Community by and for patients to share experiences and recommendations

Hair Loss Treatment for Men

Introduction To Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia is the most common condition of thinning hair amongst men worldwide.

Male pattern baldness can be identified by distinct patterns of thinning hair typically following what’s referred to as the Norwood-Hamilton scale of hair loss.

An early study found that nearly 30% of men show signs of baldness by age 35, while 50% show signs of thinning hair by the age of 55.

Loss of Hair typically begins when an individual is in their mid-30s however, thinning hair can start as early as the teenage years for some.

Male pattern baldness Male pattern baldness

How Do You Know If You’re Suffering From Male Pattern Baldness?

Everyone has woken up to hairs on their pillows or seen hairs going down their shower drain. But how many individuals are actually suffering from androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss)? Unfortunately, it is not always easy to distinguish the difference between normal hair shedding and hair loss. The two are not the same and can easily be confused, one for another. Battling hair loss should be done as soon as it has begun. Thus, we will be going over how to detect hair loss early.

Hair Loss is Genetic

Androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) is a genetic condition that is inherited from either the mother's or father's side of the family. There is a common misconception that hair loss is inherited solely through the mothers side of the family; this is not true. Individuals inherit genetic traits from both the mother and father's genes. Therefore, even if individuals on the mother's side of the family don’t experience hair loss, an individual can still inherit the genes from the father's side.

Generally, there is at least one person in a hair loss sufferer’s family that mirrors their hair loss. The pattern and age is usually very similar as well. Individuals who think they may be suffering from androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) should take a look at their family history as the family history usually provides answers

Keep Track With Pictures

In the beginning, hair loss can be very subtle and individuals may be under the impression that they received a bad haircut or that stress may be causing a temporary hair shed. While it is true that stress can cause a temporary hair shed, this is usually resolved within a few months once the stressful situation subsides. However, individuals who continue to lose hair and overall density for a prolonged period of time may be suffering from androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss).

Individuals are encouraged to take pictures of their hair daily, monthly and even yearly from various angles to compare and contrast recent pictures to older pictures. While this is not a fool proof, it is generally an easy way to find out whether or not the hair loss has continued or subsided. However, it is important to remember that hair loss may not always be visible to the naked eye.

Consult with a prescreened Recommended Hair Restoration Physicians

Last but certainly not least consult with a hair transplant surgeon or dermatologist. Unfortunately, hair loss may be so slow and subtle and may not be clearly visible, but that doesn't mean that hair loss is not occurring. Most hair loss doctors carry high magnification glasses and cameras that are able to visibly detect miniaturization at the microscopic level. Everyone has around 5-10% of the hairs on their head in the telogen (resting) phase at any given time. However, any amount over 25% is usually indicative of hair loss.

Additionally, physicians review the individual’s family history to determine if there is already a similar pattern of hair loss pre-existing. Age is also another factor that helps physicians determine if the hair loss is related to androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss). It is normal for everyone's hair to reduce in overall density over time and with age however, if this is occurring in young individuals, it is generally a sign of genetic hair loss.

Hair Loss - the effects are more than skin deep

In 2018, a study was published in The Korean Dermatological Association and The Korean Society for Investigative Dermatology. A population-based cross-sectional survey of 503 patients with genetic hair loss (329 men, 174 women) was taken and various demographic data was collected. This included a family history of genetic hair loss, history of past treatment, self-perception of hair loss and treatment willingness using structured questionnaires. The results were astounding.

The results showed 247 out of the 503 participants (49.1%) did not have a perception of hair loss and 262 out of 503 patients (52.1%) did not have treatment willingness in the future. The patients with a perception of hair loss, accurate information on hair loss and severe hair loss showed 1.745-fold, 1.700-fold, and 2.078-fold higher tendency of receiving treatment in the future.

The findings showed that patients with a perception of hair loss and a greater understanding of androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) tend to pursue treatment for hair loss. This study essentially showed how those who suffer from hair loss are willing to try treatments to stop their hair loss.

In 2017 a survey of just over 2,000 men, commissioned by Asda Pharmacy, showed the major psychological strain that men experienced when dealing with hair loss. The results of the survey showed that 35% of the men reported turning to drugs and alcohol as a result of their hair loss. Another 38% said they struggled with depression due to their male pattern baldness, while 39% claimed to experience a lowered libido (sex drive) due to their baldness. 1/3 of the men surveyed reported avoiding social activities because of hair loss, and almost 1/3 struggled with confidence issues. Lastly, 31% are already actively considering hair transplantation as a possible solution.

Male hair loss treatment

Male Pattern Baldness can be reversed with the right treatment plan

Losing your hair is tough. We know because we’ve lived with thinning hair and baldness. We’ve felt the depression of watching our hair literally go down the drain, of hiding under a cap and avoiding too much of life. We’ve been there.

But many of us involved with this online community have learned how to stop hair loss by using legitimate hair regrowth treatments for men and visiting the right hair restoration doctors. Now we’re here to help you navigate the maze of options and find a hair loss solution, product or treatment that works for you.

Step #1 to stopping hair loss

Get to know your enemy

To overcome hair loss you first need to understand the causes. Then you can move on to stopping and reversing it.

For the vast majority of men who are losing their hair (95 percent) their baldness is genetic. It has nothing to do with wearing tight caps or combing too much or too little.

How vulnerable we are to hair fall or not is largely pre-programmed into our genes before birth.

But our genetic fate can be altered by using an effective treatment like Propecia or hair restoration surgery.

How does hair loss occur?

The most common type of baldness is genetic. But what is the exact mechanism that triggers the male and female pattern balding gene? Hair follicles, as well as sebaceous glands contain a high level of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone in to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) through the blood stream. DHT is the main hormone responsible for causing androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) in both men and women.

Therefore, the main cause for androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) is an inherited gene from either the mother or father's side of the family however; the actual mechanism that triggers hair loss is hormonal.

Baldness is largely the result of certain hormones interacting over time with those hair follicles that are vulnerable to their effects.

For men who are experiencing thinning hair, their follicles on the top of the head are genetically vulnerable to baldness. Over time, these genetically vulnerable follicles are acted upon by the hormone DHT. This hormone binds with the receptor sites of these vulnerable follicles and causes a miniaturization of the hair shaft and follicle over time.

This process of hair loss gradually breaks down the follicles' ability to grow healthy, thick hair. The resulting baldness is commonly known as "Male Pattern Baldness"

Top 3 Treatments For Genetic Hair Loss

According to the rule of decades nearly 50% of all men experience some form hair loss by the age of 50 and an estimated 40% of all hair loss sufferers are women. However, most hair loss sufferers are fooled by catchy marketing phrases like "promote hair growth" and "all natural" don’t’ fall for these deceptive advertisements.

Rogaine (minoxidil)

Rogaine (minoxidil) was originally used to treat blood pressure in the 1980's however, it was later discovered that one of the drugs side effects included hair growth. As a result, Rogaine (minoxidil) was tested for use as a topical treatment for re-growing hair. The results were impressive enough for the FDA to approve Rogaine (minoxidil) as a treatment option for hair loss.

Rogaine (minoxidil) is one of the only proven hair loss medications approved by the FDA to treat androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss. In addition, Rogaine (minoxidil) is the only FDA approved treatment that will also work for female patterned hair loss.

Propecia (finasteride)

Initially, the drug company Merck manufactured the drug Proscar; the medication Proscar was a 5 mg tablet of Finasteride that was used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Patients taking Proscar for BPH began to notice their hair loss stopped and in some cases even reversed after taking the medication. As a result, in 1997 the FDA approved 1mg of Finasteride as a hair loss treatment and the drug company Merck would name the drug Propecia.

Currently, Propecia (finasteride) is the most effective drug on the market today with 66% of patients regrowing their hair after starting treatment and 83% of patients stopping their hair loss altogether. Unfortunately, women cannot take Propecia (finasteride), but Rogaine (minoxidil) is still an effective treatment for women.

Hair Restoration Surgery

We have all seen the pluggy "Barbie doll" and "corn row" hair transplants of the past. But today, most hair transplants go unnoticed because of the state of the art surgical techniques being used by the world’s best hair transplant surgeons. While treatments may regrow some hair and stop the progression of androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss), the only way to truly regrow hair on a completely bald part of the scalp is through a hair restoration surgery.

Hair transplant surgeons are now able to "dense pack" balding areas with as many as 40-60 follicular units per square centimeter and even more in some cases. To see how many follicular units it would take to restore your hair with hair transplant surgery, use our animated graft calculator

What are the Types of Hair Loss Common in Men?

There are many types of hair loss in men. Some of the common conditions are as below -

Video: Different Forms Of Hair Loss

Involutional alopecia

This is the most common type of baldness in men, where the hair starts to thin naturally with age. The majority of hair follicles go into resting phase while remaining hair becomes short. Involutional alopecia is an overall thinning of the scalp that occurs with age, as more and more hairs enter the telogen (resting) phase. The hair’s life cycle become shorter and shorter, giving an appearance of thinning or balding.

Causes: There are three phases to a hair follicles life cycle. The anagen (growth) phase, catagen (transitional) phase, and telogen (resting) phase. When a significant of hairs enters the telogen (resting) phase all at once the scalp will appear thinner and less dense.

Symptoms: There are no symptoms of involutional alopecia, other than the visual appearance of thinning. This form of alopecia is age-related and occurs in older people.

Treatments: There is no real treatment for involutional alopecia, but some may benefit from using Rogaine (minoxidil) a topical vasodilator that has been shown to extend the anagen (growth) phase of a hair follicles life cycle.

Androgenic alopecia

It is a genetic condition that is characterized by the gradual disappearance of the hairline from the frontal scalp and/or the crown as early as teen age.

Causes: Both men and women produce testosterone. Hair follicles, as well as sebaceous glands, contain high levels of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase.This enzyme converts testosterone in to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) via the blood. DHT is the main catalyst for androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss in both men and women.

Over time, genetically susceptible follicles are weakened by DHT. This hormone binds with the receptor sites of these vulnerable follicles and causes the hair follicles to shrink over time until they no longer grow.

Symptoms: There is no physical ailment associated with genetic hair loss, but some hair loss sufferers complain of scalp inflammation and itching. The first sign of hair loss typically appear in the hairline and gradually extend in to the crown (vertex).

However, the degree of thinning and hair loss may differ from person to person and some individuals do not lose any hair besides minor temple recession, while others go completely bald on top.

Treatments: There are millions of lotions, potions and pills that are so-called treatments for androgenic alopecia. However, the vast majority of these products are bogus and do not work. Truthfully, there are only two medications that have been approved by the FDA to stop the progression of genetic hair loss: Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil). However, hair loss sufferers have been combining Nizoral - Aketoconazole shampoo, which is an anti-fungal shampoo used to treat dandruff.

There have been some clinical studies that have shown that Nizoral may be somewhat effective in treating hair loss. The combination of finasteride, minoxidil and Nizoral is often referred to as the “big 3”. That said, the only way to truly regrow hair on a bald scalp is through hair transplant surgery.

This type of hair loss is caused by inflammatory skin conditions such as folliculitis, cellulitis, and acne etc that destroys the ability of hair to regenerate.

Types of male baldness Types of male baldness

Scarring Alopecias

Scarring alopecia’s look are often confused as alopecia areata or traction alopecia however, the bald patches appear more ragged and the hair loss is gradual.

Causes: This type of hair loss is caused by dissecting cellulitis, eosinophilic pustular folliculitis, follicular degeneration syndrome (previously called "hot comb" alopecia), folliculitis decalvans, lichen planopilaris, as well as other inflammatory skin conditions.

Symptoms: Some suffering from scarring alopecia may have smooth and clean affected area. However, some may suffer from redness, scaling, increased or decreased pigmentation, or puss-filled blisters. Many complain of inflammation, itching, and burning. However, the pain usually goes away.

Treatments: Scarring alopecia’s can be treated with corticosteroids, topical ointments, as well as antimalarial and isotretinoin drugs. In severe cases, patients may be eligible for hair transplant surgery once the condition has been treated and stabilized.

Alopecia areata

This type of hair loss starts suddenly in children and young adults and may result in complete baldness. The hair returns within a few years in the majority of people. Total loss of hair due to this condition is often referred to as Alopecia Universalis or Alopecia Totalis.

Causes: The specific cause for alopecia areata is unknown;however it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that causes the body's immune system to attack its own follicles. A biopsy of the affected skin may show immune lymphocytes (white cells) in the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata has been associated with other underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Therefore, it is important to rule out any underlying medical causes first.

Symptoms: The most obvious and common symptom of alopecia areata is one or more spots of baldness on the scalp, each spot about the size of a quarter. In rare cases larger areas of the scalp will have thinning otherwise known as diffuse alopecia areata. In extreme cases, all of the hair follicles on the head will thin and bald as a result of the condition called alopecia totalis.

Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia areata and current treatments, while somewhat effective, offer limited success. The current treatments for alopecia areata include; steroid injections, topical corticosteroids, topical immunotherapy, Rogaine (minoxidil) and ultra violet therapy.

In most cases, even without treatment the hair follicles regrow on their own. In rare instances, the hair loss may be permanent. Hair transplant surgery may be an option to restore hair to the bald area. However, there's no guarantee that new bald patches will appear in the transplanted area sometime later down the road.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium or shock loss is a form of short-term hair loss that generally occurs after stress, trauma or a surgical procedure. This temporary hair loss is predominantly contained on the top of the scalp.

Causes

*Intense stress: Individuals who experience stress for a prolonged period of time can often succumb to telogen effluvium or shock loss.

*Vitamin deficiencies: A poor diet can also contribute to telogen effluvium. In fact, the body requires key nutrients to produce hair such as protein, iron, B-vitamins and zinc.

*Surgical trauma: Hair restoration surgery can often lead to telogen effluvium or shock loss. Surgical trauma occurs because hairs are implanted in close proximity to surrounding native hairs. This causes to trauma to the surrounding follicles which in turn causes telogen effluvium (shock loss).

Symptoms: Telogen effluvium is described as a chronic hair shedding for an extended period of time lasting up to 6 months. Individuals suffering from telogen effluvium notice a diffused thinning spanning across their entire scalp.

Treatment: Generally, telogen effluvium is a temporary condition which resolves on its own. However, certain medical conditions including autoimmune diseases and thyroid conditions can cause telogen effluvium. Therefore, it is important to speak to a medical professional to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA)

Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA) is a type of androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss. Unlike typical male pattern and female pattern hair loss Diffused Patterned Alopecia does not follow the Norwood scale or Ludwig scale. Diffused patterned alopecia is categorized as a diffused thinning over the entire scalp.

Causes: Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA) can be difficult to diagnose especially in its early stages and is often misdiagnosed as Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA). While both conditions are characterized as diffused thinning, DUPA sufferers lack the stable permanent zone necessary for surgical hair restoration.

Dermatologists and hair restoration surgeons are able to diagnose DPA by comparing the top, sides, and back of the scalp by using high magnification instruments that can detect miniaturized follicles. If the top of the scalp contains miniaturization and the sides and back of the scalp do not, then the surgeon is able to ascertain whether or not the patient is suffering from DPA or DUPA.

Symptoms: Diffused patterned alopecia (DPA) is a form of genetic hair loss, thus there are no physical symptoms that occur. However, the sudden onset of a massive hair shed can be associated with DPA. This occurs because all of the hairs on the top of the scalp are being affected by DHT and thus, the hair follicles anagen (growth) phase is being shortened.

Treatment: Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA) responds well to medical hair loss treatments like Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) both medications are approved by the FDA as genetic hair loss treatments. Both hair loss drugs work synergistically together and both can stop the progression of hair loss and even regrow hair in some patients. Surgical hair restoration is also an option for many men and even women with DPA.  

Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA)

DUPA is a form of genetic hair loss that can affect any part of the scalp. DUPA can affect both men and women and the hair loss is generally sporadic with no clear pattern. 

CausesDiffused Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA) is a subtype of androgenic alopecia.  Both men and women produce Testosterone which converts in to Dihydrotestosterone the main catalyst for genetic hair loss. Hair follicles, as well as the sebaceous glands, contain high levels of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into DHT, via the blood. The difference between male pattern and female pattern hair loss is that DUPA does not follow any pattern. Therefore, the back and sides of the scalp may be susceptible to thinning.

Symptoms: The most common symptom of Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA) is a diffuse thinning over the entire scalp. Unlike Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA), DUPA lacks the stable permanent zone associated with other forms of alopecia. DUPA is defined as a general decrease in the density of hair without any definite pattern.

Treatment: As a subtype of androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA) is typically treated with the same medications as Diffused Patterned Alopecia (DPA). There are currently two FDA approved medications that prevent and slow the progression of androgenic alopecia otherwise known as genetic hair loss, the medications are Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil).

Both medications have been proven to stop and even regrow hair in some patients suffering from genetic hair loss.  Hair restoration is typically not an option for DUPA sufferers as there is no stable area of the scalp where hair doesn't thin out or bald.

Primary Causes of Hair Loss in Men

Hereditary

The primary cause of male pattern baldness is genetics or a family history of hair loss. The genetics may affect the hair follicles negatively, making them shrink so much that no hair grows.

Hormonal changes

Male pattern baldness can be associated with ‘Androgens’, the male sex hormones that tend to play an important role in regulating the growth of hair.

Chronic conditions

Baldness in men is sometimes associated with chronic conditions such as cancer, scalp infections, stress, anabolic steroids, thyroid etc.

We offer ways for you to learn from and correspond with actual patients:

  1. Visit our popular Hair Restoration Discussion Forum and learn about hair loss treatment results and patient reviewed hair loss physicians.

  2. Consult with Patients and Qualified Hair Restoration Physicians.

    View patient Hair Loss Weblogs that document their recovery with photos and a blog journal. These hair transplant patients have volunteered to share their story and are often willing to correspond by email.

  3. Visit our Hair Loss Q & A Blog and post your hair loss question or read dozens of posts on a wide range of hair restoration topics.

How We Can Help You in Hair Loss Treatment and Prevention?

If you have noticed unusual hair loss, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our physicians.

Male pattern baldness treatment and prevention

We're here to help you reverse your hair loss

Our popular hair loss discussion forum hosts thousands of posts by men and women who have stopped hair loss. Many of them still visit our forum to share advice and offer support. It’s all about sharing credible hair loss information and acting on it.

Find a prescreened hair restoration surgeon in your area.

Learn how hair restoration surgery can restore your hair for a life time.

Hair loss can be beaten!

Hair loss remedies have advanced dramatically over the past ten years. Today drugs like Propecia and Rogaine can slow or even stop hair loss, while hair transplants can restore hair that was lost.

Current hair transplants are so natural that even a hair stylist can’t tell.

Our recommended hair transplant surgeons are highly qualified, experienced and use start-of art equipment and cutting-edge technologies for the best clinical outcome.

Each hair restoration surgeon recommended on the Hair Transplant Network are committed to providing 100% safe treatment options for individuals suffering from different types of hair loss and offer customized treatments that fit into your budget.

Consult for free with one of our prescreened hair restoration physicians and find the best possible solution for your hair loss problem.