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Androgenic Alopecia

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What is male pattern hair loss?

Androgenic alopecia is also called as Male pattern hair loss(MPHL) .(MPHL) is the most common cause of hair loss in men. It happens with progressive loss of terminal hair in very specific way for both male. In males hair loss starts at top of head and side of head and usually seen as receding of hair line.

What causes male pattern hair loss?

Androgenic alopecia caused by combination of variety of facters. Out of these genetic and hormonal factors are major culprits.

There are many receptors present on our every body cells, for simplicity consider receptors as doorway or agent on cells through which our body chemical enzymes or hormones do their work.  

 We have one hormone called DHT (DIHYDRO TESTOSTERONE). This is one of sex hormone present in our body. It also works on many cells through this receptors . There are many receptors are present over hair cells too. Out of these 5alfa 1 and 5alfa 2 are two important receptors.

 After puberty when DHT starts acting on these receptors then in males who are genetically predisposed or vulnerable starts producing  hairs which are  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. Hair loss may cause significant stress.

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?

Licensed topical and oral treatments: • Applying 5% minoxidil liquid or foam to the scalp may help to slow down the progression of hair loss and partially restore hair. 

The liquid or foam should be applied to the affected scalp (not the hair) using a dropper or pump spray device. It should be spread over the affected area lightly and does not need to be massaged in.

Minoxidil can cause skin reactions such as dryness, redness, scaling and/or itchiness at the site of application and should not be applied if there are cuts or open wounds.

It needs to be used for at least 6 months before any benefit may be noted. Any benefit is only maintained for as long as the treatment is used. 

Minoxidil solution may cause an initial hair fall in the first 2-8 weeks of treatment, and this usually subsides when the new hairs start to grow. •

For men, finasteride tablets reduce levels of dihydrotestosterone (hormone), which may slow hair loss and possibly help regrowth of hair. Continuous use for 3 month is required before a benefit is usually seen.

Decreased libido and erectile problems are recognised side-effects of this treatment.

Any beneficial effects on hair growth will be lost within 6 to 12 months of discontinuing treatment. 

Skin camouflage : • Spray preparations containing small pigmented fibres are available from the internet and may help to disguise the condition in some individuals. These preparations however, may wash away if the hair gets wet i.e. rain, swimming, perspiration, and they only tend to last between brushing/shampooing.

Surgical treatments : • Surgical treatment is not offered under the NHS. This can be sought privately. Surgical treatment includes

  1. hair transplantation, a procedure where hair follicles are taken from the back and sides of the scalp and transplanted onto the bald areas; and
  2. scalp reduction, where a section of the bald area is removed and the hair-bearing scalp stretched to cover the gap. Tissue expanders may be used to stretch the skin.