Male Pattern Baldness

A Type of Age-Related Hair Loss > age related diseases > male-pattern baldness

Male Pattern Hair Loss in Men

Male pattern baldness is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone, which makes the hair follicles to shrink and the hair to fall out

Male pattern baldness affects millions of men. Adults lose over 10,000 hairs from their scalp on a daily basis and this hair is not always replaced. With male pattern baldness this continues until gradually parts of the scalp become bald. This can happen quickly or may take a number of years and the age in which the man starts to lose his hair has no impact on at what age he will become totally bald, if at all.

As we have seen above there are a number of reasons why men lose their hair, but the most common reasons for males between the age of 20 to 45 to start to lose scalp hair is male pattern baldness. In fact this will be the reason in 95 per cent of cases. As the term suggests, male pattern baldness follows a typical sequence or pattern. Hair loss can start in different areas but is usually at the temples and/or on the crown of the head. Initial thinning of hair progresses over a number of years and may lead to total baldness but more typically loss of hair over the top surface of the head.

The Cause of Male Pattern Baldness

Most men are genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss. It is the effect of hormones on the hair follicle that produces male pattern baldness. Testosterone, a hormone that is present in high levels in males after puberty, is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT has an adverse affect on the hair follicles. Acting on a hormone receptor on the hair follicle it slows down hair production and produces weak, shorter hair, sometimes it stops hair growth from the follicle completely. This process gradually depletes your stock of hair and is normal hair loss.

Baldness in Men is Often Considered Attractive

While it can be very distressing for a man to lose his hair, many young people nowadays have made a fashion of the bald scalp, including singers and actors. Perhaps these men have managed to turn something negative into a positive. However, there are many women who find bald men very attractive.

A bald head is considered by almost every woman I know as vastly more attractive than the attempts which some men go to to pull their remaining strands of thinning hair across the bald areas to disguise the fact they are going bald. It doesn't work and neither does the wearing of cheap, ill-fitting toupees. Baldness is often seen as attractive in males and young men often shave their heads - Yul Brynner was one of the trendsetters Permanent hair loss is considered normal in males and there are even people who claim that bald men make better lovers.

It is also considered attractive, judging by the number of men who shave their heads as a fashion statement, and indeed a lot of men do look attractive to certain women with this “hair” style. However, society is more severe in their judgement of women and what is or not feminine and acceptable.

One of the first men who gave the concept of balding a positive reputation was Yul Brynner, who starred in the King and I among other successful films. Another successful and attractive actor who became bald in later life was Albert Finney. Many enjoyed his portrait of Daddy Warbucks in the film Annie, and considered him as attractive in an older way as he was at the beginning of his acting career.

Male Pattern Baldness also Effects Women

Although it has been seen to be a strictly male disease, male pattern baldness can also affect some women as they age.

The condition is also known as Androgenic alopecia , and as in men, is believed to be caused by a derivative of the male sex hormone, testosterone called DHT that attacks the hair follicles. women can also develop male pattern baldness, which unfortunately causes psychological distress and lack of self esteem Women have far less testosterone, but even a small amount can cause hair loss.

Even though women have only small amounts of testosterone, the loss of female hormones after menopause can upset the hormonal balance, leading to several problems, including hair loss.

A blood test can show hormone levels in your blood, which will give you a diagnosis, but for the moment if this condition runs in the family, there is no way of preventing this form of alopecia.

Although men occasionally take the loss of their hair very badly, this condition is much more distressing for women as they know that their hair is considered as part of their femininity. In fact in many cultures women are not encouraged to cut their hair, as this is not accepted as feminine behaviour. Even in developed countries, men will ask their wives and girlfriends not to cut their hair.

Hair loss in women is not given enough attention by researchers and health professionals do not always seem to sympathetic to a condition which is a blow to women’s self image and esteem. However, there does appear to be a slow realisation in the medical profession, that the emotional damage caused by feeling unattractive because of hair loss can be just as devastating to a woman’s well-being as many more serious illnesses.

A Word of Advice

N.B. If you are suffering from hair loss, please consult a dermatologist or a hair specialist at your local hospital or ask for a referral by your family doctor. The sooner the better as you may continue to lose hair without treatment.

For further information on hair loss treatments and hair restoration for both men and women please visit the Med Md website by copying and pasting this link into your browser:-

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