Nearly 37% of all men will suffer male pattern baldness (MPB) of to some degree—95% of male hair loss is because of MPB rather than any secondary cause.

It can start happening at any time past puberty, but the baldness usually kick in between the age of thirty and forty-five. Even though it appears to be random in how it causes hair loss, most of the time it usually start at the crown and/or the temples and move it way up from there, hence the term “pattern”.

THE NORWOOD-HAMILTON SCALE OF MALE-PATTERN BALDNESS

norwood scale

This chart illustrates the stages used by medical professionals when discussing the progression of male pattern hair loss (MPHL). You may find it useful in helping determine your stage. The chart divides the pattern of male hair loss into 7 categories.

Is your hair loss illness-related?

Hair loss can occur because of a hidden condition or a course of treatment you are taking for something. In these cases it will be noticeable fairly quickly as large chunk of hair will come out when you wash or comb it, or will be appearing on your pillowcase or the collars on your clothes. If it is related to another complaint it will be escorted by other symptoms, and the main cause should be treated on advice from your physician. As a rule, once the main problem clears up so will the hair loss. If the hair loss is a side effect of a treatment you are undergoing, once again talk to your doctor.

The causes of hair loss

Conditions that may cause hair loss includes:

  • Thyroid and pituitary conditions
  • Lupus
  • Diabetes
  • Radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • Flu or viral infections
  • Steroid treatments
  • Fungal infections of the scalp
  • Post-surgical trauma
  • Iron or protein deficiency

Will you go bald?

Every day we lose between eighty and three hundred hair strands from our scalps, thanks to combing, washing and other frictions. Baldness happens because these strands that we lose are not being replaced. This will be because of the effects of the hormone dihydrotesterone (DHT), a side-product of the male sex hormone testosterone. DHT goes after groups of hair follicles, leaving them viable but shrinking them, causing the hair to become weak and fine until they become so thin they can no longer produce hair at all.

Due to the fact that MBP is hormonal you will be genetically inclined to it, but as of now, science does not know who will go bald and to what degree. In the past, it was believed that because MBP is connected to genes that are part of the X chromosomes, which is passed down from your mom, baldness on your mom’s father side is a strong indicator. However, current research has proven that there are more genes involved, some of which comes from daddy, which means  you can acquire it from anywhere in your family tree.

“Miracle cures”

If you go online and do research on “cures for baldness,” you will come up with more potential—and even expensive—miracle cures that you should shake a stick at. For a long time there has been to a great extent, shady quasi-scientific industries spinning around men with receding hairlines and heavy pockets, who are determined to recapture their former glories. With internet opportunities and modern’s obsession on the way youth looks, the hair industry has become considerably lucrative. Fact is, because it is genetics there really is no “cure” for male pattern baldness, even though there are a few options to slow it down on its tracks by bolstering rapid hair growth.

Minoxidil was first used as an oral medication to lower blood pressure, but when a hair-growth side effect was witnessed, it was created into a scalp application—it is the main ingredient of Rogaine hair treatments. Till this day, scientists do not know why it causes hair growth, but it is believed that the hair follicles get stimulated as it dilates the blood vessels. It works best on the hairline at the front of your head, but any new hair growth will stop when you stop the treatment.

Finasterise is a drug that was created for treating men with prostate problems, and has been advertised as a remedy for hair loss under the brand name Propecia for about fifteen years. It works by preventing the production of enzyme that creates DHT from testosterone, as a result slowing down the damage to hair follicles and preventing more hair loss rather than starting new growth. Once again, the effects only last as long as the treatment remains.

If Wayne Rooney can do it…

wayne rooney hair transplantHair transplantation includes tiny pieces of hair-growing scalp being taken out from a “donor site” at the back or the sides of the head, and moved into openings cut into the bald or thinning areas. The amount of hair in each “plug” can be from ten to fifteen, down to one or two, and the majority of transplant operations will involve a combination of different size pieces. To obtain the most pleasing—and convincing—results, numerous surgery sessions will be required, with a few weeks’ healing between each. So it may take a year before you achieve the desired end result.

Although hair transplantation has been shown to work, it has also left the men who get it done with weeping scalps and scars on top of their heads. The starting point for anyone thinking about getting hair transplant should be personal recommendation, or, because the skill of the surgeon is important, you should ask for a sample of their work in the flesh rather than in a picture. When all of that has been considered, the rule of thumb is you will get what you paid for. It’s hard to pinpoint how much treatment will cost because the amount of sessions can vary, as can the number of plugs transplanted.

One thing to know is that it’s not for everyone. Those who have fine or thin hair should not consider hair transplantation and should wait until their male pattern baldness has reached its peak.

Headshaving?

The huge benefit of approaching a fast receding hairline by shaving the rest of it off is that you will no longer be referred to as “that older man who’s losing his hair” but “that guy with the shaved head.” The important difference being that it now looks like your idea and not following other people with luxuriant head of hair.

Word of caution, though: much as a clean head will always look more dynamic than MPB, it’s not a look for everybody. If you have a small round head, then you’re in luck; but if you have a pointy head or uneven skull, the look may not suite you well. However, it’s worth to notate that your head will look huge the first time you see it without hair— everybody’s does.

Strong features can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time while a clean head will highlight a firm jawline, or the kind of eyes that women find seductive, a big nose or ears will look even bigger. Furthermore, if you have the shape of face that cannot wear hats, or you simply feel uncomfortable in them, it’s probably not wise to shave off your head as you will need to do a few hat shopping fairly quickly—in the summertime, the sun will burn your scalp and in the winter months you will lose a lot of heat from your head.

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