Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia (medical term), is a common inherited genetic condition which causes a progressive distinctive pattern of hair loss in some men starting as young as 18. It often starts with the thinning of hairs in the temple or crown areas of the scalp which eventually become so thin that they become no longer visible, forming a bald spot on scalp.
WHAT CAUSES MALE PATTERN BALDNESS?
When the male sex hormone testosterone is metabolised in the body, some of it gets converted to a molecule called dihydrotestosterone, or ‘DHT’ for short, as a byproduct. In men who have a genetic susceptibility to male pattern baldness, the follicles of the hair on the top of the scalp are sensitive to DHT, and when they come into contact with the DHT molecules, it causes the follicles to shrink and eventually produce no hairs.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE PROVEN TO STOP MALE PATTERN BALDNESS?
- Minoxidil – Minoxidil (sold under the brand name Regain in the UK) is a topical medical solution which is applied to the scalp twice a day. It was the first ever FDA approved medication for hair loss and it is thought to work by increasing the blood flow to the hair follicles.
- Finasteride – Finateride belongs to a group of prescription only medications which are called 5-alphareductase inhibitors that stop the DHT molecules from binding onto the hair follicles, therefore preventing them from shrinking and dying off.