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2018
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Male Pattern Baldness Explained

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If you’re looking a little thin up top, you’re certainly in good company. More than 50% of all men over the age of 50 have experienced hair loss. Around 95% of that hair loss is male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia. In fact, male pattern baldness affects about 50 million men in the United States.

So what are your options if you start to go bald? Keep reading to find out!

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

It’s thought that male pattern baldness, otherwise known as androgenic alopecia, is caused by hair follicles that are more sensitive than usual to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks hair follicles until they cease to grow new hair, resulting in hair loss.

Male pattern baldness typically is diagnosed by its distinctive pattern, with hair loss beginning over the temples, forming the classic “M” or horseshoe shape. In androgenic alopecia in men, hair also tends to thin at the crown. As hair continues to fall out, baldness occurs.

The DHT sensitivity that causes male pattern baldness is usually linked to genetics. If you have a close relative with pattern baldness, you’re more likely to have it as well. Hair loss can begin as early as a man’s teen years, and the risk increases with age.
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Male Pattern Baldness Treatments

Although male pattern baldness isn’t a health condition that requires treatment, many men do seek solutions to treat their hair loss and restore their confidence. Here are some of the most common medical and drug treatments for androgenic alopecia.

Hair Loss Drugs

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical treatment for male pattern baldness. It works by slowing hair loss and stimulating the hair follicles to grow new hair. Results appear after around four months of use. However, minoxidil does not work for everyone, and it requires consistent long-term use because the restored new hair will fall out if treatment is discontinued.

Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral medication that diminishes hair loss by reducing the hormone that causes male pattern baldness. While finasteride typically is more effective than minoxidil, some people may experience side effects. And like minoxidil, the results will end when you stop taking the medication.

Surgery

A hair transplant is a more expensive, but often effective, treatment option for male pattern baldness. During hair transplant surgery, a plastic surgeon transfers healthy hair follicles to the areas of hair loss. These follicles take root and grow new hair, diminishing hair loss in the treated area. While the results are more dramatic and permanent than other treatments for hair loss, hair transplant surgery is much more invasive and carries the risk of infection.
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Non-Surgical Solutions to Conceal Male Pattern Baldness

Of course, if you don’t want to seek costly drug or medical treatment for male pattern baldness, there are options to conceal thinning hair. Follow these simple tips to cover baldness and add instant thickness to maximize the hair that you do have:

  • Fill in sparse, thinning areas with Toppik Hair Building Fibers, which cling to even the tiniest hairs to make hair look instantly thicker and fuller.
  • Visit your barber for a flattering haircut for thinning hair.
  • Use thickening hair products designed to plump up thinning hair and make it look thicker, like Toppik Hair Building Shampoo and Conditioner.

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Hair Loss Prevention

So is there a way to stop male pattern baldness before it occurs? Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent this type of hair loss.

However, hair loss treatment is more successful the earlier you begin. If you’re worried about male pattern baldness, keep tabs on your hair my monitoring your hair loss in the shower, examining your hairline in the mirror, or even keeping a photo diary of your locks to track any changes. At the first signs of changes, consult your dermatologist for advice.

Colleen Welsch is an LA-based freelance beauty writer and blogger specializing in hair care, hair growth education and beauty.

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