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Male Pattern Hair Loss

male baldness.jpeg

What is it?

  • About 30% of men by age 30 and 50% of men by age 50 will have androgenetic alopecia or male pattern hair loss

Is it inherited from mother or father’s side of the family?

  • Contrary to popular belief it can be inherited from both sides, not just the fathers side.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Usually the condition has no symptoms

  • In the early stages there may be an increase in hair shedding in the bathroom and on brushes/combs

  • It starts thinning in the temples and the crown of the scalp first and then slowly spreads to the frontal scalp and the rest of the top and spares the back and sides of the scalp

Do I need to do any tests as part of the diagnosis?

  • Male pattern hair loss is a clinical diagnosis meaning that a biopsy and blood tests are not needed for the vast majority of men

Do women with female pattern hair loss have too much male hormone?

  • NO – normal levels of male hormone are present in most cases (85% or more)

  • The difference is that the hair follicles are MUCH MORE SENSITIVE to the male hormone.


What are the treatment options available?

  • The treatment options are often frustrating for both patients and their doctors as there is no ideal treatment available and if an over the counter product claims this, it is likely too good to be true !! (otherwise Dermatologists would be recommending it to everyone!)

  • Most treatment options are aimed at maintaining the hair you have and are considered indefinite – meaning if you stop the treatment, the hair loss will continue to progress.

1.    Minoxidil 5% foam (Rogaine) 
•    This is the first approved treatment for promoting hair growth.  Although the effect is not very strong, if applied properly, the effect can be beneficial.  Many studies have shown that it produces a substantial increase in partially thicker and longer hairs and if your scalp is noticeable this should help minimize this.  It does not completely reverse the thinning process however, and must be applied at least once a day for one year before judging if it is working or not.  

2.    Vitamins/supplements (Viviscal)
•    Daily dietary supplement containing marine proteins and polysaccharides, and vitamins like biotin and minerals essential for hair growth taken daily for 8-12 months.  75.3% of patients observed a significant decrease in hair loss and 14.6% of patients showed partial regrowth. 

3.    Hormone blocking medications
•    In certain cases, these may be helpful and are all available by prescription only.  

  • Finesteride tablets – taken daily

  • Dutesteride tablets - taken daily

4.    Hairpieces and Camouflage techniques 
•    Wigs, toupees, hair extensions, camouflage products like sprays and hair fibers, tattooing techniques/microblading
•    There is a large variety of products available and they are safe and do not harm the hair or accelerate the thinning process in any way.  

5.    Hair Transplantation 
•    Surgery available out of province (out of pocket expenses).  Hair is removed from the back of the scalp and individually placed into the front and top of the scalp where there is thinning.  Hairs grow out as normal over the next 6-12 months.

6.    Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy
•    A newer treatment that is still in the experimental stages where your own blood is removed, spun down in a centrifuge and the platelet rich blood is extracted that contains many growth factors is injected into your scalp over several treatments (minimum of 3) over several months.   This is not covered and thus out of pocket expenses will occur.

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