Learn About Male Pattern Baldness

What is the definition of Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men.

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What are the alternative names for Male Pattern Baldness?

Alopecia in men; Baldness - male; Hair loss in men; Androgenetic alopecia

What are the causes of Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is related to your genes and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.

Each strand of hair sits in a tiny hole (cavity) in the skin called a follicle. Generally, baldness occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow new hair. The follicles remain alive, which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair.

What are the symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness?

The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward (recedes) and forms an "M" shape. A circular area on the back of the head (vertex) often thins and expands in size over time. Eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and creates a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head and a bald area on the back of the head.

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What are the current treatments for Male Pattern Baldness?

Treatment is not necessary if you are comfortable with your appearance. Hair weaving, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle may disguise the hair loss. This is usually the least expensive and safest approach for male baldness.

Medicines that treat male pattern baldness include:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine), a solution that is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), a pill that interferes with the production of a highly active form of testosterone that is linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works slightly better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
  • Dutasteride is similar to finasteride but may be more effective.

Other treatments that are being investigated include:

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injected into the scalp to stimulate hair growth. This involves drawing your blood, collecting a portion that is rich in platelets, and injecting the areas of hair loss over a series of sessions.
  • Hair transplants consist of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. The procedure usually requires multiple sessions and may be expensive.
  • The use of laser or light caps or helmets to stimulate hair follicles.

Suturing hair pieces to the scalp is not recommended. It can result in scars, infections, and abscess of the scalp. The use of hair implants made of artificial fibers was banned by the FDA because of the high rate of infection.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness does not indicate a medical disorder, but it may affect self-esteem or cause anxiety. The hair loss is usually permanent.

When should I contact a medical professional for Male Pattern Baldness?

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your hair loss occurs in an atypical pattern, including rapid hair loss, widespread shedding, hair loss in patches, or hair breakage.
  • Your hair loss occurs with itching, skin irritation, redness, scaling, pain, or other symptoms.
  • Your hair loss begins after starting a medicine.
  • You want to treat your hair loss.
How do I prevent Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness
Hair follicle
What are the latest Male Pattern Baldness Clinical Trials?
A Pilot Trial of Topical vs Oral Minoxidil for Treatment of Endocrine Therapy-Induced Alopecia in Breast Cancer Patients

Summary: This early phase I trial studies the possible benefits and/or side effects of topical or oral minoxidil in treating endocrine therapy-induced hair loss (alopecia) in patients with stage I-IV breast cancer. Endocrine therapy-induced alopecia (EIA) is a distressing side effect that leads to reduced quality of life and early cessation of therapy in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Patien...

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Follicular Revival in Treatment-resistant Alopecia Areata: Evaluating Use of Micro-needling

Summary: The intent of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of microneedling through use of a professional tattoo machine in hair regrowth in patients with androgenic alopecia (AGA) over up to 6 treatments (6 months).

What are the Latest Advances for Male Pattern Baldness?
Taxane monotherapy regimens for the treatment of recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer.
Comparison of postoperative mid-term and long-term quality of life between Billroth-I gastroduodenostomy and Billroth-II gastrojejunostomy after radical distal gastrectomy in patients with gastric cancer: a cohort study based on a case registry database.
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Zinc in dermatology.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 14, 2021
Published By: Elika Hoss, MD, Senior Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Hair diseases. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 24.

Fisher J. Hair restoration. In: Rubin JP, Neligan PC, eds. Plastic Surgery, Volume 2: Aesthetic Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 21.

Hesseler MJ, Shyam N. Platelet-rich plasma and its utilities in alopecia: a systematic review. Dermatol Surg. 2020;46(1):93-102. PMID: 31211715 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31211715/.

Sperling LC, Sinclair RD, El Shabrawi-Caelen L. Alopecias. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 69.

Torres AE, Lim HW. Photobiomodulation for the management of hair loss. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2021;37(2):91-98. PMID: 33377535 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33377535/.