Male pattern baldness can’t be treated, but here's what you can do about it.

Male pattern baldness can’t be treated, but here's what you can do about it.

By Trisha Malhotra

Are you in your 50’s and rapidly losing hair in the shape of an ‘M’? Or maybe you’re just entering college and you’ve noticed a bald spot on the crown of your head. We could write an article tugging on irrational hope by telling you that you can reverse this. But, if you’re a man, the truth is that not much can be done since you’re likely experiencing male pattern baldness. For some men, male pattern baldness starts as early as their teens. Whether it's later in your life, or during college, your only option is management. 

But why am I going bald?

Male pattern baldness is also called androgenic alopecia since it has to do with the overproduction of androgens- or ‘male’ sex hormones. Androgens have multiple functions- one of which is regulating the growth of hair. Every strand of hair on your head has a cycle of growth. In those with male pattern baldness, this cycle is weakened, since excessive androgens cause the hair follicle to shrink. Weaker follicles produce both fiber and shorter strands of hair. Eventually, the growth cycle ends, and no hair grows out of those follicles. 

But why can’t I do anything about my hairloss?

It's not that you can’t do anything. You simply cannot treat a genetic condition, but you can manage its onset and development. Male pattern baldness will likely affect about 50% of all men over the age of 50, in one way or another. One of the main causes of androgenic alopecia is your family history since it is genetically inherited. Those who have close relatives, particularly on the maternal side, with the condition are at higher risk of developing it. But all isn’t lost. 

When it comes to what you CAN do, here are some suggestions. 

  • Stress management: Some theorize that hair loss can be exacerbated by stress since it increases the production of sex hormones (androgens) in the body. By participating in regular relaxation activities, you can reduce your stress levels. This means tuning into a calming playlist, taking walks, and enjoying more quiet time. 
  • Hair transplant: If you’re not interested in hair loss medication, you can simply opt for a transplant. Depending on how severe your androgenic alopecia is, there are multiple types of hair transplants to choose from. All of them involve moving hair from healthier areas of your head to areas where hair is no longer growing. This results in a fuller look. 
  • Nutrition: Food plays an essential role in the health of your hair follicles. You might have inherited your androgenic alopecia, but if you eat a diet rich in protein, biotin, zinc, and iron, you could potentially slow down its onset. More research is needed to establish the link between dietary interventions for male pattern baldness in particular, but we know for sure that it is effective for other types of hair loss. 
  • Scalp Massage: Not many people realize the significance of stimulating the scalp through regular head massages. Not only can this work wonderfully to keep your hair follicles healthy, but it is also a stressbuster. That’s two birds with one stone. 
  • Topical Medication: The research on topical plant extracts and their healing powers for hair loss need to be stronger, but there are glimmers of hope. In mice, extracts of Bhringraj (an Ayurvedic herb) have shown better results in slowing down hair loss than hair loss medication like Minoxidil (Rogaine). This study has yet to be replicated in humans. There is also Saw Palmetto, a plant with small berries, which is often used to treat enlarged prostate glands. In one study, men who topically applied Saw Palmetto saw a significant reduction in their hair loss.

Ultimately, each of these management techniques will likely make a difference but it would be unwise to expect a full recovery. As mentioned, genetic conditions like male pattern baldness are nearly impossible to treat but can be managed through effective lifestyle interventions. The best thing you can probably do is begin to accept that bald spot while also making healthier choices. Try our hair pops while you're at it.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-loss-treatments-for-men#hair-care-tips

https://www.dalcdermatology.com/blog/can-anything-be-done-about-male-pattern-baldness

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