Male pattern hair loss (known as androgenic alopecia) is responsible for 95% of hair loss in men. When it becomes noticeable, usually as a general thinning atop the scalp or a receding hairline, it is by far the most common condition that men seek to treat.
Because pattern hair loss is genetic, there is no ‘cure’ for the condition, but there are clinically proven medications available that can halt the rate of hair loss and potentially regrow thinning areas, providing that the area you wish to treat has not become completely bald and shiny.
A genetic cause
We can inherit genes for pattern hair loss from both the paternal and maternal lines, not just the maternal side as previously thought. It is also possible to carry the genes without expressing them, so having close relations with good heads of hair doesn’t always mean the genes will not express themselves in your case.
In those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes follicular miniaturisation on top of the scalp. This causes terminal hairs to become thin and eventually the follicle will only produce a ‘vellus’ hair, which is almost invisible to the eye.
Before the follicle reaches this stage, a hair loss treatment programme is needed to prevent thinning turning into baldness. There are only two hair loss medications that have been licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA (the UK and US medical regulatory bodies) to treat hair loss. The first of these, Propecia, is a daily tablet that blocks DHT, and is particularly effective at halting general thinning that is spread over the scalp and crown.
In order to regrow hair and to treat a receding hairline, the second hair loss medication can be extremely beneficial. Minoxidil works by stimulating new hair growth. When maximum regrowth has occurred, minoxidil is used to maintain this. As a dose dependent medication, a high strength minoxidil cream or liquid can be used to ensure optimum levels of hair regrowth.
As well as using the above medications, additional hair growth boosters can be utilised. Nutritional supplements that are tailored to the hair like Hair Vitalics can make a difference, and products like the FDA-cleared LaserComb can speed up the rate of regrowth.
Ensuring that you are treating your hair in the most effective way involves combining these treatments with regular medical check-ups to ensure that everything is working as it should. This will enable a specialist to tailor a treatment plan specifically for you and increase the strength of the minoxidil if necessary.
An effective treatment plan can maintain a healthy head of hair for many years, preventing altogether or prolonging the period of time before a hair transplant needs to be considered.
Jonny Harris is the Joint Managing Director of The Belgravia Centre and a hair loss expert. Being a hair loss sufferer himself and helping to run the UK’s leading group of hair loss clinics, Jonny has spent many years researching most of the conditions that cause hair loss and the treatments available.
Jonny has written much of the content found on belgraviacentre.com – one of the world’s leading hair loss websites – and works closely with the clinics’ medical hair loss specialists. The Belgravia Centre deals with more than 1,000 hair loss sufferers each week making them the most well-known and renowned hair loss organisation in the UK and probably the world.