Are you one of about 50 million men in the United States struggling with thinning hair? Is it progressively worsening as you continue to age? Let me show you how to treat male pattern baldness using the best approaches that can really make a difference in the way you look and feel!
What Is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) is an inherited condition that accounts for over 90% of all cases of hair loss. It is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is made from testosterone. As the level of DHT continues to rise it can shorten the hair’s growth cycle and progressively shrink the diameter of the hair follicle, which makes it too small to grow hair. This process makes your hair brittle and thin so that it is more difficult to grow back after it falls out.
Hair loss typically starts in front of the scalp to form an “M-Shaped” pattern (figure 02 below). Thinning continues with hair loss on top of the head (crown or vertex). The two areas eventually meet and form a “horseshoe-shaped pattern” (figure 07). The Norwood Scale rates hair loss in male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is distinctly different from other causes of hair loss like telogen effluvium, which typically happens after a stressful or traumatic event or alopecia aerata, which is caused by an autoimmune skin disease.
Slowing And Preventing Hair Loss
There are many ways to slow or even prevent hair loss. Most of the natural methods will work best before hair loss becomes advanced, especially if you have a family history of hair loss. There are few if any scientific studies that show objective improvement using the methods in this section.
Despite this, many men and hair professionals claim to have used this method with positive results. You may want to experiment with the information here before moving on to the more aggressive methods in the next section.
1. Stop smoking – Cigarette smoke contains a variety of toxins that can interfere directly with hair growth. It also can decrease blood circulation to hair follicles. The sooner you stop smoking the better. It causes many other problems including emphysema, lung cancer, and urinary bladder cancer!
2. Increase protein and fatty acids in your diet – A nutritious diet is essential to good hair health. Proteins from lean meats, soy products, and dairy are good sources. Foods such as fatty fish, nuts, and flaxseed oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Take B Vitamins – B Complex Vitamins such as Vitamin B6, B12, Biotin, and Folic Acid have been shown to instrumental in promoting good hair health. They are found in meat and dairy products. You can take B Complex supplements or a daily multivitamin.
4. Regulate Vitamin A consumption – Vitamin A is required for hair growth and it helps the sebaceous glands in your scalp make an oily substance (sebum) that moisturizes your hair. If you consume too much Vitamin A (a toxic level) then your hair follicles can go into overdrive and reach the end of their growth phase at an accelerated rate, which can lead to hair loss. Avoid high levels of Vitamin A by eating a balanced and healthy diet.
5. Drink green tea – Green tea contains a variety of polyphenolic compounds that may stimulate hair growth. In addition to helping with hair thinning green tea offers many other health benefits. See Green Tea Anti Inflammatory Benefits – Feel Great Again!
6. Try Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinesis) – Herbal hair oils made form Chines Hibiscus are used in India to stimulate hair growth. There are no studies in humans that validate this approach but it has been used in some countries for centuries.
7. Use a volumizing shampoo, conditioner, gel, or mousse – These products, when applied correctly, can make your hair appear thicker and fuller. Your hair care professional can help you select the best product for your particular type of hair.
8. Scalp massage with essential oils – Messaging your scalp can slow hair loss by stimulating and increasing blood circulating to hair follicles. Oils made from rosemary and peppermint, as well as olive oil, castor oil, and coconut oil, have been used to enhance the therapeutic response of the scalp massage.
9. Treat your hair with respect – Do not comb your hair when it is wet because it is more fragile than dry hair. Use a wide-tooth “detangle” comb and comb it only when necessary. Avoid drying your hair manually or you can gently pat it dry with a towel. If you must use a blow dryer then use it in on the lowest heat and fan settings while keeping it as far away from your head as possible. The heat will dry your hair out and make it more brittle.
10. Talk to a pro – Professional hair stylists who know the “tricks of the trade” can help you hide your areas of thinning hair in ways that look best. They can also recommend a variety of high-quality hair care products and help you choose the best ones for your type of hair. Even a few visits can make a big difference in the way your hair looks and feels.
11. Shave your head – If you have extensive hair loss then shaving your head can make you look significantly younger. You can shave your head manually with a cartridge or safety razor for a shave that can last for up to a week. Using an electric shaver is a quicker, more convenient, and safer method but the shave will probably only last you a few days.
12. Control the stress in your life – High levels of stress can adversely affect every part of your body and your hair is no exception. Chronic anxiety can lead to trichotillomania, which is a compulsive desire to pull at or twirl your hair. This behavior can cause hair loss in patches on various areas of your scalp, which may become permanent. Anxiety can also cause constriction of the vessels that bring blood to your hair, which adversely affects growth. See Mind Relaxation Techniques – A Healthy Escape From Reality.
13. Keep an “up” attitude” – Feeling “down or blue” about your hair loss and overall appearance can only make things worse. Keeping a positive attitude will help you to focus on your hair loss from more of a problem-solving point of view, which will ultimately increase your chances of successful improvement. Depression can slow your body’s metabolism over time, which can impede hair growth. If you have chronic severe depression then seek treatment with a qualified health care professional. See How To Deal With Depression Alone – A Rejuvenating Self-Help Guide.
Here is a video from U.S. Dermatology Partners that describes some of the common hair loss triggers.
Treating The Hair Loss You Have
If you have progressive or significant hair loss then these are the most common things you can do that have a more proven positive outcome. They can be combined with some of the suggestions outlined above for a more comprehensive approach. Many of these choices will be more effective and less costly if they are initiated before hair loss becomes severe.
1. Minoxidil (Rogaine) – Rogaine is an over-the-counter liquid or foam that you massage into your dry scalp twice a day. It can slow down hair loss as well as actually grow new hair. It typically takes several months before you will begin to see hair growth. The downside is that when you stop using it the hair loss gradually returns.
2. Finasteride (Propecia) – Propecia is a dihydrotestosterone (DHT) inhibitor. I may work better than Minoxidil, but it is a prescription medication. Propecia can slow down hair loss in almost 90% of men and may result in new growth in up to 65% of the time, although it can take several months to achieve noticeable results. Just like Rogaine, hair loss gradually returns if you stop using it. It can cause birth defects in pregnant women if they even touch the pill!
3. Treat medical problems – Medical problems such as diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, lupus, celiac disease, and psoriasis of the scalp can all contribute to hair loss. Get routine yearly examinations from a qualified health care provider to diagnose and treat these problems before they can affect your hair growth. See Preventive Health Care Benefits You Enormously – 10 Screening Tests That Can Save Your Life!
4. Minimize medications – Certain medications can lead to hair loss, which may be reversible if the medication is stopped. Common medications include chemotherapy, blood pressure and cardiac medicines, antidepressants, blood thinners, and acne treatments – especially isotretinoin (Accutane). If you think a medication is causing hair loss never stop it on your own. Call your qualified health care provider to see if it can be safely stopped or substituted for an alternative medication.
5. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) – Low-level laser therapy uses an array of low-power lasers to slow hair loss and regrow hair. It is thought to work by increasing blood circulation and cellular activity in the hair follicles. Treatment can be done professionally in a doctor’s office or at home. At-home treatments can be performed several times a week using lasers that are built into a comb, hat, or a band. It typically takes several months to see results.
6. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection – Platelet-rich plasma injection is a hair regrowth treatment that uses a liquid prepared from your blood that is rich in growth factors. A sample of your blood is taken and processed to recover the plasma (the liquid portion) and platelets (small cells that help the blood to clot). The final product contains a high concentration of platelets suspended in the plasma. The PRP is injected into areas of the scalp where the growth factors released from the platelets can induce hair growth.
7. Consider a toupée – A toupée is a hairpiece or partial wig for men, which works best for hair loss in an isolated area. Many men are reluctant to consider this approach but a toupée can be customed designed to fit your head and match your particular hair characteristics such as color and texture. If you purchase a toupée then be sure to implement some of the methods to slow or prevent hair loss to keep it doing its job effectively.
8. Transplant surgery – Hair transplant surgery is a more definitive but pricey way to treat hair loss. The procedure is performed by taking hair from areas of the scalp where it is thicker, such as at the sides and back of the scalp. The hair is then moved to areas that are sparse, like the front and top of the scalp.
Hair may be moved by taking small strips of scalp containing multiple hair follicles, which is called follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS). Each strip is then divided into small transplant units containing one to several hair follicles prior to transplant. The other method is called the follicular unit extraction (FUE), which is better known as the “hair plug” method. During the FUE procedure hair is removed and transplanted one follicle at a time.
The method is selected based on the type and location of your hair loss, as well as the texture, thickness, and other characteristics of your scalp and hair follicles. The transplant procedure can cost several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars. Hair transplants that are purely cosmetic are not usually covered by medical insurance.
If you are looking for a proven hair restoration solution that is less costly than platelet-rich plasma injection and transplant surgery then low-level laser therapy is the way to go. The number one product I recommend for home use is the HairMax Laser Hair Growth Band LaserBand 41. It is an FDA cleared device that has 41 medical-grade lasers that stimulate hair follicles and reverses thinning to significantly increase the hair density. It can produce noticeable results in as little as 3 to 6 months when using it for 3 days a week just 3 minutes a day! If you would like the model with 82 medical-grade lasers that Dr. Man demonstrates in the video below then see HairMax Laser Hair Growth Band LaserBand 82.
Here is a video testimonial from Dr. Man, a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Here is a video from Howcast on treatments for male pattern baldness, which discusses low-level laser therapy.
Resources And Support Groups
There are a wide variety of resources and support groups for people that have alopecia, some of which include info for their family and friends. They can direct you to local meetings and contain reviews of many hair care products and professional services. Here are some suggestions that are helpful for dealing with male pattern baldness.
The Alopecia Support Group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alopeciasupportgroup/ : A general hair loss support group designed to help all people of all ages with any type of alopecia.
Bald Truth Talk – https://www.baldtruthtalk.com/ : A hair loss, transplant, a restoration forum that is sponsored by the American Hair Loss Foundation.
Alopecia World – https://www.alopeciaworld.com/groups?sort=latestActivity : An interactive social networking site for people with alopecia.
Male pattern baldness is an ailment that is slowly progressive. Learning to coexist with it can be challenging and frustrating. Treatment is typically most effective when started early on, especially if male pattern baldness runs in your family. Begin with some of the simpler methods of treatment and progress to the more aggressive ones until you begin to see results.
If you are not seeing any improvement then consider joining a support group or consult a hair care professional. If you think that your hair loss might be related to a medical problem then make an appointment to see a qualified health care provider for evaluation and treatment.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if I can help you with anything.
- Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for dealing with male pattern baldness?
- Are you currently doing or using something that is helping you regrow hair?
- How have you dealt with the stress of male pattern baldness?