Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is a process that begins with hair loss around the temples. As it progresses, hair loss extends around the top of the head and can even occur on the sides and rear of the head as well. There are 3 main treatments for this problem.
How Male Pattern Baldness Works
Male pattern baldness (MBP), or androgenic alopecia, is present in males because it is linked to male sex hormones. It is typically due to a genetic condition and is usually associated with the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Increased amounts of DHT in hair follicles is thought to have negative effects on hair growth, shortening the life of the hair growth cycle and even delaying or stopping the growth of new hair. Although hair stops growing, the actual follicles stay there, suggesting that hair growth may still be possible.
Minoxidil, is a topical treatment that has been approved by the FDA for use with male pattern baldness since 1980s. It is the most popular treatment for MPB. It is applied directly to the scalp to foster hair growth in the follicles, slowing hair loss and helping many men regrow hair. It helps hair regrowth by improving blood circulation and therefore helping provide sufficient nutrient to hair follicles. If application of the medication stops, results will most likely stop as well. Therefore, you need to continue to use product for its effects to be present.
In some cases, minoxidil has side effects such as itching, skin rash, acne, burning, inflammation, and swelling. Most of the side effects are not caused minoxidil itself. It is actually caused by the inactive ingredient such as propylene glycol present in the formula. In these cases, minoxidil products specifically formulated for sensitive scalp may help
Propecia and Proscar are branded versions of Finasteride, which is an orally prescribed medication for male pattern baldness. It functions by binding to the enzyme that would otherwise enable the conversion of free testosterone into DHT, therefore stopping the hair loss effects DHT has on your hair. Just as with minoxidil, you must continue to take the medication in order to see results. Once you cease taking the medication, your hair loss will return within one year. There are natural alternatives to finasteride such as saw palmetto, azetinol, beta-sitosterol, etc.
If you are having no success with some of the other methods of treatment, a hair transplant may be for you. These are permanent, effective means of establishing hair regrowth which helps you combat hair loss. The process involves moving hair from a healthy area of the scalp to a balding area. It can take a number of session and does cost more than other alternatives, but the results are more effective and long-lasting than other methods.
People with hair transplant are usually recommended by doctors to use minoxidil and/or finasteride to have the best results.
These are three main treatment options for male pattern baldness. Using the combination of these 3 treatments should yield even better results. Alternatively, you can try to ensure that you give your hair the proper nutrients and care it needs so that it can grow healthy and full.