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 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.

leena solimanleena soliman
06:19 17 May 23
Came here when I had some issues and they were able to help massively! They are not like other claimed trichologist that want to scare you and take your money, they are backed up with their qualification and experience. Reasonably priced consultation, treatment and products!
zoe Innzoe Inn
17:24 15 Feb 23
From my first consultation, I knew this was the right place for my hair.Teresa and Eleanore are very caring. The treatments are also very relaxing and my hair adores their products!
19:01 01 Dec 22
Thank you so much Fulham scalp and hair clinic for restoring the health of my scalp and my hair.Straight talking, no nonsense, friendly and professional advice and if you follow it you’ll see results.They really know their stuff and I highly recommend.
Nico PopNico Pop
18:42 13 Jan 22
Booked the initial appointment as I have damaged hair due to bleaching and I had an itchy scalp on a very small region at the back of the scalp. As a healthcare professional myself I did not expect the trichologist to have a magic wand and cure me in one session. 3 appointments ( almost 3 months) in and buying all products recommended (7 of them - the calming scalp cream is missing in the picture) , my scalp became extremely flaky and itchy to an extent that It kept me awake at night. When informed the trichologist my experience, the only recommendation was to trial the Cade oil shampoo... which caused me further discomfort and irritation.I had to stop using all their products as I couldn't stand the itchiness and inflammation anymore (although used the cade oil shampoo several times). Who would've thought that going to a trichologist you will end up with and super irritated and itchy scalp?!Very disappointed with the overall experience, I felt the focus was mainly on selling their products, booking for treatments and not necessarily helping me with my concerns, especially that the professional did not have any concers re my condition, 400£ later I ended up booking an app with the Dr in order to solve the issues caused by their products.
03:56 06 Jun 19
I really hated my experience at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic and I would not recommend it at all. The reason why I visited was because I had concerns about changes I saw in my hair, particularly the amount of hair I was losing at the sides (edges).I booked an appointment which comprised of a consultation + 1st treatment. I had the consultation with the owners daughter who asked me about my hair routine, health, products and also took a sample of my hair to look at underneath a microscope. During the consultation the main points she explained to me were that blow drying my hair was bad, the hair needed to be washed more often and hair grease and oils were very bad for my hair despite the fact I have been using them my whole life and I had a good amount of hair. After the consultation she then washed it with their own branded hair products, steamed it did some light therapy and then braided it. She then told me that I would have to come back at some point for a trim and that her mother (the owner) was the only one that could do it. At the end she gave me some basic instructions about using the hair products, and I also purchased some of their products.A few days using their products I experienced a very high level of dryness to my scalp even though I was using A LOT of products everyday my hair would be extremely dry after a couple of hours. When I called them about it the receptionist answered and said the clinic was really busy and that I should try and use coconut oil despite not even being a qualified trichologist, and the trichologist warning that oils were bad for the hair! At my next appointment for the trim I was treated by the owner, she made remarks about how dry my hair was (even though I was following the instructions and using ONLY their products), and how as a black person I should be proud of my hair and wear more natural hair styles, and throw away the blow dryer. She washed my hair and then trimmed it! Which I had never heard of in my life especially with afro hair because it can shrivel up to virtually nothing so when you cut even what seems like the tiniest bit it is actually a lot, but she insisted that it was the "correct" way. During the trim I found it really humiliating and embarrassing because in the styling room I was sat next to another lady who was also having her hair treated and I just really hated every moment of the owner trimming my hair and also lecturing me in it's damaged state like that. Over the course of 3 months following the instructions, steaming my hair everyday, and washing it once a week and using the products my hair just got worse and also breaking, knotty,shedding, weaker, thinner, and shorter than it was originally at my first consultation. I was really upset, especially as when I contacted them about my concerns they kept saying my hair was just "adapting".I eventually discontinued their advice and products,It didn't happen overnight but my hair eventually gradually got back to how it used to be, by doing the "bad" things such as blow drying, using greases and oils and washing it less often. I feel that Fulham Scalp & Hair clinic are not very knowledgeable in a wide variety of hair types particularly Afro hair. They preach and say blow drying, greases and oils, weaves,wigs and not washing your hair often are bad for the health of your hair yet there are thousands of videos on YouTube which contradict these "theories". I feel they cater more to people with looser hair types and not coarser hair types, the products they sell are also very expensive especially as they do not even contain a lot in them mostly comprise of menthol and water. They also seem to care more about their old customers and do not even ask for feedback from new customers, are really hypocritical of your hair choices even though they wear their hair pin straight. Don't waste your money here, if you are having hair problems think closer to, lifestyle change, stress etcI wasted almost £300 here with no results, think carefully before visiting this clinic, do your own research first!!!
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