Male Pattern Baldness

Hiding under a baseball cap as you slip down the “hair treatment” aisle at your local drug store? Guys, take the hat off. You aren’t alone. There are 50 million men in the U.S. who suffer from the most common type of hair loss: male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia. 

Male pattern baldness accounts for 95 percent of hair loss in men. It happens when the hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. As it progresses, it usually recedes to form an “M” shape. Complete baldness can begin to happen when the hair thins at the top of the head (crown), forming a pattern of hair all around the sides of the head.

1: Genetics and hormones are to blame

Male pattern baldness is hereditary. Men who have relatives with male pattern baldness are much more likely to have it themselves. The” balding genes” can be inherited either from the mother or the father’s side of the family. It can also skip generations and may even affect siblings differently. In men, a breakdown product of testosterone called Dihydrotestoerone (DHT) is the cause of progressive miniaturization of the hair follicles. DHT binds to receptors on the hair follicles resulting in shorter cycle of hair growth and eventual death of the hair follicle and clinically appearing as shorter and thinner strands as in balding scalp.

2: Male pattern baldness is not the only cause of hair loss in men

Men may experience balding from more serious things, such as: certain cancers, medications such as prescription or over the counter supplements (especially anabolic steroids), autoimmune diseases, thyroid conditions, fungal conditions of the scalp or nutritional deficiencies. If hair is falling out in clumps instead of slowing receding away, it’s probably something more serious than male pattern baldness and a sign that you should visit your dermatologist.

3: Hair loss can strike young

By the age of 25, two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of hair loss.  Hair loss can start as early as puberty age (teenage years 12 – 16yrs old). Because hair loss is progressive, it is important to see your dermatologist right away so he/she can tell you if you’re showing early signs of balding so you can be proactive with treatment. The earlier you get help, the more likely your hair can be saved.

4: It is different than hair loss in women

In women, the hair loss pattern is different. Hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline only slightly recedes and does not lead to complete baldness.

5: There are treatments for hair loss

There are many hair growth treatments, which include oral prescription medications such as Propecia/Finasteride which works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT, preventing and reversing miniaturization of hair follicles.  Other therapies include nutritional or vitamin supplementation, prescription topical medicines, laser light therapy, platelet rich plasma treatment (PRP) along with scalp microneedling. Hair transplantation is also a viable option, if appropriate. Early intervention is the key to regrowing hair. The sooner we treat your hair loss, the sooner we can save your hair.  Once you start noticing hair loss, that’s the time to call. If you wait too long, it’s harder to regrow. And it can actually get to be too late.

Visit our section on Hair Loss Treatments at Dy Dermatology  for more information on this and any other skin or hair issues.


Dr. Lady Christine Dy, Dermatologist

To learn more about hair loss and to find the treatment plan that’s right for you, contact Dr. Lady Dy at Dy Dermatology Center. Request an appointment today or call the office in Glenview, Illinois at (847) 832-1185.