Male Hair Loss – All You Need To Know
Although there are a number of hair loss conditions that can affect men, the most common is Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). Other names for this condition are androgenetic alopecia and genetic hair loss. This page will concentrate primarily on this condition but will also make reference to the less widespread hair loss conditions that could be affecting you, with links to more informative pages.
Male Pattern Baldness – What is it?
Male Pattern Baldness is a genetic condition that can be passed down from either side of the family tree. So if your Father has a perfectly thick head of hair, don’t think you are definitely safe (although you could be!). It is a condition caused by a by-product of testosterone named Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT attaches to the hair follicles and causes them to shrink over time, which causes the hair to become thinner and thinner until some men become totally bald on the top of the head.
How do I know if I’m losing my hair?
This is a very good question, and although the answer might seem obvious, many men do not identify their hair loss until it has become fairly advanced, which could be too late to achieve a full recovery. The reasons men do not identify their own hair loss are usually down to simple denial, or because the process is very slow and it is something that they simply might not notice. At the opposite end of the scale, many men worry about hair loss when they have no reason to worry.
The best ways to know if you are losing your hair are:
- noticing the appearance of thinning hair or a receding hairline yourself
- other people informing you that you are losing your hair (you may not notice yourself)
- excessive hair on your pillow, the shower bed or in the bath plug, or on your hands when styling your hair in the morning.
How can I identify Male Pattern Baldness?
MPB is in fact easy to identify even for somebody with no clinical experience as it only affects hair on the top of the scalp and not the sides, causing a horseshoe-shaped pattern of hair loss. There are a number of different common patterns of hair loss – a receding hairline, a thinning crown, or general thinning spread over the top area of the head. You can read more about these below. MPB never affects the sides or back of the hair.
Treating Male Pattern Baldness
There are a number of options available for treating Male Pattern Baldness, including clinically proven medications, laser devices and hair restoration surgery.
There are also numerous products out there that have no clinical efficacy, so it is easy to waste time and money whilst your hair continues to shed. It is therefore very important that you carry out the necessary research before deciding how you are going to treat your hair loss.
The good news is that unless you have lost all or most of your hair, there is a solution out there for you, whether it be a medical solution, a surgical one, or a combination of the two.
Our comprehensive hair loss treatment guide walks you through all the most effective options available for treating hair loss and also gives you an in-depth look at the products that may not be worth using.
If I do not seek treatment will I eventually be bald?
This depends on a number of factors. Firstly, the condition causing your hair loss – if you have a temporary hair loss condition (which is unusual in men) then the answer may be no. Please refer to our list of other hair loss conditions below if your problem doesn’t appear to be MPB.
Assuming your condition is Male Pattern Baldness, the extent of your eventual hair loss really depends. Those men who have a very early or aggressive onset of MPB are more likely to lose their hair more extensively or at a faster rate, which could result in baldness at an early age. We see men who begin to lose their hair at 18 years old (or sometimes earlier). These men will of course be the ones most likely to reach eventual baldness, sometimes at a fairly early age (mid-twenties). Whereas some men only begin to see signs of thinning in their mid-to-late twenties, or even later. These men are much less likely to experience eventual baldness and may just have thin hair by the time they reach old age.
So the easiest way to tell if you could eventually lose all of your hair is to take note of when the onset of your hair loss began, and how aggressively or quickly your hair is thinning.
Using the right combination of clinically proven treatments should at the very least halt your hair loss, but will usually promote some degree of regrowth or thickening of the hair, whether it be moderate or dense regrowth.
When is the best time to seek a solution for my hair loss?
The simple answer to this is as early as possible. We advise that as soon as you begin to notice increased amounts of hair shedding, you should seek advice from a specialist. Male Pattern Hair Loss is a chronic condition that will progress if no action is taken. The more hair that is lost, the less chance your hair will have of making a full recovery, which is why Belgravia specialists always advise using a course of treatment before the condition progresses.
Is treatment likely to grow all my hair back?
Different people will respond differently to treatment. For those using an optimal treatment programme consisting of both of the clinically proven treatments and carefully considered hair growth boosters, many men will achieve significant levels of regrowth. At The Belgravia Centre we have seen men with severe hair loss (almost bald), who have miraculously recovered almost all their hair (see photo to the right), whilst some men might only see moderate levels of regrowth from the same treatment combinations. Any level of response to treatment should however be seen as a success, even hair loss stabilisation without any increase in density, as it is likely that without treatment the hair would have continued to shed at a much faster rate. Click below for our guide to different levels of hair regrowth from treatment.
Patterns of Hair Loss
There are three general patterns of Male Pattern Hair Loss – we are quite confident that one of these will bear a similarity to your own pattern. Below you will find a summary of each whilst you can also click into more detailed pages for each pattern, containing information and success story examples.
One of the most common patterns of hair loss is a receding hairline, also known as a ‘widow’s peak’. This is where the hair is lost at either side of the forehead, usually leaving a triangular peak in the middle. For some men this might be the only area of hair loss, but others may also experience thinning at the crown. For those with more aggressive forms of MPB the hairline will recede further and further until it either meets the crown (which might also be balding), or results in a large bald area at the top or front of the head. Our receding hairline page explains how this pattern can be treated, likely results and provides photo examples of results from medicated treatment programmes.
Thinning Crown or Vertex
Some men will experience thinning at the back or top of the head – called the ‘crown’ or ‘vertex’. Again this can coincide with a receding hairline, but sometimes men will only have one of the two. Hair loss at the crown will usually start off with thinning until the scalp becomes visible, after which a bald patch may appear. This bald patch may progress until it meets a receding hairline or causes a prominent area of baldness at the top or back of the head. Again, the extensiveness or pattern is different from person to person, but thinning hair or baldness at the crown is very common. You can find out more about this particular pattern, how it can be treated and photographic examples of those who have experienced regrowth from a medicated treatment course.
A less common pattern of hair loss is general thinning, spread evenly over the top of the scalp. Men experiencing this pattern of men’s hair loss will not notice a distinct receding hairline or thinning crown and in cases of general thinning the onset of hair loss may be less obvious and take longer to identify. Thankfully, like the other patterns of male hair loss this form of thinning can be successfully prevented and in may cases reversed. Like all other patterns of Male Pattern Hair Loss, general thinning will not affect the back and sides of the scalp and if you are experiencing hair loss in these areas it will be caused by another condition. Please check the bottom of this section for other possible conditions.
The Norwood Scale
The Norwood Scale is a good visual reference for the progression of MPB. The scale demonstrates the progression of a receding hairline and thinning crown. The image on the right is a cut-down version. Click for the full version plus a photographic reference.
Other Men’s Hair Loss Conditions
Whilst Male Pattern Baldness is the most common form of hair loss that affects men by a long-shot, there are of course a number of other possible causes of hair loss in men.
Alopecia Areata is a condition that can appear any time in life between birth and old age. The condition causes sudden bald patches, which can vary from very small pea-sized spots, to larger tennis ball sized patches. More severe forms of Alopecia are Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, which cause total loss of hair on the head (Totalis) or total hair loss on the whole body (Universalis). The latter two are very rare.
Find out about Alopecia Areata, how to identify it and how it can be treated.
If none of the above sound like your condition, please take a look through our Hair Loss Conditions page to see if any of the described conditions bear any similarity to your own problem.
On this page you will be able to click on the names of a number of other hair loss conditions for more information about each one.