What causes male pattern baldness?
Most men will suffer from some form of male pattern baldness at some point in their lives. Many experience it later in life, but it’s not uncommon for male pattern baldness to strike in your 30s or even your 20s.
Also known as androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss in men. It typically manifests itself as a thinning of hair around the temples – known as a receding hairline – and a bald patch that slowly develops in the middle of the scalp.
Over time the afflicted areas may expand and eventually meet, often leaving a ring of hair around the back and sides of the scalp, and occasionally a patch at the front. However, the exact pace and pattern of balding can vary from case to case, with some men experiencing total hair loss, while others experiencing only mild symptoms.
The causes of male pattern balding can also vary. One of the most common triggers is simple genetics – if you have a family history of balding, unfortunately you’re likely to be at a higher risk. It has also been linked to male sex hormones called androgens, which explains why women are less prone to hair loss. Other causes can include stress and illness.
We all shed hair as a matter of course over time. Each hair on your head has a growth cycle that involves new hair growing to replace strands that are cut or shaved, or fall out. Male pattern baldness occurs when this growth cycle begins to weaken and your hair follicles – thousands of tiny cavities in your skin that each house a single hair – begin to shrink, producing finer, weaker strands of hair. At this stage you may begin to notice a ‘thinning’ effect in your hairline.
Eventually, your follicles will stop producing any hair at all, which is when advanced hair loss will often occur. No known cure for male pattern baldness exists, although some treatments are available that can arrest the decline of the follicles or even reverse the effects. It is worth noting that even when hair production stops, the follicle does not die – suggesting that it is still possible to grow hair. New advances in hair retention are still being made to this day, and the way we approach male pattern baldness in the future may be quite different to today.
Although some men find the experience of male pattern baldness distressing, it is important to understand that in most cases it is simply a natural process and is rarely a sign of any underlying health problems.
If hair loss occurs particularly rapidly, or is accompanied by additional symptoms such as weight loss, pain and irritation of the scalp you should seek advice at the earliest opportunity to rule out more serious medical conditions.
Male pattern baldness is nothing to be ashamed of, and it can be treated very successfully. If your hair loss is affecting your confidence or your self esteem, get in touch with us. There are many treatments available, from topical applications to the latest hair transplants. The right solution is here for you.