It may be common, but this fact doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

Yes, male pattern baldness will affect 50% of all men worldwide by the age of 50. If you fall within this demographic then we’re sure that you want to understand exactly what it is, and what causes male pattern baldness.

More importantly, you’ll want to understand what treatments are available to combat – or at least delay – its onset.

Let’s explore this further.

What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is a genetic condition that affects the growth cycle of hair follicles.

Healthline offers details on our hair growth cycle as it occurs in three phases:

  • Anagen (growth) phase. The hair begins to grow from the root. This phase usually lasts between three and seven years.
  • Catagen (transitional) phase. The growth slows down and the follicle shrinks in this phase. This lasts between two and four months.
  • Telogen (resting) phase. The old hair falls out and new hair begins to grow from the same hair follicle. This lasts between three and four months.

Over time, hormonal changes impair the growth and development of new hair, the hair strands grow slower and finer, and eventually, the follicle stops producing hair altogether. This process can start as early as the teen years in some men, but most will see the greatest effect as they move into their 40s.

Why Does Male Pattern Baldness Affect Some Men and Not Others?

While there are several reasons for men to lose their hair, male pattern baldness is recognised as hereditary. If your family members have lost their hair early in life, then it’s likely that you carry the same genes that will affect your hair growth.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen, a male hormone that gives men distinctive features such as a deeper voice, higher body mass, and body hair. However, while higher levels of DHT in men contribute to more armpit, facial or body hair, it tends to inhibit hair growth on specific areas of the scalp that are genetically sensitive to it. DHT attaches to the androgen receptors within these sensitive hair follicles and slows their growth; shortening the growth phase and increasing the resting phase until the follicle stops producing completely.

WebMD confirms this, saying, “Scientists think the gene may affect how sensitive your hair follicles are to a hormone called DHT, which makes them shrink”

Each hair grows thinner and slower on each cycle, but because individual hair follicles are in different phases at any given time, the overall process is gradual.

How to Recognise It

Unlike other causes of hair loss such as alopecia areata which result in sudden, random hair loss, male pattern baldness occurs in a distinct pattern. Hair loss begins with thinning hair at the temples and crown. The hairline is gradually pushed back away from the face and outwards from the crown of the head.

This pattern was documented and referenced in the Norwood-Hamilton scale, depicting the most common progress of male pattern baldness.


Norwood-Hamilton scale of partial hair growth in men

Norwood-Hamilton Scale

male pattern baldness

What Exacerbates Male Pattern Baldness?

There’s not too much we can do about the genetic hand we’ve been dealt, but there are steps that we can take to delay the resulting hair loss.

Researchers point out that male-pattern baldness is also related to lifestyle issues. External factors have a bearing on hair loss, hormone levels, and overall health. These include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Increased levels of estrogen from antibiotics or certain illnesses
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

While maintaining great health and overall wellness won’t guarantee that you dodge the genetic bullet completely, it will certainly work in your favour to keep what you have for longer.

Treatment Options

There is no cure for male pattern baldness, but there are treatment options to explore.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical treatment applied to the scalp which has been shown to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth. As with any treatment, there are potential side effects, but these vary from person to person and should be discussed with your doctor or trichologist.

Non-medical treatments

  • Hair camouflage products include shampoos, mousses, or concealers. These can boost the appearance of hair density on a short-term and non-permanent basis.
  • Hair fibres that bulk up the hair for temporary, natural-looking thickness and can provide incredible confidence during events.
  • Scalp micropigmentation provides a natural replication of the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp to reduce the visibility of the scalp in a semi-permanent way.

Hair transplants

Surgery is the final and most successful option for reducing the appearance of male pattern baldness but also comes at the greatest cost.

During a transplant, non-sensitive follicles are taken from unaffected areas of the scalp (usually the back of the head) and implanted into the scalp areas that are most sparse. These transplanted follicles are not genetically affected by DHT and therefore continue to grow.

Transplants should be done with a qualified and registered surgeon and it is important that they are confident and experienced in working with your particular hair type before proceeding with them. The right surgeon can deliver incredible results on a suitable patient. You can find out if you are suitable with us.

A healthy diet also plays a role in balancing hormones and affects your overall health for the better. It’s especially important to eat foods high in B vitamins if you are experiencing hair loss.

Foods rich in B vitamins include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Eggs

Foods with zinc can also help reduce hair loss, as zinc is an essential nutrient that supports healthy testosterone levels. In addition to red meat and pork, beans and whole grains are good sources of zinc.

In Summary

For many of us, hair loss is an unpleasant yet inevitable part of life. That doesn’t mean, though, that we must just accept it – especially if we feel it is important to seek treatment.

Getting the correct diagnosis and understanding the causes of male pattern baldness is the first step to finding the best route to inhibiting its progress while paying close attention to our overall health.

If you would like to talk to a qualified trichologist to answer some of your questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch. We’ll be happy to assist.

Whitney Koranteng
Whitney Koranteng
2024-05-25
Hi came across Fulham and scalp through a talk they did. My hair was in desperate need as it was dry with patches. I had a consultation and I found out that along with my dry hair I had traction alopecia due to back to back braiding styles along with CCA due to PCOS. The consultation was amazing. I did not realised how inflamed my scalp was due to hair practices but my lifestyle. I was recommended treatment in the clinic and a treatment to take home. I have been coming back for the past 8 months to receive treatment and trims and I have seen such an improvement in my hair. They have helped me with having a consistent hair routine. I would highly recommend as I was losing hair foicles and had no reason why.
J M
J M
2024-05-16
Trichologist’s Teresa and Eleanore are absolutely lovely, friendly and approachable. Super lucky to have found this Clinic, especially one that specialises in my Afro hair. I’ve taken on all the advice that they’ve given me and my hair has been improving in under 2 months. Naturally, I am feeling 100% confident with my hair. I’m still going on the journey. Their products are absolutely stimulating, and my hair loves it! Ashley is a star. The GREATEST compliments cannot even define the magic these ladies have worked so hard to help me accomplish. Thank you!🌟 Looking forward to my next appointment.✨
Swiss Note
Swiss Note
2024-05-15
Unbelievable place, Magical, I’m so thankful for YOU “Hair & Scalp clinics” work‼️‼️ The treatments you can purchase have worked wonders daily, weekly or monthly use depending on preference, what you can offer, scheduling. It has been so beneficial for me, I can’t lie I came into this unassuming and sceptical as I had scalp issue all my life now it’s all CLEAR UP FROM ME. THANKs to this amazing family run Afro all sorts of hair treated establishments
Ifẹ A
Ifẹ A
2024-05-04
This place has genuinely changed my life! I went from relying on the daily use of wigs to finally being able to understand and appreciate my natural coils. I would never have been able to wear my natural hair out a year ago (mostly due to the fact that I had so many bald spots and basically no hairline!) so I am shocked daily at how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. If you decide to visit, please do listen to the advice of these wonderful experts, it really does work! I’ve also realised how much we over complicate black hair, healthy black hair is actually super simple to achieve. Thank you everyone at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic! Each day I wear my hair out, I’m appreciative of the day I discovered this wonderful place!
Beth L
Beth L
2024-04-08
I’ve been getting desperate with my 4C hair situation, so I’m so glad I found this clinic. Eleanore and Ashley were so accommodating and nice! I learned a lot of new things. Now, my hair has improved a LOT after following Eleanore's advice. Highly recommend.
Judith Worrell
Judith Worrell
2024-04-03
I feel and look confident after my treatment and trim from Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic and recommend anyone struggling with traction alopecia to confront the issue and contact the clinic as I did I have no regrets just new hair growth and a great look.
Courteney
Courteney
2024-01-12
Booked a consultation and the information I received was life changing. Didn't realise how badly I was maintaining my hair. Since getting my hair treated and trimmed, I have been given a healthy hair routine that has given me confidence and happiness. For anyone thinking about it definitely do it. Your not just paying for the treatment but also the knowledge. Customer service and attention to detail was 5*
Cabir TOPO
Cabir TOPO
2024-01-09
Sonia
Sonia
2024-01-02
My hair was damaged from keratin treatments. After doing some research I found this place online. I was nervous about contacting them for fear of judgement and blame. In May 2022 I got in touch. Even before I arrived the receptionist really reassured me and was very kind. Eleanor did my consultation. Her and Teresa are professional, empathetic, warm, supportive and knowledgeable. I didn't really know how to look after natural hair. However this has revolutionised things for me. My hairs unrecognisable to before. Its grown a lot and is the healthiest it's ever been. I'm so glad I found this place. I attend regularly for treatments. I can't recommend this place enough!!
Nadine McKenzie
Nadine McKenzie
2023-12-29
I became a patient of the Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic two years ago on the advice of my dermatologist who suggested that I find a trichologist. One of the reasons for choosing this clinic was due to their extensive knowledge of differing medical conditions that cause issues with scalps and hair. I was made to feel so welcome and after an examination of my scalp, hair and lifestyle a proper treatment plan was started. I am so pleased about the progress I have made, how my scalp inflammation has decreased and how I have been taught to take care of my scalp and hair. I still regularly have my scalp examined and receive treatment in order to ensure that no flare ups on my scalp recur. I am thrilled that my dermatologist recommended that I see a trichologist and I am glad that I chose Teresa and Eleanor due to their expertise, care and genuine interest and pride in seeing their patients' progression.

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