Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia is a common type of hair loss experienced by men. It is estimated that more than fifty percent of men will experience some form of baldness or another. The extent of the hair loss is commonly measured on the Norwood Scale.
The Norwood Scale is also commonly used by hair transplant specialists and consultants to evaluate a patient. You can find out more about FUE hair transplant and the procedures we are able to offer on our website. Keep reading to understand male pattern baldness:
What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is caused by the breakdown of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and the miniaturisation of the hair follicles by DHT. Once hair follicles are miniaturised, they can no longer grow hair.
There are a number of reasons behind the cause:
- Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are types of androgens that exist within the body.
- Androgens affect the body by interacting with specific receptors found on cell membranes or inside cells, as all other hormones do.
- Several forms of androgens can affect the hair follicles and different areas of the skin respond to the same androgen in various ways.
- For example, hairs located on the armpit respond to androgens by growing, whereas hairs in the scalp fall out in response to them.
Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone
The two types of androgens involved in male pattern baldness are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT hormone).
- The enzyme- 5-alpha reductase turns inactive testosterone into a more powerful form which is called dihydrotestosterone.
- 5-alpha reductase is the key enzyme involved in androgenetic hair loss.
- Once dihydrotestosterone is formed it has the ability to overpower any androgen molecule present on a hair follicle, leading to hair loss.
- Plain testosterone can also act on the follicles, but its effect of causing hair loss is weaker.
The combination of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, result in enduring changes to hairs covering the scalp and ends with hair loss.
- The power of these two hormones grouped together breaks down the hair growth cycle by making the anagen (growth) phase progressively shorter.
- The catagen (intermediate) and telogen (shedding or resting) phases remain the same resulting in an increased number of resting hair follicles within the hair growth process.
- The more hairs that enter the resting phase increase the number of shedding hairs.
- The shedding process starts with a decrease in length and fullness. Hairs grow thinner and shorter leading to brittle hairs that are prone to fall out.
Is High Testosterone Linked To Baldness?
Yes, high testosterone is linked to baldness. This is because testosterone is the hormone that is converted into DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink and miniaturise until they cannot produce hair any more.
Can You Stop Male Pattern Baldness?
There is currently no cure for male pattern baldness, but there are some that are anecdotally said to either slow or reverse hair loss.
Can A Bald Man Grow Hair Back?
Unfortunately, DHT has an irreversible effect on the hair follicles. The miniaturisation of hair follicles as a result of DHT has no possible way to be reversed, although some medications claim that they can regrow hair.
What Age Do Men Go Bald?
By the age of 60, two-thirds of men will experience male pattern baldness. However, the age at which male pattern baldness starts varies due to multiple different factors, including genetics, lifestyle factors and medications.
Why Do Some Guys Go Bald Early?
There are many factors that can cause male pattern baldness, so identifying why some men go bald early is next to impossible. It can be due to genetics, lifestyle factors or medical conditions.
You may wonder why some males develop male pattern baldness and others do not. All men and women have the hormones that cause hair loss within their bodies so you would think that everyone would develop baldness.
There isn’t a straight answer as to why some of us develop baldness over others, however, there are speculations listed below:
- The number of androgen receptors in a single hair follicle is higher in patients that have androgenetic hair loss compared with those that do not.
- Balding persons’ hair follicles have a higher sensitivity to androgens than normal, which results in a more pronounced effect of hair loss.
- The enzyme 5-alpha reductase is higher in the balding area, which converts more testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. The higher the proportion of the DHT hormone to testosterone, the faster the hair loss process.
Where Does Balding Start On The Head?
Balding typically starts in the hairline, with the adolescent flat or mildly receded hairline beginning to thin and turn into the typical V-shaped hairline that is associated with male pattern baldness.
You typically measure the scale at which baldness has progressed according to the Norwood Scale.