Question: Hi, I noticed recently that around 30% of the hairs I shed are thin and short. I don’t shed a lot of hair but the hairs I shed have different pigmentation. Is this the early sign of MPB? I’m pretty sure I have MPB but based on the above symptom, when do you think I should start taking action? My hair is still thick and my hair line is still good (receding a bit in the right side and miniaturize).
Answer: Hi, Rick. I advise you to start by having a consultation with a hair loss specialist or dermatologist who can thoroughly examine your scalp and hair and provide you with a professional diagnosis.
It is always wise to determine exactly what is causing any hair loss or drop in volume so that a suitable treatment course can then be recommended.
If you do have Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), it is best to start treatment as early as possible. This is a genetic condition which can start any time after puberty in those with the relevant predisposition. It is caused by a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which gradually makes the genetically-predisposed hair follicles to shrink through a process called follicular miniaturisation.
The miniaturised follicles produce increasingly thinning hair over time, then eventually lose the hair completely and the follicles disappear. This is when hair loss turns to permanent baldness; when the follicles reach this stage they are no longer capable of producing healthy hair growth.
Belgravia specialists find that, if you are hoping to prevent baldness, the earlier you start hair loss treatment, the better results you can achieve. Once you lose the hair follicles, and baldness sets in, they cannot regrow hair and it is too late to address the problem.
With regard to the pigmentation issue you mention, the thinner hair strands from the miniaturised follicles may appear lighter in colour. This does not mean that there is any problem with your melanin production – the process by which natural hair colour is determined – they are simply very thin hairs with less bulk in the cortex.
If you look at your vellus hair covering your body, it also appears lighter in colour than the longer hairs on your scalp, known as ‘terminal hair’. However, Male Pattern Hair Loss does not affect the hair pigment.
On the other hand, if there is any pigment change in your hair, it is important to be discussed with a dermatologist as it may be unrelated to the hairloss you mention.
For example, vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder which affects the cells producing melanin, known as melanocytes. This can leave areas on your skin, including the scalp, without any pigment. It can sometimes affect the hair too, but this condition does not cause hairloss.
If you have had Alopecia Areata – an autoimmune disorder which causes patchy hair loss to appear suddenly – the regrowth from this can be lacking pigment and appear white or cream. Again, this is unrelated to Male Pattern Baldness, but it is possible to have both conditions at the same times.
As before, a consultation with a hair expert will help you to determine exactly what is going on, with regards to identifying any hair loss condition and/or scalp issues. Recommendations for suitable treatments or courses of action that can be taken will then be made based on their findings, as well as your medical profile, and they can answer any further queries you may have.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.