Male hair loss, otherwise known as Androgenic Alopecia or male pattern baldness, is caused by the effect of the male hormones, called androgens, on genetically predisposed hair follicles (passed down the family tree). For those who are prone to hair loss, within these genetically programmed hair follicles the male hormone ‘testosterone’ is converted into the androgen ‘Dihydrotestosterone’, or ‘DHT’, by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It is the effect of this DHT that inhibits the growth of new hair cells, which in turn leads to thinning hair and hair loss in men. In many cases, this will eventually result in complete baldness.
Most men experience at least some degree of thinning hair and hair loss in their lifetime, with the numbers increasing continuously with age. By their late 20′s, approximately 12% of men experience some hair loss. By the time a man is in his 50′s, he has a greater than 50% chance of displaying some genetic baldness. See the chart at the bottom of the page for a view of how the incidence of male pattern baldness increases with a person’s age.
The psychological effects of hair loss in men vary greatly, with some people barely paying attention to their thinning hair, while others being affected so severely that even a small amount of hair loss can limit their ability to feel comfortable in social situations and prevent their normal functioning at work. It is important that those who are having unusual difficulty dealing with their hair loss receive support or counselling as well as hair loss treatment.
Causes of Hair Loss in Men
By far the most common cause of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as “male pattern hair loss” or “common” baldness. It is caused by the effects of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on genetically susceptible scalp hair follicles. DHT causes male hair loss by shortening the growth, or anagen, phase of the hair cycle, causing miniaturisation (decreased size) of the hair follicles and producing progressively shorter, finer hairs until they eventually disappear.
Classification of Male Pattern Baldness
The Norwood classification, published in 1975 by Dr. O’tar Norwood, is the most widely used classification for hair loss in men. It defines two major patterns and several less common types of hair loss. In the regular Norwood pattern, two areas of hair loss, the frontal hairline recession and the thinning crown, gradually enlarge and coalesce until the entire front, top and crown (vertex) of the scalp are bald.
Diagnosis of Male Hair Loss
The diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia in men is generally straightforward. It is made by observing a “patterned” distribution of hair loss and confirmed by observing the presence of miniaturised hair in the areas of thinning.
Treatment for Hair Loss in Men
There are a number of both medical and natural treatments that can postpone male hair loss or reverse it in its early stages. Hair loss treatments have improved dramatically over the years, particularly with the introduction of laser therapy and other products such as topical scalp treatments.
Hair Regrowth Australia's hair loss treatment products for male hair loss have two main purposes; 1. to block the DHT hormone (the cause of male hair loss) from reaching and destroying vulnerable hair follicles, 2. to stimulate and increase the blood circulation that is crucially needed to feed and nurture the existing hair follicles that are prone to the effects of male hair loss. Without a good blood circulation the hair follicles will gradually shrink and die.