Baldness - The Facts
Baldness - The Facts
Male Pattern Baldness is a hereditary condition and is the most common form of hair loss affecting men. We're going to tell you all you need to know about the treatments available, from medication to surgery, with advice from Dr Bessam Farjo, President of the 'International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery' and founder of the Farjo Medical Centre.
Step 1: Causes
Male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness is the cause of hair loss in over 90% of cases in men. You inherit the capability to lose hair from both parents; in certain families you get hair loss at the front, the top and the crown of the scalp, whereas in other families you only get hair loss in the front and the crown. In some cases there is only a little bit of thinning, but in some cases there can be complete baldness.
The full mechanism of hair loss is not fully understood, but it is thought that the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is carried in the bloodstream to the scalp where it causes certain follicles that possess DHT receptor cells to become smaller and smaller over time, leading to eventual hair loss.
Step 2: Medication - Minoxidil
There are certain medicines that can help with treating men who have male pattern hair loss: the first one is called Minoxidil, and this sometimes goes by the brand name of Regaine. This is available over the counter in the UK and the statistics show that if used in the correct dosage it should provide an 80% chance of slowing down significantly or even stopping hair loss altogether. However, the individual has to continue to use this drug for the rest of their lives for it to be effective.
Step 3: Medication - Finasteride
Finasteride is the other main medication that is known to help with male pattern hair loss, and often goes by the brand name of Propecia. This is a tablet that is known to act against the male hormone DHT, and if it is used in the recommended dosage then the research shows that 80% to 85% of the time, hair loss can be stopped or at least the rate of hair loss can be slowed down significantly.
Step 4: Hair Surgery
Hair transplantation is by far the most common surgical procedure performed in the whole world for the purposes of restoring hair.
The most advanced form of hair transplantation nowadays is called Follicular Unit Grafting. This invloves taking a narrow strip from the skin, usually from the back or side of the head, and then dividing that strip into very small pieces usually under a microscope. These small pieces are then planted into whichever area the patient is losing hair from. The operation is done under local anesthetic, with a minute or two of injections in the front of the scalp, and a further 1-2 minutes of injections in the back to numb the area.
Step 5: Hairpieces
Other than medicine and surgery there is the option of a hair system or hairpiece, and nowadays there are some very sophisticated systems. This can be generally mentioned to patients who either have very high expectations, beyond that which surgery and medicine can provide, or somebody who's lost far too much hair, and surgery or medicine is of limited help.
Step 6: Coping
Patients suffering from hair loss range from the very young male who is beginning to lose his hair, to somebody whose lost his hair in his 50's and 60's and beyond. The important thing to remember is to have reasonable expectations if you want to have an improved self confidence and be happy with the treatments available.