Are you a male who is either experiencing, or is worried about balding? Let me guess, you took a good look at a uncle who looks like his hair and scalp has seen better days and now you are panicking. Don’t worry, we have options that you can explore to address male pattern hair loss.
What is Male Pattern Hair Loss?
Male pattern hair loss, medically known as androgenetic alopecia, is a prevalent form of hair loss that affects both men and women everywhere. Androgenetic alopecia is also the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women in Singapore, and throughout the world.
This condition is primarily influenced by three factors: the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), genetic predisposition, and age. It typically manifests after puberty or around 17 years of age.
Prevalence of Male Pattern Balding
A community study conducted in Bishan East in 2000 revealed that male pattern hair loss had a prevalence rate of 63%. The incidence of this condition also increases with age, ranging from approximately 32% among individuals aged 17 to 26 years to 100% among those in their 80s.
Myth 1: Male hair loss only affects males
Contrary to popular belief, male pattern hair loss is not exclusive to males; it affects both males and females. Additionally, the condition can be inherited not only from the paternal side but also from the maternal side of the family.
Myth 2: Factors like diet, exercise, stress, hygiene plays a part in male pattern baldness
Another myth is that factors such as diet, exercise, stress, and hygiene play significant roles in male pattern baldness. However, these factors may contribute to other types of hair loss, not specifically to male pattern hair loss.
Male pattern hair loss is primarily caused by hereditary factors, with genetics playing a significant role. The condition is also influenced by the hormone DHT.
While nearly everyone will experience some degree of hair loss in their lifetime, the age of onset varies. Once it begins, the progression of male pattern hair loss is typically relentless and worsens over time. In the affected areas, normal hair is gradually replaced by finer and shorter strands until they eventually disappear. Although the condition is incurable, it can be managed and controlled through available treatments.
Ordinary hair loss involves shedding less than 100 strands per day. Exceeding this threshold leads to noticeable hair thinning, characterised by specific patterns in male pattern baldness.
Males: Hair loss begins with a receding hairline at the frontal region and thinning over the crown. In advanced stages, a horseshoe-shaped pattern of hair loss forms, leaving a remnant of hair on the scalp above the ears, curving towards the back.
Females: Hair loss is typically observed during hormonal changes, such as stopping oral contraceptive use or menopause. The thinning occurs across the entire top of the scalp without receding the hairline.
The Relationship between Male Pattern Hair Loss and Serious Medical Problems
Male pattern hair loss is generally unrelated to severe medical issues. It is often treated for cosmetic purposes rather than medical necessity. However, conditions like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension have been associated with hair loss, highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Available Treatment Options
The treatment of male pattern baldness usually follows a stepwise approach. These treatments may promote hair regrowth and slow down the balding process.
For individuals with mild hair loss, a medicated solution called Minoxidil is applied twice daily to the affected scalp. Minoxidil is available in various preparations, including lotions, sprays, and shampoos, catering to different lifestyles. Another medication, finasteride, is taken orally but is exclusively used by males.
Finasteride, compared to Minoxidil, specifically targets androgenetic alopecia, making it more effective. It halts hair loss progression and stimulates hair regrowth in over 60% of users. Both medications are considered safe, with minimal side effects. It is important to note that several months of consistent usage are required before.
Early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, as medications like Minoxidil and Dinasteride have shown positive results in slowing down hair loss and promoting regrowth.