Understanding Male Pattern Hair Loss and Restoration

Embarking on a journey through the realm of self-image, the subject of hair takes centre stage, revealing the profound impact of androgenic hair loss on both men and women. Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPHL), or Androgenic Alopecia (AGA), emerges as the leading cause of hair loss in men, affecting a staggering 70% by the age of 50. Beyond the aesthetic implications, the experience of hair loss often reverberates through confidence levels, professional endeavours, and social interactions. As the pursuit of hair restoration fuels a burgeoning industry, we navigate the intricate landscape of androgenic hair loss, deciphering its genetic and hormonal underpinnings.

Join us in unravelling the complexities of MPHL, delving into the factors shaping hair destiny, and discovering personalized strategies that extend beyond mere aesthetics, aiming for the revitalization and well-being of these precious strands.

Hair ultimately helps to define how we see ourselves and hair loss is equally distressing for men affecting confidence, professional, and social activities. Naturally, then, it would be no surprise hair restoration is one of the fastest-growing industries. Men, like women, equally seek out hair improvement solutions.

Hair loss in men can start post-puberty, but early onset hair loss (before 30 years old) predicts a more severe form of MPHL. Genetics and hormone activity are the primary reasons for hair loss in men, so let’s start there. Hair loss is determined by the number and location of androgenic receptors on the scalp, and also, the necessary enzymes to convert testosterone to androgen. On the scalp, androgen causes hair loss, elsewhere, hair growth. As aging occurs androgen receptors on the scalp become more sensitive to androgen causing miniaturization of the hair follicle leading to thinning, loss of density and balding. Patients often ask, am I going to suffer the same destiny as my bald older brother? Not necessarily, there are over 200 genes involved in determining hair fate, thus balding patterns may even skip a generation. And again, there is more to understand about healthy hair.

Beyond genetics and hormones, the hair follicle needs a properly functioning stem cell, good blood flow, nerve communication, unclogged hair follicles, a healthy scalp, nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support cellular function, hair shaft development and growth.  The goal is always to improve or normalize the growth phase (anagen) and reduce the duration of the shedding phase (telogen).

During the consultation, it is necessary to tease through the history helping to determine hair loss types as there are many, as well as identify possible other contributing factors. This may mean blood work to rule out nutrition deficiencies, blood work abnormalities such as anemia, thyroid dysfunction, and even examining the scalp for dandruff, and oil concerns which may affect the growth and health of the hair. Patterns of Hair loss also point to one direction vs another. For example, hair loss on the crown and or temples suggests more of a hormone pattern vs general thinning, which may have other factors contributing.

Sometimes a trichoscope may be used to look at the scalp, the hair follicle and the hair shaft as well. This can provide additional clues helpful for treatment.

While many treatments are suitable for most, hair restoration programs should be tailored to your needs. Pharmacology is often helpful in Androgenic Hair loss, often aimed at reducing androgenic impact on the scalp. Other medications improve blood flow to the hair follicle. This will be often paired with PRP or exosomes and microneedling.  With this treatment, important growth factors are delivered to the hair follicle to stimulate hair growth, improve the quality of the hair, and normalize the hair cycle. Of course, specific shampoos and vitamins may be necessary or helpful. Remember, a multi-pronged approach can be very helpful.

Another common question is, “When should I seek help?”  Of course, the answer is always the earlier the better, There are things you can do even to promote hair health and prevention of hair loss. But another reason, progressed hair loss with significant balding may require hair follicular transplantation in addition, for the best result. Still, whatever the hair loss stage is, early or late, it is good to promote hair growth and health of existing hair, and stimulation of hair follicles that are inactive but still viable.

Frances Krawiec

Nurse Practitioner

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