Hair Loss – Male Pattern Baldness
What is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is a genetic disorder, caused by testosterone being converted into Dihydroxytesterone (DHT). DHT has a negative effect on hair follicles (hair roots) and causes them to slow down or even stop growing altogether.
Symptoms Of Male Pattern Baldness:
- Male pattern baldness typically begins with a receding hairline, which leads to thinning of the hair on the crown and temples.
- This usually follows with the bald patches expanding until they merge together. The remaining hair gradually thins out more and then more widespread hair loss follows.
Treatment for Male Pattern Baldness:
The two most common treatments for male pattern baldness are Finasteride and Minoxidil. Finasteride helps to stop hair loss and grows new hair. Minoxidil does not stop hair loss but it does help to grow new thicker hair.
Finasteride 1mg is a prescription medicine used in the treatment of male pattern baldness.
Finasteride comes in tablet form and should be taken daily. It works by limiting the transformation of testosterone into DHT, or by lowering DHT levels, which aids in preventing men's baldness. Finasteride is particularly effective in men who are experiencing mild or moderate hair loss, it is not suitable for women.
Taken correctly (one tablet a day, every day), Finasteride can be extremely effective in reversing the effects of male pattern baldness. Depending on the length of time it's been taken for, the effectiveness of Finasteride varies. The earlier treatment is started, the greater the result. Studies have shown 90% of men who use it see improvements, while two thirds experience new hair growth.
Finasteride is not a permanent solution to hair loss, any positive effects will be reversed if treatment is stopped. If you are suffering from male pattern baldness and are interested in taking finasteride, please talk with your GP.
You can expect to see some improvements from Finasteride after roughly 4 months of use. If you stop taking it, the hair loss process will resume.
Minoxidil (i.e., Regaine)
Minoxidil is another treatment for reversing hair loss in men suffering from male pattern baldness. Unlike finasteride, minoxidil is not a prescription treatment and is available from your pharmacy. It is most often available under the brand name Regaine.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment and comes as a lotion or foam. You must use this treatment daily to see hair re-growth.
This medication is also an effective treatment for hereditary hair loss, for both men and women. It can also sometimes be prescribed as a treatment for alopecia areata (where the hair falls out in patches). However, if you are suffering from alopecia areata, you should visit a doctor and not self-medicate with minoxidil.
When used every single day, minoxidil can be very effective at reversing hair loss in men with male pattern baldness. However, it is not quite as effective as Finasteride. One study, showed that using minoxidil led to improvements in 60% of men who used it, compared to 90% of men who used Finasteride over 5 years.
Things to note about these treatments:
- They don't work for everyone
- They only work for as long as you use them
- They can be expensive
Tips on coping with hair loss:
It's important to address the psychological impact of hair loss. If you've lost your hair, even temporarily, and you can learn to accept it and live with your altered appearance then life will be easier.
- Try and accept it
- Talk about it
- Avoid miracle cures
- Explore treatment options both surgical and non-surgical
- Join a support group
- Be patient
When to see a GP:
- If the hair loss is sudden
- When bald patches begin to form
- Hair is falling out in clumps
- Your head itches and burns
- When hair loss is affecting your mental health