Losing your hair is such a visual and stressful transition for most men. So, let's get a better understanding of Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPHL), its stages and how to deal, stop or live with the outcomes of this life-changing truly male phenomenon.
Hair follicles shrink as we age. Hair grows progressively shorter and finer until no new hairs grow.
Most Caucasian males develop some degree of hair loss, due to their age and genetic makeup. MPHL affects up to half of all Caucasians by the age of fifty (50) years and up to eighty (80) per cent by the age of seventy (70) years. Other ethnic groups are less affected by MPHL.
If your relatives have hair loss you have a higher chance of hair loss yourself.
To better understand, diagnose and treat MPHL the medical profession utilises a number of scales to demonstrate the progression of hair loss. The Norwood Scale is the most utilised and uses a scale of one (1) to seven (7) stages. This is because most men experiencing MPHL tend to lose hair in a progressive manner.
On the Norwood Scale stage 1 is the control stage, with little or no signs of baldness or a receding hairline. The full head of hair.
Early evidence of hair loss usually starts to appear around the temples.
This is when hair loss starts to become noticeable. The hairline recedes backwards and creates an "M" shape when you put your head downwards and look in the mirror or when seen from above.
Significant hair loss has occurred by this stage, with the hairline receding further and now a "U" shape has replaced the "M".
If you have a bald spot on your crown it will now be larger, but there is strip of hair stopping the larger "U" shape of the 4a version. 4a will have a deeper "U" shape but no crown hair loss.
Progression from Stage 4 is more severe with a receding hairline and the strip of hair near the bald spot getting thinner. 5a the hair loss continues its travel backwards.
The head is mostly bald on top and in front with the strip or patch disappearing. Hair may still be present on the back and sides.
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Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a medication available from most chemists, that the user can apply directly to the scalp. It comes in a foam or a liquid solution, which is easy to apply. Minoxidil may help thicken the hairs and promote hair growth on the scalp.
This isn’t a quick fix with the American Academy of Dermatology stating that it may take up to three (3) to six (6) months before seeing results.
Home-based laser treatment devices are said to stimulate the hair follicles into growing healthy hairs.
Clinical evidence to support the positive hair outcomes of laser treatments are in short supply.
Finasteride (Propecia) is a prescription medication that doctors may recommend for significant hair loss. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have approved this medication for hair loss. There are 29 medicines currently active on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods that contain finasteride as an active ingredient.
There are medical procedures that may be able to replace hairs or change the scalp to reduce the appearance of baldness. Here are a few of the current offerings:
If you have a short or buzz style haircut scalp pigmentation uses small tattoos to create the appearance of a hair on affected areas.
This procedure has a surgeon transplanting small patches of healthy hair follicles from the scalp and into balding areas to reduce the appearance of baldness.
A device containing hundreds of tiny needles is used to penetrate the skin and stimulate hair growth. Seek a consultation with a Dermatologist to determine whether microneedling will be helpful for you. There are also home-based applicators available.
Research has been undertaken to including platelet-rich plasma within the procedure to further improve hair growth.
Not for the faint-hearted, during this procedure has the insertion of small devices under the scalp that remain in place for a few weeks to stretch the skin and reduce the appearance of a receding hairline or bald spots.
Is surgically removing parts of the scalp with no hair on and combining the areas that do have hair on them closer together.
Yeah, so your mother was right, eat healthy, be healthy. Giving your body the nutrients, it needs to create healthy hair is a great start. So, eat a good selection of fruits, vegetable and iron-rich foods.
Hair loss shampoos contain ingredients designed to assist in cleaning and unclogging pores. This may prevent blockages that could influence hair loss.
It's oh so nice, massaging the scalp regularly may increase blood circulation to the scalp, assisting in healthy hair follicles.
A study suggests that there could be a link between smoking and hair loss.
Do you really need that colour or hair chemical? Avoid using hair dyes and chemicals as they weaken and thin the hair.
Using the Norwood Scale can assist you in understanding at which stage your MPHL is at and your treatment options.
As a matter of fact, though you may be able to treat mild forms of MPHL, it becomes increasingly harder as we age and hair becomes weaker and thinner.
However, you decide to cope with hair loss, whether it be treatments, transplants, hairpieces, shaving your head or surrendering to the inevitable, it is important to remember, MPHL is a natural and normal part of aging and is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Don't overact. You’re great. Remember, change what you can and live with what you can’t.