Male pattern hair loss is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is also known as androgenetic alopecia.
It affects about 50 per cent of men over the age of 50.
What causes male pattern hair loss?
MPHL is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors.
A hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes a change in the hair follicles on the scalp.
The hairs produced by the affected follicles become progressively smaller in diameter, shorter in length and lighter in colour until eventually the follicles shrink completely and stop producing hair.
Is male pattern hair loss hereditary?
Yes. It is believed this can be inherited from either or both parents.
What are the symptoms of male pattern hair loss?
Men can become aware of scalp hair loss or a receding hairline at any time after puberty. There are usually no symptoms on the scalp itself.
Hair loss may cause significant psychological difficulties.
What does male pattern hair loss look like?
The usual pattern of hair loss is a receding frontal hairline and loss of hair from the top of the head.
Hairs in the affected areas are initially smaller in diameter, and shorter compared to hairs in unaffected areas, before they become absent.
How is male pattern hair loss diagnosed?
The diagnosis is usually based on the history of scalp hair loss on the front/top of the head or receding hairline, the pattern of hair loss and a family history of similar hair loss.
The skin on the scalp looks normal on examination.
Occasionally, blood tests may be carried out.
Can male pattern hair loss be cured?
No, there is no cure. However, it tends to progress very slowly, from several years to decades.
An earlier age of onset may lead to quicker progression.
How can male pattern hair loss be treated?
Options to tackle androgenetic alopecia include:
Licensed topical and oral treatments
Wigs and hair pieces
Self care (What can I do?)
An important function of hair is to protect the scalp from sunlight.
It is therefore important to protect any bald areas of your scalp from the sun to prevent sunburn and to reduce the chances of developing long-term sun damage.
You should cover any bald patches with sun block, your wig or a hat if you are going to be exposed to sunlight.
SOURCE: British Association of Dermatologists