What is male pattern hair loss?

General Hair Loss

The most common type of hair loss in men is male pattern hair loss. It is a genetic condition which concerns the male sex hormones and the genes. It is a distinct pattern in the way hair is lost from the head. It starts with the hair thinning at the front and receding until an ‘M’ shape forms.

Eventually the hair becomes thinner and shorter until the hair is very fine and eventually stops growing. In the end the bald patch becomes larger leaving hair around the sides and back of the head. This gives the hair a horseshoe pattern.

There are medications that are available to help prevent this, principally minoxidil and finasteride.

Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. The solution is massaged into the scalp on a daily basis and it has been successful for some men, however results are inconsistent and the product is expensive. Finasteride is taken daily in the form of a pill (most commonly known as Propecia) which helps to prevent the production of the male hormone that causes the baldness. This has also been successful in slowing down hair loss and has a higher success rate than minoxidil, however it does not work for the majority of men and can cause some very undesirable side effects.

Male pattern hair loss is easy to diagnose because it is a constant pattern no matter who the person is. Other forms of hair loss, however, are not always as easy. If hair starts to fall out for no apparent reason it is advisable to consult a doctor or hair specialist. There are a number of reasons why hair can be lost and not all are permanent. Illness and medication is a common reason for hair to thin or fall out. Once the illness has gone and medication is no longer required the hair will start to grow back. In some cases hair can be lost for up to three months after the illness.

There are self-help treatments such as a good healthy diet so the vitamins and nutrients the hair needs to grow reach the hair follicles. Massaging the scalp will help to invigorate and stimulate the scalp improving the circulation. Unfortunately, for male pattern baldness until research finds the exact ways in which to reverse the genes and hormones causing the condition, hair loss cannot be stopped.

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