair.
In androgenetic alopecia, the hair loss happens in a predictable pattern. The hair loss usually begins on the temple or the crown area. When it starts in the temple, it results in a receding hairline that eventually produces an M-shaped pattern. As the hairline continues to recede, it may lead to a U-shaped pattern and may progress further until most of the hair is gone. Meanwhile, when it starts on the crown, the hair loss happens around the whorl and moves outwards. Consequently, this produces a bald spot.
Other Causes of Male Alopecia
Aside from androgenetic alopecia, other causes of male alopecia include diseases like thyroid problem, nutritional deficiency, stress, scalp infections, tight hairstyles and excessive use of hairstyling products. Hair loss may also happen as a reaction to certain medications and medical procedures. It can also be due to an autoimmune disorder like alopecia areata. Unlike in AGA, hair loss due to these factors, except for alopecia areata, are not permanent.
What Are the Treatments for Male Alopecia?
Experiencing alopecia can be very devastating for men. A study showed that 62% of men admitted that suffering from hair loss would drastically affect their self-esteem. Fortunately, there are treatments available to reverse the problem or prevent the hair loss from worsening rapidly.
The cause of the hair loss needs to be identified first before any treatment can be administered. For an accurate diagnosis to be made, a qualified professional like a dermatologist is going to examine the scalp and hair. She is also going to study the pattern of the hair loss. A blood test may be requested to find out if an underlying medical condition is triggering the alopecia.
Once a diagnosis is made, the hair loss consultant is going to create a treatment plan. For androgenetic alopecia, medications that block the production of DHT and promote hair regrowth are prescribed. As mentioned earlier, AGA is a permanent condition that cannot be cured. The medications are mainly meant to slow down its progression.
Supplements and lifestyle changes may also be recommended, especially for certain types of alopecia. Meanwhile, for cases involving hair loss at an advanced stage, hair restoration surgery is an option sufferers can explore.
Hair loss in men, especially androgenetic alopecia, cannot be avoided, but it can be successfully treated if it is caught early. If you are worried about losing your hair or going bald, see a trusted hair loss expert right away.
Looking for male alopecia treatments? Call us at (0)1 6793618 to know what you can do to have a full head of hair once again!